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  • Writer's pictureBrian McCabe

Have we forgotten the origin of Pride?

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

Have we forgotten the origin of Pride? Why the Kweer Ball party is taking Pride back to its activism roots with the Pride Ball.

This is perhaps a Pride Month like no other, happening in the context of a global pandemic and a powerful, widespread movement with a clear aim: to dismantle systematic inequality across the world.

Nearly 51 years ago, the Stonewall Riots took place, comprising demonstrations against the police brutality and served as a catalyst for the rights of the LGBTQ+ people. A movement that also began with protests by communities who fought hard for their lack of fundamental rights to be recognised and to end discrimination. Movements like Black Lives Matter and the concept of Pride rely on a simple idea: a society is only as great as it treats all of its people. These movements are about unity – and that is where we are today.

“Some of you have the power to forget, and privilege is to be able to forget…why can’t people of colour forget? … Maybe we should put a wig on or some glitter or party to forget?... Privilege is the power to have no fear.”

In the context of this, Kweer Ball, Switzerland’s leading LGBTQ+ party label, will take Pride back to its roots of activism with a first of its kind “hybrid” party event – the Pride Ball (July 11th in Amboss Rampe - Zurich or online on Vimeo & Zoom). In the spirit of activism and Pride, a portion of all tickets and donations will go to charities that work with queer people of colour and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Lipsync Battle

The event will celebrate heroes of Pride with performances and categories inspired those heroes: the activists, the trailblazers, the artists and the progress makers. The event will also showcase the artistry of queer people of colour including Tropikahl Besher Poderosa aka Ivy Monteiro (Zurich), Melanie Alexander aka Miss AlexXx Bliss (Zurich), Gorgeous Kenji Gucci aka Kenji Benji (Milan), DJ Rumi von Baires (Vienna), Curly Gumbo Lee and many more.

“Some of you have the power to forget, and privilege is to be able to forget…why can’t people of colour forget? … Maybe we should put a wig on or some glitter or party to forget?... Privilege is the power to have no fear.”

Ivy Montiero aka Tropikahal B. Poderosa, Co-producer and MC of Kweer Ball

History shows that severe illness and death rates tend to be higher for racial and ethnic minority populations during public health emergencies than for other people. Addressing the needs of these populations in emergencies includes improving day-to-day life and harnessing the strengths of these groups. Coupled with this pandemic playing out against the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Kweer Ball team are using their platform to raise funds for two charities relevant to supporting queer people of colour in these uncertain times. The first charity is the “Black Trans Protesters Fund” which supports black trans protesters in America in securing necessary funds to support them with resources, medical care, and bail. The second charity is “Casa Florescer” which helps trans people of colour in Brazil - now an epicentre of the pandemic and is an important cause to the team as two members originate from Brazil (Ivy Monteiro and Renan Carvalho).

Kweer Ball Crowd

The team had to adapt and adjust their party concepts during the coronavirus pandemic and in April managed to do their first online event – the Space Ball. Now, for the first time, the party will take place both in a night club and be live-streamed - allowing a newfound level of accessibility for the concept. This is a first, in so-called “hybrid” nightclubbing. The physical event can have 300 people attend in-person, keeping with local federal health guidelines for events post lockdown (registration of all guests and masks provided). In order to encourage safe health practices at the event there will be a prize for the most creative and fashionable mask worn by an attendee on the night. To gain access to the physical event, a ticket must be purchased with the online version being offered for free on Vimeo – with a recommended minimum donation. Through the lessons learned during the crisis, the organisers are on a mission to continue improving the accessibility of their events.

“Accessibility has always been a topic on our mind since the first event."

“Accessibility has always been a topic on our mind since the first event. We noticed many people in wheelchairs would turn up. After one party, we received challenging feedback on one person’s experience, so we decided to install an area specifically for them to be close to the stage. Now with the online option, we see the accessibility improving further, but we also know there is still work to do like an accessible stage, for example. We will continue to push and demand these changes to make our events even more inclusive”.

Co-Founder and Co-Producer of Kweer Ball Dominik Cavalli

Now is time more than ever to take pride back to its roots of activism. No corporate floats, no pinkwashing - Pride began as a riot against police brutality at Stonewall started by trans women of colour and it’s important to never forget that. Their fight is our fight - let’s be proud.

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