Web 3.0 and the metaverse have become a welcoming space for the marginalized LGBT+ community, allowing them to connect and freely express themselves from locations they would otherwise not be allowed.
While Pride events filled the streets of the biggest world cities this year, the two leading metaverse platforms, The Sandbox and Decentraland, held their first-ever digital events to celebrate Pride month.
Twin Pride Parades in the Metaverse
The Decentraland Pride Parade has been an on-going, 24/7, month long event, starting on June 11th, and allowing new visitors to experience the celebration whenever they visit Decentraland.
During the month-long celebration, Decentraland has hosted a series of events and panel discussions in its virtual world, covering a range of topics, from LGBT inclusion to financial empowerment for the marginalized community. That’s not even to mention the unforgettable performances from musical artists, including the legendary Thalia, who performed her iconic songs on a virtual concert stage.
Aside from the discussion panels being across the platform, NFTs and digital art empowering the LGBT community held the spotlight. Cash Labs launched a gallery takeover by UnicornDAO, which raised $4.5m to purchase femme-identifying, non-binary, and LGBTQIA+ art featuring some of the best-known LGBTQIA+ talent in Web 3.0, including Pussy Riot. This week, Cash Labs launched another gallery takeover exhibition featuring Vogue culture in collaboration with the ‘Disruptive Eves‘ NFT project.
The New York Pride Parade took place on June 26th and drew thousands to the streets of Manhattan. On the same day, LGBT event organizer MetaPride Land organized a twin Pride festival on Decentraland, with performances from more than 20 well-known artists live-streamed in the metaverse.
Meanwhile, The Sandbox, another big player in the metaverse space, hosted its own metaverse-native LGBTQIA+ pride parade, organized by the folks at CryptoLab. In order to empower marginalized groups through the use of Web 3.0, the organistaion built a diversity and inclusivity center in The Sandbox metaverse called the “Center of Belonging.” The center acted as a launch pad for the first ‘Metaverse Pride’ event.
Creating an Inclusive Environment
Pride is a global celebration, yet in 69 countries, “non-traditional” gender, romantic, and sexual identities are still criminalized. In the press release, Decentraland stated that they are proud to be a safe, welcoming, and accessible space for members and allies of the global LGTBQIA+ community. The month-long ‘Metaverse Pride’ event stands as proof of Decentraland’s commitment to creating an inclusive and open metaverse.
“We are thrilled to kick off Pride Month by showing that, yes, even in the metaverse LGTBQIA+ people exist, we are here, and we are all a part of the Web3 revolution,” enthused Iara Dias, Head of Metaverse Pride at Decentraland.
Founder of MetaPride Land Matt Stevenson, in the interview with Forkast, said that, in the United States, there are over 200 bills targeting the LGBTQIA+ community. According to him, it can take a lot of courage for marginalized individuals to step into a physical building to connect with each other, and for many, the internet represented the first, and only safe space for them to interact. He believes that Web 3.0 and the metaverse can help provide a level of autonomy as well as safety.
“As we engage more queer individuals or disenfranchised individuals in these spaces, at least we’ll have a voice in how things should be built, to make sure that we are represented or our best interests are represented as these platforms are being built,” Stevenson said.
Uzuki Asagwara, in an interview with the Indian Express, shared her joy at participating in the first-ever metaverse Pride Parade, describing it as vibrant and colorful. For an Indonesian citizen such as her, it was a dream come true.
“Due to the risk of attacks by conservative, reactionary groups in Indonesia, there has never been a proper Pride Parade here,” Asagwara shared.