New York City’s annual gay pride parade not only represented a celebration of pride on Sunday, it also marked the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots of 1969, which are credited as the triggering point of the modern gay rights movement. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were in attendance as parade participants marched to the beat of more than 1 million observers cheering and applauding.
According to CBS 2, the parade route kicked off at noon starting at 36th street and Fifth Avenue and ending at Greenwich Village and Christopher streets at the Stonewall Inn. Ending at Stonewall was symbolic as New York marchers commemorated the 45th anniversary of the riots. The NYC pride parade was also just one of many parades kicking off around the world on Sunday.
Celebrations took place in big cities like Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco. Globally, festivities were held Saturday in France, Spain, Mexico and Peru. Pride events have been going on throughout the nation and the world in the month of June. This year has been extra special with the sticking down of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 last June that has served as a catalyst of the marriage equality victories that have been taken place in many U.S. states. Not only have there been victories in the progression of marriage equality and gay rights, there have been a series of firsts in the fields of politics, sports and entertainment.
As New York’s Fifth Avenue became decorated in rainbow colors and music, many onlookers celebrated the freedom of expression. Lola, who attended the parade after moving here from Puerto Rico told the Associated Press, “Back home this is not acceptable. I still haven’t come out to my parents. I plan on coming out to them by showing them a picture. I’m gonna send them a picture.”
In recognizing that there are nations with strict anti-gay laws and places like where Lola came from where homosexuality is not acceptable, the pride events taking place in major cities like NYC show a since of belonging and support as well as remembrance to those who fought for the voices of the gay community to be heard 45 years ago and a realization that there is still a ways to go. But to march forward, there needs to be a sense of pride and that pride is being heard loud and clear.