Rainbows, wings and headdresses, oh my!
New York City’s 42nd Annual Pride Parade marked the anniversary of the legalization of same-sex in New York State and celebrated President Barack Obama’s announcement in support of gay marriage.
The June 24 parade was a colorful display of pageantry, celebrating this year’s parade theme: “Share the Love.” Organizers said the theme was based off of their desire for other states to emulate the New York legislation on gay marriage.
Cyndi Lauper, iconic singer and grand marshal of this year’s parade, led the march in a rainbow sash and began the day by tweeting, “Happy Pride NYC!! Share the Love!”
The day’s festivities were part of a week-long celebration that began on June 16 and continued onto the night of the 24th. Events included a rally, family night, events on the pier and a rooftop party. For the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities, this week is about acceptance, confidence and family.
“I felt like I just came home,” said Queens College senior and Gay Lesbian and Straight Alliance member, Ashley Henry, about the parade.
Vendors, out in hoards, hawked rainbow flags, bracelets, hats and shirts, while marchers shouted and danced down Fifth Avenue as supporters lined the sidewalk along parade route.
Spectators squeezed between security barriers and store fronts, some perched on scaffolding bars to have better vantage points. Camaraderie was on full display as people on the ground reached out to the marchers to shake hands or high five.
Stores along the route were decked out with rainbow displays; The Gap had a rainbow T-shirt display and a large window advertisement of two men sharing one shirt with the word “One” written underneath.
The parade is about togetherness and community, according to Lauren Penta, another QC senior and GLASA member.
“As a community, we are stronger when we stand together and the more people see others having such pride makes it, maybe easier, for others to come out,” Penta said.
Penta marched with the CUNY contingent led by the CUNY LGBTQ task force. Their marching group, according to chair James P. Robinson, was the largest of the 350 participating in the parade.
QC senior and former GLASA vice president, Noam Parness, said the parade is not just about expressing one’s identity, but also celebrating it.
“For me, the parade has been and still is exactly what its name speaks of—it’s all about pride,” Parness said.
This was Parness’ second year marching in the Pride March. Being cheered for and celebrated by huge crowds at last year’s parade was the first time he was able to visibly express his queer identity.
Marching, he said, “all combines into that same experience of sheer bliss, of a sincere validation of self that so many queer people don’t and can’t feel in their everyday lives, either based upon personal, social or legal constrictions.”
A sense of sheer jubilation filled the streets despite the presence of demonstrators in protest against the LGBTQ community.
Same-sex marriages, though not federally legalized, are recognized and performed in six states across the United States.
Members of the LGBTQ community in the other 44 states will just have to click their heels together, chant “there’s no place like home” and think of events like the Pride Parade for now.