UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Second Pride Festival Freebies and Pride Group Gifts

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

June is traditionally the month when LGBTQ* Pride festivals happen in cities around the world, but of course, most such festivities have been cancelled because of the ongoing public health emergency that is the coronavirus pandemic.

Luckily, Second Pride, Second Life’s biggest Pride party, starts tomorrow, June 5th, and runs until June 14th, 2020! This year’s theme is Together, and there’s never been a better time for queer people and their allies to come together to celebrate in virtual worlds, when meeting up in the real world is difficult or impossible!

Many Second Life stores are giving away group gifts to celebrate Pride month. For example, if you join the Luas group for L$50, among the many free group gifts you can pick up in the Luas store is this new, versatile Claim minidress, which comes with a HUD to allow you to tint the top and bottom parts of the dress to any of six different colours, as well as choose one of six different stickers for the front (including a pair of rainbow lips for Pride). You can also choose to go logo-free if you wish!

As you can imagine, this is the time of year to pick up rainbow-coloured freebies! The rainbow flag was popularized as a symbol of the gay community by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. The different colours are often associated with diversity in the gay community, but actually have literal meanings as follows (source):

  • life (red),
  • healing (orange),
  • sunlight (yellow),
  • nature (green),
  • harmony/peace (blue),
  • and spirit (purple).

The store group for EQUAL is free to join for a limited time, and among the many free group gifts are these wonderful, rainbow Jensen sneakers, which come in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara, Belleza (male and female), Slink (male and female), Signature (male and female), Legacy (male and female), EXMACHINA, and Aesthetic mesh body feet, as well as an unrigged pair which you can probably adjust to fit many other avatars:

Fancy Decor has a trio of free, lovely decor items for your Second Life home. Head on down to The Arcade gacha event, and just inside the entrance to the arcade to the left (SLURL), the Fancy Decor gacha machine has a free gift of two different Pride coffee mugs. Unfortunately, they don’t come with a hold/drink animation, but they will still look fabulous in your virtual kitchen!

And, in one of the small white tents that circle the central stage on the Second Pride sim, Fancy Decor has another gift: a beautifully-decorated Pride cake on a platter! (Here’s the exact SLURL so you don’t go hunting all over the place.)

There are a few of the other freebies you can find at the stores at the Second Pride festival. Here’s a fun, spilled-paint rainbow shirt, courtesy of the Saint Elizabeth Catholic role-play university for women (who knew that such a thing even existed?), which comes in both men’s and women’s versions (here’s the SLURL of their tent):

The gift from Lucky Lola’s tent is this festive set of helium balloons (SLURL):

At both their tent (SLURL) and their store (SLURL) on the Second Pride sim, the Gay List is giving away oodles of free stuff from the Regimade Factory Store: animations, dance fans, particle effects and attachments, and a box which, when unpacked, gives you several hundred different dance effects to experiment with! Here’s a shot of one pair of dance fans, and one of the dance animations in the boxes:

RIOT’s free gift is a Pride flag you wear as a cape! It comes with a HUD to change the design to one of six different textures, in sizes to fit both men and women:

See you at Second Pride! Here’s a complete schedule of performers and events.

UPDATE June 11th, 2020: Cat Pink has just released another one of her videos, giving an overview of other Second Life stores that are offering Pride-themed group gifts:

*which, of course, stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer…and the asterisk at the end of the acronym is meant to cover everybody else who feels that the previous categories don’t include them. We queer folk are nothing if not inclusive!

UPDATED! Black Lives Matter: A Memorial and Educational Exhibit in Second Life Looks at Racism and Fascism

I was one of the librarian volunteers working regular reference desk shifts at Info Island in Second Life* when the Virginia Tech mass shooting happened on April 16th, 2007, when an undergraduate student at the university shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others with two semi-automatic pistols. It remains the deadliest school shooting in the history of the United States, and was also the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in U.S. history, until it was surpassed nine years later by the Orlando gay nightclub shooting.

Within days, a makeshift memorial was erected next to our reference desk, which was visited by hundreds of avatars, who left flowers and teddy bears, and lit virtual candles. Here is an image I took at the time, with the Info Island reference desk in the foreground, and the memorial wall in the background, with pictures of the 32 people who lost their lives that day.

