Iowa City Pride postponed until October

Iowa City Pride was postponed from June to October to give people who want to attend more time to get vaccinated


Emily Wangen

Area drag queens interact with parade attendees at Iowa City Pride on Saturday, June 15, 2019.

Brady Osborne, News Reporter

Iowa City Pride is being postponed until October to give people more time to get vaccinated, which provides a new opportunity for student involvement, as the event traditionally happens in June during summer break when many students reside off campus.

Tony Sivanthaphanith, president and development director of Iowa City Pride, said the event was postponed primarily for the safety of those who would have attended.

“At this point, we are really just trying to bring back the festival safely,” Sivanthaphanith said. “We have some big plans, and we are going to do some events throughout the year to celebrate. We are just trying to figure out the best ways to do that right now.”

Other Pride events in Iowa are being reformatted to accommodate the pandemic. In Des Moines, a normal three-day event in June with 30,000 people, will be spread out over 30 days in June. Cedar Rapids Pride hasn’t yet announced specific events or plans for June celebrations because it’s monitoring COVID-19 prevalence, but the organization says it’s “optimistically planning” Pride 2021 according to its website.

Separate from Pride celebrations, this week the UI is celebrating an inaugural Pride Week with a series of workshops and spaces focused on resiliency with a theme “Growing together through all kinds of weather.”

Sivanthaphanith said even though the event has a lot of significance within the LGBTQ community, the decision has been met with overwhelming support.

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“Everyone has been super supportive of our decisions. They understand what is going on, and understand that we want to make sure everyone is as safe as possible,“ Sivanthaphanith said. “I think a lot of people are just excited to see that we are going to do something this year.”

Iowa City Pride will be in downtown Iowa City Oct. 1-2.

“Pride will look a little different in 2021, maybe more like a lame Middle school dance, with social distancing rather than the packed, sweaty, 15,000-person festival we celebrated in 2019, but you can be sure that we will be very colorful and full of Pride,” the organization wrote in a press release.

Joseph Haggerty, president of Spectrum at the University of Iowa, said Pride’s postponement until October means there’s more opportunity students and UI clubs to get involved during the school year — expanding an opportunity for those of a marginalized community to express themselves and their identity.

“I remember attending my first Pride a couple of years ago, and seeing how much impact it has, in terms of people being able to celebrate an identity that is so often pushed to the side,” Haggerty said. “Pride has always been an opportunity for me, as well as so many other people, to get to know themselves and celebrate something that they perhaps disliked about themselves in the past.”

Haggerty said Iowa City Pride has reached out to him about student involvement, and he hopes other organizations take the opportunity to participate as well.

Nicholas Nachtman, LGBTQ constituency senator for UI Undergraduate Student Government, said he hopes Pride’s postponement gives the university and student organizations on campus an opportunity to show the celebratory side of Pride, but also the struggle people went through in order to have a Pride celebration.

“Now we look at it as a celebration, but Pride has its origins in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and to say that we are strong and important,” Nachtman said. “One of the best parts about it happening in October is that we get to celebrate Pride not only as a city, but also as a university.”

Nachtman said he hopes the university takes this opportunity to promote education about LGBTQ issues and plan events celebrating LGBTQ identities.

“The fact that Pride is happening in October would give the university a wonderful time to have their own Pride programming,” Nachtman said.