While COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, our economy is being resurrected, and dinner parties are no longer a federal crime, we know that the world we are re-entering will never be the same.

While we at the Star Observer have also faced our fair share of trials and tribulations in the past months, we hope that you’re doing well, that you’re avoiding cruise-ship passengers, and that you’re adhering to the current social restrictions.

It may be hard, but we’re not doing it alone. Hehe.

Right now, we should be gearing up for the seemingly endless Pride Festivals that would normally engulf the world at this time of the year. While those plans have had to change drastically, that doesn’t mean that we can’t still get gay for a post-COVID world.

 The 2020 Sydney Pride Festival, known as the ‘gay-cousin’ of the Mardi Gras Festival, will be continuing this year under its new digital-twist, Love Stream. 

Love Stream launches on the Sydney Pride Facebook page today, June 4 until the June 30, just in time for Pride Month. With a stunning line-up of Drag, DJ’s and all manner of performance pieces in between, it’s sure to be the best thing to hit the inter-webs since amateur porn!

A headliner act for the upcoming Love Stream and one of Sydney’s best drag icons to hit the digital-sphere, Penny Tration, told Star Observer that while she can’t let too much slip – bigger and better things are in store for the upcoming festival.

“I’ve got new lights, a new smoke machine, and a laser that I don’t remember ordering. So, I’m making my Love Stream bigger, better, larger, wider and wetter than it ever has been before,” she said.

Penny, aka, Daniel Floyd, started the ‘Tration in Isolation‘ Facebook page during the baby-stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. After returning from holiday and having to self-isolate, ‘Tration in Isolation‘ began to broadcast daily shows of Penny in the hopes of continuing community-connection.

 Now, Penny is taking her “sh!t to the next level” as she brings back Gender Bender Bingo and many other fan-favourites for the upcoming Love Stream event list.

“I’ve been in contact with Candy [Box] from Stonewall, and we are creating a couple of events that we’re joined together in. I’m inviting the girls from Stonewall to make our events HUGE. We’ve got effects, we’ve got dramatics, and I guarantee you’re gonna love everything that we’re bringing to you.”

However, Penny is adamant that everyone, queer or questioning, must still keep their distance and not let their guard down in a time of relaxation.

“We look around, and we see the world starting to relax. When the world relaxes, however, this virus can take hold. The most important thing about Love Stream is that we celebrate who we are, while also respecting the virus. So sit back, at 1.5 meters distance, and relax.

“Remember that if we celebrate Pride the way we’re told to this year, we can have the most outrageous events next year.”

 The global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been one of the greatest unifiers, while also being one of the greatest dividers of humanity. 

More than 220 pride celebrations around the world have already been cancelled or postponed, and the LGBTQI community has had to grapple with the loss of venues and meeting spaces that helped maintain support and connectivity.

Live streaming and social media are tools that have helped bridge the community through such a traumatic event – and Love Stream is no different.

Sydney Pride remains a grassroots festival, as well as an opportunity to continue celebrating our history, raising awareness for LGBTQI Charities, educating community members and showcase the depth of talent that Sydney now rarely sees.

Sydney-renowned DJ and Love Stream lover, DJ Dan Murphy, believes that continuing Sydney Pride with its nuanced ‘stream-theme’ not only keeps opportunities open for Sydney performers, but also sends a strong message about the durability of the ‘gay-agenda’. 

 “Once lockdown began, I fully scrambled, I had to work out how to keep my business going. Now, eight weeks on and every performer who once had an audience has found a greater one online,” he told Star Observer.

“I miss the audience so much. Even if I wasn’t working, I would love to be in a night club and just have that connection, and I can’t wait till it comes back. But, Glen has truly gone above and beyond to get Pride online, make the most of it, and reconnect our community.

“I just want everyone to say thanks to Glen for organising this. He does the Pride Festival every year and manages to wrangle all these different communities in our community. Being able to do that, but online is tremendous. So, thank you.”

Sydney Pride’s commencement in June, in tandem with the world, marks a time to remember the Stonewall Riots and the beginning of the LGBTQI liberation movement. 

As such, the Sydney Pride dedicates itself to those that lead the way in New York back in 1969, and to the incredible strength of our leaders who marched in the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 1978.

 Sydney Pride organiser and Stonewall Hotel extraordinaire, Glen Hansen, says that while this year will undoubtedly be different, the magic of Pride will remain as we celebrate the changes within our community both now, and in the future.

“It’s been crazy, and we’ve restructured at the last minute. The cancellations of Pride globally-inspired us to keep our going with the Love Stream,” Glen told Star Observer.

“A lot of things the community is doing online will be included in our program with a special Pride twist. Everything from documentaries, to LGBTQI films to short stories, will be there.

“If anyone wants to join in then they’re absolutely welcome! We really just hope to keep our community connected and remember our history in Sydney and New York. We’ve lost a lot this year, but we’re keeping Pride.”

Global Pride is now also an online event with numerous national hosts around Australia. This year, Global Pride is scheduled to start on 27th June 2020 – just in time for Sydney to shed its skin and begin anew with the rest of the world.

We at Star Observer hope that you logon, tune in and join us as we celebrate the Pride in all of us. We may be apart, we may be a bit gay – but at least we’re in this together!

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