If you have ever attended New York City's Pride parade (or any Pride celebration across the country, for that matter), you know that it can be an incredibly moving experience. It's a celebration of love, a demand for LGBTQ visibility, and this year more than ever, it serves as a reminder that the fight for basic human rights and equality is far from over. One year after the horrific Orlando Pulse shootings and almost six months into a tumultuous Donald Trump presidency that continues to put LGBTQ rights in danger, New Yorkers explain exactly what this year's Pride celebration means to them — and why showing up to Pride is so important.
Pride has always had a rich history in New York City. The first annual Pride march as we know it took place as a grassroots endeavor in NYC one year following the Stonewall Riots of 1969, when police raided the iconic Stonewall Inn and clashed violently with LGBTQ patrons. Since its early days of organization, the Pride march through Manhattan has grown tremendously — in 2016, attendance was estimated at almost 2.5 million — as the LGBTQ community and allies take to the streets to uplift voices that are marginalized, jeopardized, and too often shut down altogether.
Given today's increasingly dangerous political climate and attitude toward LGBTQ rights and other marginalized communities, that kind of solidarity is ever more crucial. We asked people attending NYC's Pride parade and Pride Island celebration on Pier 26 what this year's Pride means to them, and here's what they had to say.
1-2. James, 26 & Skye, 26
"Pride is family."
"Pride is a canvas full of color!!"
"Pride means loving who you are!!"
4-6. Justine, 26; Ben, 27; Kate, 28
"Safe space for all <3"
"Being yourself without fear of judgment"
"Pride is more than rainbows, it's tangible aid like access to LGBTQ+ specific health care, no more housing discrimination, and legal representation. HELP QUEER PEOPLE <3
10-13. Danya, 20; Brooke, 21; Charlotte, 21; Sam, 30
"Pride is being who your truly are."
"Freedom, Love, Peace #Pride"
"All my friends are gay men! #<3Pride!"
18-20. Kate, 20; Drew 19; Katy 19
"Supporting each other <3!"
"Pride means L<3VE!!"
22-23. Daniel, 31 & Lyndsay, 30
Left: Marches are for PROTEST
Right: BC love, y'all!
"Pride is loving yourself!"
"Freedom!! Free to love & marry the woman I love <3 <3 8-25-17!!"
Additional reporting by Sarah Fielding