There were gay Republicans, supporters for Obama, club kids, families with dogs, atheists, people from all walks of faith, and the occasional drag queen on the arm of some muscle daddy. New York City’s annual gay pride parade was today.
For 43 years the city has held a march for the Stonewall Riots. On 28 June, in 1969, the city’s police raided a bar called the Stonewall Inn. Tired of the constant harassment, the local LGBT community fought back agaisnt the police. A march was held a year later, organized by the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee. Since then the end of June has been a time for gay New Yorkers, and their allies, to push for more equality.
This year’s march has special significance in the US struggle for marriage rights. A year ago today, 24 June, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act, making same sex marriages a possibility in New York. The governor received a roar of approval whenever he passed a crowd.
The parade’s origins are a rebellion, but today it is part of the mainstream. Politicians looking for support make sure to show up. President Barack Obama’s contingent were loud and boisterous in their blue t-shirts (he wasn’t with them). Companies like Google and NBC had their own floats.
The most ironic participant were officers from the same department that raided a gay bar approximately 40 years ago. They were led by their chief, Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. He walked and waved, followed by the NYPD band and police officers smartly dressed in their blues.