As part of Pride celebrations this year, Global Pride is organizing the first international virtual Pride festival to be hosted on Animal Crossing, the popular social simulation video game series.
The festival is one of the activities supporting Global Pride 2020, which was launched this year on April 1 as a partnership between InterPride, the European Pride Organizers Association and national Pride networks globally in response to the cancellation of Pride events due to COVID-19.
The #GlobalPrideCrossing campaign – conceptualized and created by We Are Social Singapore – will serve as a safe space for people of any gender, orientation, colour or ethnicity who are part of LGBTI+ and ally communities across the world to celebrate. Equally it will provide a platform to empower individuals to learn, express their identity, and connect with others.
Being inclusive and diverse is always at the heart of Global Pride, and the organisers are committed to amplifying Black voices. #GlobalPrideCrossing will support the Black Lives Matter movement in a number of ways, including resharing BLM-related content.
We Are Social Singapore was inspired by the thriving LGBTI+ conversations around Animal Crossing: New Horizons, with around 20,000 LGBTI+ related mentions on Twitter to-date. Already a creative outlet for the LGBTI+ community, #GlobalPrideCrossing aims to use Animal Crossing as a platform to give people the tools to freely express themselves even further, and encourage more people to get involved, particularly those who have never been able to join in a Pride celebration for whatever reason.
Andrew Baker, co-president of InterPride, said: “Pride is an incredibly important moment in the calendar for LGBTI+ people, as it offers the community a chance to freely express their identity in a very public way. However, we all knew that this year’s Pride celebrations were never going to be the same, with communities all over the world still in various stages of lockdown. So when We Are Social Singapore approached us with the idea to create a virtual space, using a platform already popular within the LGBTI+ community, where people could safely come together to express and celebrate their identities – we jumped at the chance.”
Those who are keen to find out more can visit #GlobalPrideCrossing Twitter page [LINK] or Global Pride’s Facebook [LINK], Twitter [LINK] and Instagram [LINK] pages, where a film, social content and other essential information will be available. These assets will also be supported by more than 250 partners worldwide.
In the two weeks post-launch, Animal Crossing players will be provided inspiration to host their own Pride parades, through the specially-built Pride island – created by the studio Swipe Back – which showcases activities such as a rainbow march, a message board, a hall of fame, a club and a catwalk, as well as a range of Pride-friendly clothing options that can be worn in the game.
On Pride day itself, June 27, influential Twitch creators from around the world will livestream their Animal Crossing game session and host Pride activities on their own island, visit other players’, raise funds through Tiltify – a Twitch fundraising tool – and invite people to watch the Global Pride 24-hour live stream on Global Pride’s website [LINK]. All money raised will go to support the Pride movement and Pride organizations impacted by COVID-19.
Kristine Garina, co-chair of Global Pride and EPOA President added: “We are delighted to have the support of We Are Social and Swipe Back for Global Pride. The LGBTI+ gaming community is enormous and this partnership means we can reach out to even more of our community, to give them the joy of Pride on June 27.”
Christina Chong, managing director of We Are Social Singapore, added: “In a time of isolation, ensuring that LGBTI+ people – a community which is still faced with many barriers to self-expression – have a place to celebrate is crucial. Now, more than ever, feeling a connection to the communities we belong to, and to our own sense of self, is an incredibly important thing for all of us – but especially for those whose identity often means they face prejudice and isolation in their daily lives. We’re incredibly proud to have been able to lend our support to Global Pride and help create this safe, fun space where LGBTI+ people can freely gather and be themselves.”
Max Vedel, co-founder and creative director of Swipe Back, commented: “The ongoing pandemic has taken a toll on human interaction and morale globally is low. Thankfully, this is where technology and virtual spaces take on a new meaning, not as a substitute for human relations but as a catalyst. For us, it’s been a true honour to craft such a meaningful experience for Global Pride on a gaming platform while the world waits for better times.”
We Are Social and Swipe Back have both worked on this campaign on a pro bono basis.