Love trumps hate. A weekend of Pride in New York

The 2016 New York Pride Parade was prouder and more colourful than ever, honouring the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting. Hillary Clinton was there too.

After a moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando shooting, the New York Pride Parade began at noon on the 26th of June. Thousands of people flooded the streets of Manhattan to celebrate the 46th annual LGBT pride march: 32,000 marchers, 425 groups and around 2.5 million spectators. This year the event came at an emotional time, just two weeks after the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. The tributes were many: sad yet colourful and deeply emotional.

Gays Against Guns

This year’s march also featured a group called Gays Against Guns (GAG), founded after the Orlando massacre. Veiled marchers held photographs of the 49 victims of the shooting and the organisation held a “die-in” while marching down New York’s Fifth Avenue: people lay down on the street for a few minutes in silence, covering their bodies with white sheets as a way to protest against guns.


New York celebrates and remembers

All five of the city’s boroughs organised themed parties and celebrations over the course of the weekend. From Manhattan to Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx: the official rainbow flag was everywhere and celebrations were attended by families, children, dogs – everybody had a cheerful smile on their faces. Music, dance, theatre events, rooftop happy hours, all designed to celebrate a weekend of pride in the city.

Orlando is in the streets of New York © Luisa Gattone
Orlando is in the streets of New York © Luisa Gattone

Obama declares The Stonewall Inn a National Monument 

The police raided the historic Greenwich Village gay bar, The Stonewall Inn, in June 1969, causing protests and riots that marked the history of the struggle for LGBT rights in the United States. A month later, 500 people gathered for a Gay Power demonstration in Washington Square Park, followed by a candlelight vigil in Sheridan Square. On the 24th of June this year, President Obama recognised this history and declared the Stonewall Inn and surrounding area a National Monument, a first for the Gay Rights Movement. This gave this year’s Pride marchers another reason to celebrate, retracing the steps of those who poured onto the streets 46 years ago.

Free hugs at the 2016  NYC Pride Parade © Luisa Gattone
Free hugs at the 2016 NYC Pride Parade © Luisa Gattone

Clinton marches in the New York Pride

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a surprise appearance at the march, joining New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the city’s Mayor Bill De Blasio. She marched together with them for four blocks, waving to bystanders and tweeting her presence and support for the event. It was the first time a presumptive presidential nominee from any major party took part in the parade.


Increased security and participation

As well as increasing security for this year’s parade, the New York Police Department (NYPD) also took part in it. Accompanying its contingent was a car with a rainbow logo, a symbol of solidarity with the Orlando victims. It even changed its jingle from Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect to Pride, Equality, Peace. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and New York City Fire Department (FDNY) also had their own contingents.

It was a happy march that also had its moments of sadness. Just like life.

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