The Navajo Nation gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit community has canceled the largest Indigenous Pride in the country, scheduled for June. This year marks the 4th anniversary of the weekend celebration where thousands were expected to attend. Diné Pride leaders have announced the launch of their youth scholarship program alongside several virtual gatherings that will take place this summer.
In a press release from Diné Pride, Executive Director, Alray Nelson said,
"This was not a decision we arrived at lightly. Our board of directors were in frequent talks with community leaders, our partners on the Navajo Nation, officials at other Pride organizations worldwide — and most importantly our LGBTQ+ relatives. We have heard from people who urged us to cancel to ensure we kept our Sovereign Nation safe. For the first time, Diné Pride will host virtual events this year."
#SacredTogether, the community’s theme for Pride 2020, is a powerful statement about the resilience, struggles, pride, and sacredness that exist within us.
"When we first developed #SacredTogether, we never imagined just how important that message would become. We are taking this opportunity to reimagine how we work together to uplift and advocate on behalf of our LGBTQ+ relatives. It is imperative we come together as one family."
Pride events worldwide have been canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis and social distancing and quarantine measures. Safety has always been one of our organization's core principles; given the current magnitude of the pandemic and the difficulty practicing social distancing at large scale events such as Diné Pride, we overwhelmingly feel the only way to adequately protect our supporters, staff, volunteers, and entertainers from the virus are to cancel all in-person events.
Pride Communications Director, DeAndra Wagner added,
"The LGBTQ+ community has overcome many obstacles over the years and has always emerged stronger and more unified. Diné Pride will be one to remember regardless of a physical experience this year, and our hope is to resume in-person events in 2021. Our community will once rise up against this adversity and stand together in solidarity."
Navajo Nation officials reported 4,842 positive cases of the coronavirus since February with 158 known deaths. To help fight back, Navajo leaders have implemented weekend curfews, closed nonessential businesses, and increased COVID-19 testing throughout communities.
Naat'áanii LGBTQ+ Scholarship:
Deadline: Friday, June 19, 2020, by 12:00 AM (MST)
A one-time $1,000 dollar scholarship will be awarded to two (2) high school Seniors from the Navajo Nation who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and/or two-spirit.
Applicants must have made a significant contribution to the LGBTIA+ community and are addressing concerns facing their peers.
Recipients will be announced the last week of June 2020.
Online application available Monday, June 1, 2020, at NavajoNationPride.com
Applicants will respond to several questions in essay format and provide current GPA.