On June 24, New York City held its massive 49th annual LGBTQ Pride March, organized by Heritage of Pride, to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, when the community fought back after police raided gay hangout Stonewall Inn, on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. Billie Jean King, Lambda Legal, Kenita Placide, and Tyler Ford were the Grand Marshals. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and other elected officials were there, as well as a wide variety of organizations and individuals from the community and the sponsoring businesses. This writer celebrated participating in his 48th March and, after a Pride brunch, given by Paul Kimball and Barry Sorkin, a couple for 41 years and counting, and photographing numerous earlier contingents, I boarded the Eagle NYC truck, with current Leather and bear and puppy titleholders and friends.
The March had an unusual new route, stepping off from 16th Street and Seventh Avenue at noon; almost immediately observing a moment of silence, called by Heritage of Pride’s David Studinski and GMHC’s Krishna Stone, in memory of those we’ve lost to AIDS; heading south to the Village; turning northeast onto Christopher Street, where we passed historic Stonewall Inn, now a National Monument; then to the east, passing Washington Square; and finally at Fifth Avenue, moving north to 29th Street. The new route was meant to shorten the length of time that the March takes, but the Eagle contingent, designated as Section 10, Order 26, was still on the go after 8 p.m.
Before I went to join the Eagle, I saw: African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Irish, Latin American, and Caribbean groups; Muslims for Progressive Values and Proud Israelis; SAGE; the Center; Callen-Lorde; Gay Officers Action League; the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band; Human Rights Watch; Identity House; Dignity; Cheer New York; RuPaul’s Drag Race; and God’s Love We Deliver. I saw marchers remembering pioneering Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P.—for Pay It No Mind—Johnson. Signs that caught my eye read: “Let Us Not Rest Until Those Children Are Reunited with Their Parents;” “Stonewall Was about Police Violence;” “No More Deaths by Hate;” and “Melania, We Care.”
Expect an even larger turn-out next year for Stonewall 50.