June is Pride Month, and it’s the perfect time to celebrate LGBTQ communities while reflecting on the strides we’ve made toward a more just society—and how far we have left to go. Thanks to the magic of presence—the feeling that you’re actually there in a virtual space—VR lets us defy physical and emotional distance, by spending time with people no matter where in the world they happen to be and sharing stories that explore lived experiences beyond our own. We see this every day, from weekly LGBTQ+ Meetups in AltspaceVR that bring us together to moving documentaries like Authentically Us: Voices from the Transgender Community that help us broaden our perspectives. And today, we’re excited to share some new additions to Oculus Home and Avatars to keep the pride momentum going.
This month’s Rift Platform update adds a collection of pride- and VR-themed posters, both a rainbow pride and trans pride flag, and new wallpapers for each color in the pride rainbow.
“Our pride content was worked on by a handful of LGBTQ artists here at Facebook and is thematically based around the idea of creating a safe space,” explains Oculus Home Content Producer JM Sudsina. “Prevalent among many marginalized communities, safe spaces are a concept in queer culture centered around symbols, signage, and objects that queer people use to designate that a location (usually a public space like a bar, coffee shop, etc.) is accepting of all sexual and gender identities. The simplest form of this is when you see a rainbow pride flag hanging outside of a public establishment.”
In keeping with that theme, you’ll also find a pink triangle neon sign—a symbol reclaimed by the LGBTQ community that’s been used to designate safe spaces since the 1990s. Also, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Marsha the Unicorn Pride Plushie is named after gay liberation activist and Stonewall Riots participant Marsha P. Johnson—so she’ll make your Home a little more woke (and a lot more cute).
The Pride Month celebration continues with four new items to customize your Oculus Avatar: rainbow sunglasses, a trans pride and rainbow pride stripe t-shirt, a brightly colored t-shirt with a rainbow heart, and a rainbow unicorn t-shirt so you can bring a little bit of Marsha along for your VR adventures.
“Oculus Avatars got a major redesign earlier this year, all to help people better express themselves through authentic interactions and connections with others in VR—and we’re delighted to extend that power of self-expression with our Pride Month outfits and accessories,” says Product Manager Mike Howard. “Whether you self-identify as a member of the LGBTQ community or want to share your allyship as a sign of solidarity, we hope you enjoy customizing a festive look to celebrate Pride.”
There are plenty of other ways to celebrate Pride in VR. You can watch Queen music videos and bask in the glory of Freddie Mercury in AltspaceVR on June 23 and June 30, or join the weekly LGBTQ+ and Friends Meetup. And you can check out Authentically Us in the Oculus Video app on Rift, Quest, Oculus Go, and Gear VR.
How do you plan on celebrating Pride in VR? Let us know in the comments!
— The Oculus Team