For anyone who has been living under a rock, let us tell you something, Pride month has officially begun! We’ve watched the LGBTQIA+ community bloom slowly but wonderfully in the society and the month of June is to just  celebrate each member of this community. Amidst all of this, popular social media giant, Instagram announced its partnership with The Queer Muslim Project for the second edition of the Digital Pride Festival. Not just that, it also announced a brand new Pride inspired sticker-pack, rainbow gradient hashtags and rainbow gradient story-ring. Here’s everything you need to know about this amazing digital festival, which you literally shouldn’t be missing out on!

Digital Pride Festival 2.0

We strongly believe that it’s the people within the LGBTQIA+ community and their proactive allies who make Pride what it is. While we heartily celebrate them in the month of June, we should actively spark and participate in dialogue about their inclusion all year round. The Queer Muslim Project (TQMP), which is South Asia’s largest virtual network of Queer, Muslim and allied individuals, is one such community. They believe in countering queerphobia and Muslim hate with their stories and work. They gave birth to the Digital Pride Festival in 2020 with the aim of celebrating LGBTQIA+ rights, raise awareness and demonstrate allyship. This year, Instagram has partnered with TQMP for the second edition of this esteemed festival. They aim to highlight topics like well-being, self-care, creativity and much more.

All the deets you need to know about this fun virtual festival

The Digital Pride Festival 2.0 is all set to begin from June 11 and will continue till June 27. It consists of 5 important segments which include creator panels, panels on online safety, mental health, masterclasses on new Instagram features, performances and so much more. A lot of big names from the industry are looking forward to this celebration. You can expect speakers like Zoya Akhtar, MostlySane, Sonaksha, Roshini Kumar, Durga Gawde, Nikhil Taneja and more. Not just that, two of the events will also be co-presented by the British Council. We are surely looking forward to these interesting sessions!

Here’s what Rafiul Alom Rahman, Founder and Executive Director, The Queer Muslim Project has to say,

Digital Pride Festival 2.0 is a celebration of love, equality and freedom in these times of a global pandemic. With our tag #PrideAtHome, we honour contemporary LGBTQIA+ art and artists for all they offer to us within the comforts of our homes. Together with Instagram, we have scaled the festival this year and included an array of creator voices from the community as well as celebrated names such as Bollywood filmmaker, Zoya Akhtar. The festival will promote safety and care online and build transformative conversations on representation, visibility and well-being of LGBTQIA+ persons – all the while showcasing the beauty and power of Queer art, storytelling, and culture and community through the month of June.

Here’s what Tara Bedi, Public Policy and Community Outreach Manager, Instagram, India, said,

Through these difficult times, we’ve seen our community use Instagram in incredible ways as a space for connection, support and community action. The Digital Pride Festival with TQMP will include conversations to address safety, well-being, allyship, but most importantly, represent and amplify the voices of diverse, immensely talented LGBTQIA+ creators and activists, and help us continue our journey to make Instagram more inclusive. We’re also updating some of our favourite creative tools and releasing new features that colourfully highlight LGBTQIA+ expression across Feed and Stories.

New features by Instagram

Pride Global - All Stickers on Gradient (Source: Instagram)
Pride Global – All Stickers on Gradient (Source: Instagram)

Since it’s Pride month, Instagram is celebrating it in its own way by coming up with some cool new features for this month. Check them out!

1. New LGBTQIA+ sticker pack

Created by LGBTQIA+ artists themselves, Instagram has launched a new set of Pride stickers as a way of visually celebrating the community. According to Instagram, this is one of their most representative sticker packs, including gender non-conforming, asexual, trans and gender-fluid.

2. Rainbow hashtags and Story ring

Instagram has partnered with GLAAD, again this year to update their 2020 list of prominent hashtags—such as #genderfluid, #pridefamily, and #gayvisibility—used throughout the LGBTQIA+ community. When you use these hashtags in your feed or story post, they will appear in a rainbow coloured gradient. Also, if you use these hashtags in your Story, your ring will be turned into a rainbow colour as well. Isn’t that super cool?

We are super excited about the Digital Pride Festival 2.0 and cannot wait to use the new Pride features by Instagram. Wishing everyone a very happy Pride month once again. Let’s make this world a better place for everyone to live in. Also, we hope each and everyone reading this article is staying home and staying safe.