If this is your very first time attending New York City's Pride celebration, you are not alone. While Pride has a long and rich history in New York City (it's where the LGBTQ civil rights movement is widely believed to have found its foothold), this year's celebration drew an especially massive crowd; a record-breaking 40,000 people were estimated to have marched in the parade alone, and countless others came out to join the celebration, many for the first time ever — and every single person in attendance had their own reason for being there.
Coming together and showing solidarity for one another has become more important than ever, especially in a climate where the basic rights and safety of LGBTQ people and other marginalized communities feel constantly under threat. Violence against LGBTQ people was at an all time high in 2016, according to a study from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, and there are still states in America that don't have legislation in place protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workplace. It seems ridiculous that this should still be the case in 2017, and yet here we are.
While showing up for Pride has always been an important way to celebrate and make visible the LGBTQ community, this year's gathering felt especially significant. Here's what people attending New York City's Pride for the first time said were their reasons for coming out this year.