15 much-needed uplifting LGBT+ news from around the world during COVID-19

During this time of physical distancing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, here are some much needed uplifting LGBT+ news stories.

Uplifting LGBT+ news COVID-19: (left) Dolly Parton reading a book (middle) man beside keyboard (right) drag queen Nina West

Uplifting LGBT+ news headlines highlight how communities are being brought together to help one another in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

In response to a widespread lockdown, people are reaching out through online platforms in new and exciting ways. From online drag shows to digital festivals and beyond, there has been a surge of initiatives towards making these challenging times a less lonely place. 

Creative engagement has erupted to the surface like never before. Everyday acts such as reading and dancing are revitalised into an exciting embrace of perseverance and resolve. 

And these uplifting LGBT+ news headlines further showcase the thriving community spirit during COVID-19.

Portraits of queer friends in quarantine 

Artist Heather Glazzard has been using their time in self-isolation to discover new ways of connecting with loved ones. Through FaceTime, they organised photo shoots with their queer friends as part of a series of uplifting and intimate portraits. 

Glazzard told i-D, “One of my fashion shoots got cancelled And I said to my girlfriend Nora, ‘Well imagine if it was shot via FaceTime’. I also wanted to keep my mates’ morale up. This can be so hard on mental health.”

A person wearing a pink dress sitting on their bed, part of Glazzard's photo series of social distance, among the uplifting LGBT+ news headlines during COVID-19

Describing the photography process, Glazzard further shared, “Mainly they show me around their homes for a bit. Then I tell them where to place their phone and how to pose. It’s so collaborative, some people are all dressed up and have staged little areas to pose. It’s more fun to see what people have done before they come on camera and it’s incredibly collaborative. I see it as half a self-portrait and half a Heather-style shot.”

Glazzard's photo of a person sitting on a chair in their apartment, not wearing trousers, it is among the uplifting LGBT+ news headlines during COVID-19

Launch of In and Out Digital Festival

The team at GCN are super excited to be launching the brand new In and Out Digital Festival. It will feature a wide range of fabulous LGBT+ artists, creators, fitness instructors, chefs, singers, actors and drag performers to name but a few.

Throughout the month of April, the Festival is going to be broadcast from Facebook live to help keep the LGBT+ community entertained, informed and positive. 

As stated in the article announcing the Festival’s launch, “In these times when people are spending a lot of time in their homes, sometimes alone, we are looking for ways to stay connected and support each other. You can expect a series of live talks, poetry readings, dazzling drag shows, workout sessions, yoga sessions, cooking classes, workshops and much more. Keep an eye on our social platforms as we’ll be announcing all the exciting events from In and Out in the coming days.”

If you are an LGBT+ creative or ally and would like to be part of this exciting new festival get in touch at [email protected].

The creativity of Irish drag artists

As public spaces must close their doors, drag artists have been highlighting their creativity by bringing their shows into the digital format. Irish performers such as Nara Hope, Victoria Secret, Davina Devine, and Anziety have been embracing online mediums to continue slaying the game. 

Drag artists are demonstrating that the show truly does go on by bringing their talents to platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and all other platforms. It is such uplifting news to see the queer arts finding new ways to grow and entertain the LGBT+ community. 

Dolly Parton reading to children 

Beloved queer icon Dolly Parton will be starting a weekly web series, Goodnight with Dolly, where she will be reading bedtime stories to gives as “a weclomed distraction during a time of unrest.” 

‘The Book Lady’, as many children know Dolly by, is here to melt all our hearts with a new series of bedtime readings over on Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library YouTube channel. Every Thursday night at 7pm for the next ten weeks, she will read a different story such as  The Little Engine that Could, There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake, Llama Llama Red Pajama, Violet the Pilot, and a few stories she wrote herself, including I am a Rainbow and Coat of Many Colours.

Promotional image for GoodNight with Dolly, where Parton stands in front of a night sky, it is one of the uplifting LGBT+ news stories during COVID-19

On her blog, she wrote, “This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right. I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love. It is an honour for me to share the incredible talent of these authors and illustrators. They make us smile, they make us laugh and they make us think.”

Cher’s ‘Ask Me Anything’

Legendary singer and performer Cher has taken time in lockdown to open up to her fans. Both funny and emotional, her answers are honest and delve into both her past as well as her hopes for the future.

Nina West: The Library is Open

Drag Race alumni Nina West takes the heart of Drag Queen Story Hour and brings it into the online space. Every week, she reads a new story to kids around the world over on her Instagram. Expect big wigs and a heartwarming personality.

West will also be holding a lovely Craft Time activity to help boost creativity among kids.

Disco in the kitchen

Mother Kitchen disco mix logos

The always incredible club night Mother are releasing weekly Kitchen Disco Mixes to help keep people dancing at home. Co-founder and promoter, Cormac Cashman, shared, “We want to keep spirits up, keep people home and keep people dancing. We’re all in this together and thats how we’ll get through it, together. We are family.”

Every Saturday at 8pm, there will be a new mix to get you in the dancing spirit, plus compilations from the epic Mother DJs and some of the regular guests. You can find the mixes as well as the stylish new merch at this link. 

Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage saved

The idyllic home of openly gay activist and filmmaker Derek Jarman has recently been saved after a monumental £3.5m fundraising campaign. In 1986, the artist bought his Dungeness home and garden, calling it Prospect cottage. During the same year, he was diagnosed as HIV Positive and was one of the first public figures to openly announce his status. 

