New York Pride: A world of gay diversity
By Shelley Ettinger
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
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
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
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.
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