Standing in front of the Virginia Tech memorial on the first day

After a week, the area next to the reference desk was a literal sea of flowers and candles. I loaded up my angel avatar and flew over the scene:

The owners of Info Island set up cubes (which you can see in this picture at bottom right) so people could sit and meditate. Some people stayed for hours, crying and chatting with each other. It was all incredibly moving, and I learned for the first time that expressions of grief and outrage in virtual worlds are no less powerful than in real life.

Virtual worlds such as Second Life have always been home to memorials and monuments to inform and educate people about episodes of terrorism, crime, and injustice. And so it is with the current Black Lives Matter Movement.

Today, I paid a visit to an art installation and educational exhibit intended to inform, educate, and raise awareness of the racism faced by Black people in America. The imposing Ministry of Truth building from George Orwell’s dystopian science fiction novel 1984 sits opposite a recreation of a Nazi concentration camp.

Inside the concentration camp is an exhibit of paintings done by David Olère, who was a Polish-born French painter and sculptor best known for his explicit drawings and paintings based on his experiences as a Jewish Sonderkommando inmate at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II:

Scattered throughout are paintings by Bansky, and deliberately provocative quotes, sculptures, and images, drawing parallels between humanity’s history of racism and fascism, and speculative fiction such as Orwell’s 1984, with what is happening here and now in Donald Trump’s America:

(Here are sources for the Donald Trump quote on the wall in the picture above: Politico, USA Today, CNN).

The Black Lives Matter memorial is just around the corner from the Ministry of Truth and the concentration camp (here is the exact SLURL of the memorial wall; you will arrive at a common spawn point on the sim, just follow the large white signs with the arrows to locate the spot).

A number of Second Life vendors have donated free items, which you can pick up here at the Black Lives Matter memorial. Here my avatar is wearing a Black Lives Matter hoodie from BUNK and a BLM baseball cap by Snapz:

The hoodies come in four different styles, and fit classic avatars as well as Maitreya Lara, Belleza (Venus – Isis – Freya), Slink (Hourglass – Physique), Adam, Aesthetic, TMP/Classic, Exmachina Davide, Signature Gianni, Belleza Jake, and male Slink mesh bodies. The baseball cap comes in one size, but you can click on it to adjust it to fit any head. There are also shirts by Mossu, Blueberry, and Nerdy Princess to fit a variety of male, female, and children’s mesh avatar bodies, as well as some wall hangings and other items for your home.

At a time when mass demonstrations carry the very real risk of becoming infected with the novel coronavirus and developing COVID-19, virtual worlds provide a valuable space where we can gather safely and protest against the injustice, police brutality, and racism currently taking place in America and around the world.

UPDATE June 5th, 2020: Linden Lab has just released the following statement via their official blog:

Social Injustice Has No Place in the Physical or Virtual World

Like many of you, we are feeling a combination of horror and outrage over the history of racism against Black lives. What we continue to witness is deeply disturbing and demanding of immediate social change.

The killing of George Floyd seen on video around the world is only one in a long and unacceptable series of violent and racist attacks and discriminatory behavior directed against people of color. 

We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, all victims of systemic oppression and violence, and with Black communities across the U.S., the globe, and the virtual world in condemning racism and any and all actions that promote division.

Our mission at Second Life has always been to help build a better world, and in support of Black Lives Matter, we will be donating $10,000 each to three charities that are active in helping to fight oppression and injustice including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

How can you help? This weekend, you can participate in the Stand for Justice fundraising effort dedicated to raising funds for Black Lives Matter, Black Visions Collective, Campaign Zero, the National Police Accountability Project, and a Split Bail Fund benefiting 38+ bail funds nationwide. We also highly encourage you to sign petitions, text, call, or donate to show your support, acceptance, tolerance, inclusion, and equal opportunity for all.

Now is the time for us to come together as a community and to stand up for what is right, just, and decent. We hope that you will stand with us in our fight for a better world and in recognition that Black Lives Matter today and every day. 

—The Linden Lab Team

*For a short history of the rise and fall of libraries in Second Life, please see this blogpost.