In a recent update, it has been announced that the Parramatta Pride Picnic 2020 has been cancelled.

In a Facebook post, ACON announced that “Due to the ongoing situation around COVID-19, we regret to announce this year’s Parramatta Pride Picnic has been cancelled.”

The statement goes on to say, “We regret the cancellation of this much-loved community event but the safety and welfare of attendees is our top priority.”

According to the New South Wales government website, the restrictions around outdoor public gatherings state that “no more than 20 people are allowed to gather outside in a public place.”

The Parramatta Pride Picnic has previously included many stalls run by local LGBTQI community services. These have included PFLAG, Wear It Purple, ACON and the Gay And Lesbian Rights Lobby in the past. The 2019 Pride Picnic had some incredible music and performances. This is a community event run largely by volunteers. The Parramatta Pride Picnic is an event that has also been significant in fostering community spirit amongst LGBTQI people in Parramatta. With numerous stalls and activities for people of all ages, the Parramatta Pride Picnic draws in numbers well above those that are currently allowed under New South Wales government restrictions.

 However, community spirit is still flourishing, even as this event has been cancelled. In their post, ACON goes to an effort to thank “all our partners, stakeholders, community organisations, service providers and supporters for their support for Parramatta Pride Picnic over the years.” They go on to state that “we thank you – the many community members who have attended – for making it such a fabulous event.”

Even before COVID-19, members of the LGBTQI community have arguably experienced greater levels of social isolation. There is evidence to suggest that LGBTQI people experience anxiety and depression at higher rates than heterosexual people. In response to the pandemic, Rainbow Health Victoria has stated the “Connection to community and peer support have been found to have an important protective effect for LGBTQI people. These will be disrupted with community venues closed and face-to-face interaction severely limited.”

ACON’s Facebook post concludes with a simple statement.

“See you in 2021. Please take care and stay safe.”

As community-focused LGBTQI events like the Parramatta Pride Picnic are cancelled under the new COVID-19 restrictions in New South Wales, the spirit that encapsulates the LGBTQI community continues thrive as organisers remain hopeful for 2021.

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