Saturday, June 23, 2018. New York City – Tomorrow, Sunday, June 24, New Yorkers celebrate the biggest Pride March in the United States of America. Organizers say that this is “the biggest Pride celebration in the world!”
This year, the March celebrates 49 years. In 2019, it will be the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. 49 years ago, Transgender people and others in the LGBTQ community and their allies said: Enough police raids. Enough arrests. Enough humiliation. Enough harassment. Enough homophobia. FUCK THE POLICE!
Marsha P. Johnson (August 24, 1945 – July 6, 1992) was an African-American Transgender liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Sylvia Ray Rivera (July 2, 1951 – February 19, 2002) was a transgender liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Known as outspoken advocates for LGBTQ rights, Sylvia and Johnson were two of the prominent figures in the vanguard of the Stonewall uprising in 1969 (watch their documentaries bellow). Other prominent figures were Jackie Hormona, Zazu Nova, Birdie Rivera, Stormé DeLarverié, Allyson Allante, Maria Ritter, Tammy Novak, Dario Modon, Wayne County, Christine Hayworth and Miss Peaches.
“Marsha P. Johnson was celebrating her 25th birthday at Stonewall during the early morning hours of June 28th, 1969 when the police began a raid of Stonewall under the guise of busting the establishment for selling liquor without a license. When the police began arresting and harassing gay patrons at the club that night, however, the gay community had had enough. Too many times, establishments across the city where gay patrons congregated had been raided and too many times, gay patrons had suffered persecution by the police.
At the time it was standard procedure for police officers to lead women in the club to the bathroom to verify their sex, and promptly arrest any crossdressers among the crowd. According to eyewitness reports, the police also began sexually harassing lesbian patrons at the bar that night while they frisked them. At this point a crowd of sympathizers had begun to gather outside the inn, and they watched in horror as employees and drag queens alike were dragged outside and violently handled by the police before being shoved into police cars. Finally, when a police officer clubbed a butch lesbian named Stormé DeLarverie over the head for saying that her handcuffs were too tight, a violent riot broke out and the crowd exploded. They could no longer stand silently and watch members of their community be assaulted and unjustly imprisoned for their sexuality.”_Natasha Schlaffer
People marched in Central Park, Manhattan during the nation’s first gay Pride March on June 28, 1970. The event was held on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion), when members of the LGBTQ community clashed with police who had raided the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, NYC. After 49 years, the homophobia in the NYPD is still a problem. Thanks to Transgenders, Drag Queens, Lesbians and others, people in the LGBTQ community have more rights today.
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Organizers say on their website www.NYCPride.org, “The first March was held in 1970 and has since become an annual civil rights demonstration. Over the years, its purpose has broadened to include recognition of the fight against AIDS and to remember those we have lost to illness, violence and neglect.
The March is a celebration of our lives and our community. In 2017, we were joined by over 450+ unique marching contingents, representing a vast array of nonprofits, community organizations, corporate partners, small businesses, political candidates and activists! With over 110 floats making the trek down Fifth Avenue, last year’s March was one of the largest and most exciting in history.”
2018 NYC Pride Grand Marshals:
Kenita Placide is Outright Action International’s Caribbean-based Advisor and the Executive Director of the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality(ECADE). She has advocated around HIV and human rights inclusive of women, youth and LGBTI issues, for over 12 years and has worn many hats to bring attention and funding to the smaller islands in the eastern part of the Caribbean. A runner-up for the LGBT Intergroup’s GO Visible Award in 2012, she is the mind behind the planning and implementing of many Caribbean sub-regional sessions.
Founded in 1973 (celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2018!), Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission to achieve the full recognition of the civil rights of the LGBTQ community and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. Lambda Legal takes on the cases that have the greatest impact in protecting and advancing our rights. Lambda Legal is a proud leader in the LGBTQ resistance movement and has taken on the Trump Administration head on, one of the most hostile administrations to our community.
Tyler Ford is an award-winning agender advocate, writer, and speaker, whose creative and critical writing on queer and trans identity inspires, comforts, and challenges a diverse spectrum of audiences. Tyler is the editor at Condé Nast’s them.
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King is the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and the co-founder of World TeamTennis. She has long been a champion for social change and equality. King created new inroads for men and women in sports and beyond during her legendary career and she continues to make her mark today.
This year, organizers will honor LGBTQIA+ leaders that have made significant impacts to the community.
2018 Community Heroes:
Emma González, Gun Control Activist
Victoria Cruz, Trans Activist
Tiq Milan, Journalist and Trans Activist
Ty Defoe, Two-spirit artist/performer
Young M.A, Brooklyn-based rapper
Kelsey Louie, GMHC
Glennda Testone, The Center
Tree Sequoia, Stonewall veteran and bartender
DaShawn Usher, Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative (MOBI)
David Cholcher, God’s Love We Deliver
Dorella Walters, God’s Love We Deliver
Brent Nicholson Earle, AIDS activist
Kaia Naadira, GNC artist, daughter of Tarana Burke
Dawn Ennis, Trans editor and writer
Luis Mancheno, Bronx Defenders
Zeke Thomas, Sexual Assault Activist
Stormé Delarvarie. “A Stormé Life”
Slyvia Rivera: Trans Movement Founder
Pay It No Mind – The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson
Stonewall Veterans Talk About the Night That Changed The World – Stonewall: Profiles of Pride
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