During the month of June communities across the United States celebrate LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Pride Month. As part of the month’s celebrations, many large cities host Pride Parades and Festivals. New York City certainly hosts those kinds of festivities, but instead of a parade there is an annual Pride March.
The timing of Pride each year, as well as NYC’s decision to hold a march rather than a parade, has important historical roots. American society in the 1960s was extremely homophobic, and LGBT persons often faced harassment and persecution by police and the larger society. Early in the morning on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Manhattan neighborhood of Greenwich Village. The LGBT community in New York City, like those elsewhere at that time, were accustomed to being targeted by police, but this time the NYC community decided to push back. Over the next few days, many people participated in the Stonewall Riots or Stonewall Uprising. Today, the modern LGBT rights movement traces its roots back to those critical days in June 1969. We honor that history by celebrating and marching every June.
Last Sunday was this year’s Pride March in the city. Like the protests that form its historical foundation, this year’s march was as much about protest and communicating about important issues facing the LGBT community as it was about celebration. Don’t get me wrong, there was a fun spirit surrounding the march and much entertainment, but there were also many participants communicating serious messages.
Here are some photos illustrating the range of participants and messages of this year’s Pride March – I hope you enjoy!