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New York Pride: A world of gay diversity

By Shelley Ettinger
New York

Tens of thousands of people marched on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan June 28 to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. Tens of thousands more lined the route.

Since the June 1969 nights when young drag queens and other gays battled New York police, the struggle for full rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans people has broadened and deepened. This year's march reflected that.

There were more groups of people of color than ever before. They included the Gay and Lesbian Arab Society, the Alianza Dominicana and Gay Men of African Descent.

Marchers waved Puerto Rican flags. A very big Caribbean Pride contingent spotlighted other island nations. The Asian contingent, with people from many countries, reflected the increasing activism of Asian lesbians and gays.

The grand marshals were two out-of-the-closet members of City Council-Margarita Lopez, a Puerto Rican lesbian, and Phil Reed, an African American gay man.

The issue of same-sex marriage was prominent throughout the march.

As the 2 p.m. moment of silence to remember the sisters and brothers killed by AIDS ended, some broke into chants demanding full government funding to end the AIDS epidemic.

Some marchers targeted New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Activists wearing T-shirts reading "Rudy Get Out of Our Parade" chained themselves together and blocked the street when the reactionary mayor tried to enter the parade. Giuliani was forced to scamper onto the sidewalk.

Police arrested 20 people. One of them, Joneil Adriano, told reporters, "We're upset that after attacking our community the entire year, he [Giuliani] feels he can just waltz in and march with us."

ACT UP/NY members carried a banner reading "Giuliani's AIDS Policies: Quality of Death." A Workers World Party banner read "Giuliani = Racism, Homophobia & Union Busting."

Giuliani recently tried to polish his image by initiating domestic-partner legislation. But the law does not extend any actual rights to same-sex couples. City employees do get actual domestic-partner benefits such as health insurance, but that is a contract right won by AFSCME District Council 37.

(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if source is cited. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY,NY 10011; via e-mail: ww@workers.org. For subscription info send message to:info@workers.org. Web: http://www.workers.org)

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