Pride festival jumps on Animal Crossing for virtual celebration

Global pride has launched the first international virtual pride festival which will be hosted on Animal Crossing, a popular social simulation video game series, as part of Pride celebrations this year. This festival is launched in partnership with InterPride, the European Pride Organisers Association and national Pride networks, in response to the cancellation of Pride events due to COVID-19.

The #GlobalPrideCrossing campaign was conceptualised by We Are Social Singapore, and serves 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 also provides a platform to empower individuals to learn, express their identity, and connect with others. The Pride festival will provide Animal Crossing players inspiration to host their own Pride parades, through the specially-built Pride island created by studio Swipe Back. The parade 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 which falls on 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. All funds raised will go to support the Pride movement and Pride organisations impacted by the pandemic.

As Global pride is passionate about being inclusive and diverse, #GlobalPrideCrossing will also support the Black Lives Matter movement in a number of ways, including resharing BLM-related content, as part of the organisers’ commitment to amplifying Black voices

According to We Are Social Singapore, the agency 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 was an incredibly important moment in the calendar for LGBTI+ people, as it offered the community a chance to freely express their identity in a very public way. He also said that everyone knew this year’s Pride celebrations were never going to be the same, with communities all over the world still in various stages of lockdown. This is why when We Are Social Singapore approached InterPride 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 – InterPride jumped at the chance."

Kristine Garina, co-chair of Global Pride and EPOA president added that the organisers were 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”, Garina added.

Christina Chong, managing director of We Are Social Singapore said in times of isolation, ensuring that LGBTI+ people - a community which still faced many barriers to self-expression - had 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”, Chong added.

Meanwhile, Max Vedel, co-founder and creative director of Swipe Back also said that the ongoing pandemic had taken a toll on human interaction and morale globally was low. He further said this was the point where technology and virtual spaces took 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”, Vedel added.