Prospect cottage has become a place of pilgrimage and inspiration for many artists and fans of Jarman’s works. Due to an immense community effort, the Art Fund can now purchase the property and maintain it for future generations. On Twitter, they announced the uplifting news that the legacy of this LGBT+ icon will be preserved, “We’ve done it! We’re thrilled to say the £3.5m target to #SaveProspectCottage has just been reached. Together we made it happen.”

One of the campaign’s most significant voices and close friend to Jarman, Tilda Swinton, said, “When Derek initiated the project of making of this little house on the shingle the unique and magically empowering space it has come to be, not only for him, but for so many of us, it was at a time of intense uncertainty and fragility in his own life. That our casting the net of our appeal to keep this project alive has coincided with the phenomenal global challenge to community with which we are currently faced – and that that net has still come in so full of bounty – has only served to prove how invaluable this vision of future is to us all.”

Response from support services

Amid concerns over COVID-19, one of the most uplifting news headlines has been the response from LGBT+ services as they adapt to continue helping the community. Many people are facing precarious social situations and the absence of physical spaces can deeply affect mental health. Yet numerous groups are rising to the challenge in order to ensure these support networks remain in place. 

LGBT Ireland has recently set up a Facebook page for older members of the community to socialise during lockdown. Groups such as TENI and This Is Me are creating new means of getting in touch as well as the launch of projects to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility. 

GiveOut has set up an emergency fund to further support LGBT+ services in their response to COVID-19. HIV Ireland continuously provides accurate and informative advice on sexual health in Ireland during this pandemic.

Across the world, LGBT+ organisations are launching initiatives to address the needs of the community and putting into place effective changes to their services.

Announcement of Global Pride

LGBT+ groups have joined together to launch a brand new online Pride experience so everyone can join in. As the spread of COVID-19 has postponed numerous Festivities and Parades across the world, Global Pride is truly uplifting news for members of the LGBT+ community who look forward to coming together in celebration.

Co-President of InterPride, J Andrew Baker, shared the following message, “We need community and connection more than ever. This gives us an opportunity to both connect and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community’s resilience in the face of this pandemic and the true spirit of Pride.

Leslie Jordan’s hilarious lockdown updates

Will & Grace star Leslie Jordan has become a breakout Instagram sensation with his hilarious daily lockdown updates. In each clip, he engages in a variety of activities including exercising, showing off his cats, singing, and telling anecdotes about his life in showbiz.

Leslie Jordan told Today, “I’m not a nurse or a doctor or a teacher, but I can make people laugh. That is a gift and that is meant to be shared. There are a lot of lonely people right now. If I can make just one person feel a little less alone, then I have done my job in this.”

OUTtv launches in Ireland

OUTtv promotional image, one of the uplifting LGBT+ news during COVID-19

While on lockdown, people have been racing through Netflix – thankfully there are plenty of queer shows to binge. Yet if you are running out of things to stream, OUTtv might just be the answer and so it must be considered among the list of uplifting LGBT+ news. Viewers who sign up can expect Drag Race Thailand, Shade: Queens of NYC, My Life is a Telenovella, Mixed MessagesThe Fashion Hero and many more.

The Eurovision experience

Though the Eurovision was recently cancelled due to restrictions placed upon social gatherings as a result of COVID-19, the experience has been recaptured with BBC special Eurovision: Come Together. Comedian Graham Norton will be hosting this one of a kind event.

BBC Media Centre wrote, “Over the coming weeks there will be something for everyone to enjoy as we give audiences the choice to escape and be entertained. With so many of the UK’s big events cancelled, the BBC will connect people virtually and give them something to look forward to from the comfort of their own homes.”

Numerous queer anthems

During this COVID-19 lockdown, the LGBT+ community are truly being treated to some iconic queer music in the latest uplifting news. Pop sensation Dua Lipa dropped her newest album, ‘Future Nostalgia’ a week ahead of schedule. She shared on social media, “I hope [the album] brings you some happiness, and I hope it makes you smile, and I hope it makes you dance.”

The wonderful pop singer Troye Sivan has also released a new gloom-bop to dance too. He shared on Twitter, “Hope you like it and it brings you some of the joy and relief it brought me during these crazy times.”

If you are looking for something more country, you can’t get more country than queer singer Orville Peck, who has recently released new music.

Social distance wedding

A wedding during the time of social distancing definitely makes for some eye-catching photos. NYC-based same-sex couple Reilly Jennings and Amanda Wheeler have tied the knot while one of their friends, who is an ordained minister, officiated from his fourth-floor apartment window.

This charming story of overcoming obstacles while also respecting safety measures is truly an uplifting LGBT+ news story during COVID-19. Their union is a celebration of love and finding ways to come together throughout difficult times.

View this post on Instagram

we were supposed to get married in October. the reality of that happening in our current climate seemed slim. Amanda’s business closed and everything has just blown up. we got our marriage license yesterday and were walking out the door to get hitched at the courthouse when the mayor announced the immediate closure of the marriage bureau. after several hours of crying (& drinking), one of our dear friends @iknowmattwilson sent us a message saying he was ordained and could marry us through the state of NY (nyc has weird laws that you have to be married by someone ordained by this county clerk). we said YES, finished our work meetings, walked down the street to his apartment and got married below his fourth story window as the neighborhood looked on alongside 4 of our best friends @kktapper @harold_gibbons @joselynmujica (& @erikahenningsen through a car because #socialdistancing). what a day. amidst the uncertainty and despair we all feel right now, marrying the love of my life in the most NYC moment was perfect. i’ve waited 4 years to call @wheelsfit my wife and this was all just the cherry on top of the love i feel every day. ❤️

A post shared by Reilly Jennings (@reillyjennings) on

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