NYC pride parade is one of largest in movement’s history

LGBTQ_Pride_95327 Spectators cheer participants during the LBGTQ Pride march Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_07935 A unit passes the Stonewall Inn with a rainbow banner during the LBGTQ Pride march Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_64860 A float with participants aboard passes near the Stonewall Inn during the LBGTQ Pride march Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_63627 A man dressed as Jesus marches during the 45th annual Seattle Pride Parade Sunday, June 30, 2019, in Seattle. The parade commemorated both the first "gay liberation week" in Seattle in 1974 and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a police raid that sparked the modern-day gay rights movement. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
APTOPIX_LGBTQ_Pride_72541 Marchers carry signs with historical LGBTQ figures during the Queer Liberation March in New York, Sunday, June 30, 2019. New York is throwing a massive LGBTQ Pride march as other cities including San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle also host parades commemorating the 50th anniversary of the clash between police and gay bar patrons that sparked the modern gay rights movement.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
APTOPIX_LGBTQ_Pride_08725 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, lower front center, joins people participating in the LBGTQ Pride march Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_31501 A participant walks under a large rainbow flag during the LBGTQ Pride march Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_73022 People participating in the LBGTQ Pride march ride past the crowd on a float Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_64879 People participate in the LBGTQ Pride march Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_10579 People participate in the LBGTQ Pride march Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_40079 A group representing POSE participates in the LBGTQ Pride march Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. New York's Pride March. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_86116 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, lower front center, joins people participating in the LBGTQ Pride march Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_94585 Participants on motorcycles roll along 5th Ave during the LBGTQ Pride march Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_59173 Parade-goers kiss in front of a counter-protest to the Gay Pride parade in New York on Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Stonewall_At_50_97541 Holly Yiping Wang of New York plays a piano adorned with Broadway Playbills (reflected in her sunglasses) at the Stonewall National Monument, near the Stonewall Inn, Saturday, June 29, 2019, as she and others take part in activities and events marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Stonewall_At_50_43578 Rainbow flags wave in the wind in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood Saturday, June 29, 2019, in New York. The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising is being marked by activities and celebrations in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
LGBTQ_Pride_28748 Marchers participate in the Queer Liberation March in New York, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
LGBTQ_Pride_54814 People line up to participate in the LBGTQ Pride march Sunday, June 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
APTOPIX_LGBTQ_Pride_46983 Marchers participate in the Queer Liberation March in New York, Sunday, June 30, 2019. New York is throwing a massive LGBTQ Pride march as other cities including San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle also host parades commemorating the 50th anniversary of the clash between police and gay bar patrons that sparked the modern gay rights movement. The organizers of the smaller Queer Liberation March say the larger Pride event has become too commercialized and too heavily policed. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
LGBTQ_Pride_76929 Celia Gooding, left, and Laila Kelly pose for a picture in front of the Stonewall Inn before the Queer Liberation March in New York, Sunday, June 30, 2019. New York is throwing a massive LGBTQ Pride march as other cities including San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle also host parades commemorating the 50th anniversary of the clash between police and gay bar patrons that sparked the modern gay rights movement. The organizers of the smaller Queer Liberation March say the larger Pride event has become too commercialized and too heavily policed. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
APTOPIX_LGBTQ_Pride_63809 People pose for pictures in front of the Stonewall Inn before the start of the Queer Liberation March in New York, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
LGBTQ_Pride_37725 A participant marches in the Queer Liberation March in New York, Sunday, June 30, 2019. New York is throwing a massive LGBTQ Pride march as other cities including San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle also host parades commemorating the 50th anniversary of the clash between police and gay bar patrons that sparked the modern gay rights movement. The organizers of the smaller Queer Liberation March say the larger Pride event has become too commercialized and too heavily policed. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
LGBTQ_Pride_39965 Marchers participate in the Queer Liberation March in New York, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
LGBTQ_Pride_56659 FILE- In this June 24, 2018 file photo, revelers carry a LGBTQ flag along Fifth Avenue during the New York City Pride Parade in New York. New York City will host two parades on Sunday, June 30, 2019, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. The smaller of the two, Queer Liberation March, starts at 9:30 a.m. and the larger Pride march steps off at noon. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki, File)
LGBTQ_Pride_57882 In this June 24, 2018 file photo, revelers take to the streets during the New York City Pride Parade in New York. New York City will host two parades on Sunday, June 30, 2019, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. The smaller of the two, Queer Liberation March, starts at 9:30 a.m. and the larger Pride march steps off at noon. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki, File)
LGBTQ_Pride_58626 FILE- In this June 24, 2018 file photo, Haydee Lopez, of the Brooklyn borough of New York, center holding flag, dances with others as she takes part in the New York City Pride Parade in New York. New York City will host two parades on Sunday, June 30, 2019, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. The smaller of the two, Queer Liberation March, starts at 9:30 a.m. and the larger Pride march steps off at noon. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg, File)
LGBTQ_Pride_63809 People pose for pictures in front of the Stonewall Inn before the start of the Queer Liberation March in New York, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
(1/27)

NEW YORK (AP) — Exuberant crowds carrying rainbow colors filled New York City streets Sunday for one of the largest pride parades in the history of the gay-rights movement, a dazzling celebration of the 50th anniversary of the infamous police raid on the Stonewall Inn.

Marchers and onlookers took over much of midtown Manhattan with a procession that lasted hours and paid tribute to the uprising that began at the tavern when patrons resisted officers on June 28, 1969. The parade in New York and others like it across the nation concluded a month of events marking the anniversary.

Eraina Clay, 63, of suburban New Rochelle, came to celebrate a half-century of fighting for equality.

“I think that we should be able to say we’ve been here for so long, and so many people are gay that everybody should be able to have the chance to enjoy their lives and be who they are,” Clay said. “I have a family. I raised kids. I’m just like everybody else.”

Alyssa Christianson, 29, of New York City, was topless, wearing just sparkly pasties and boy shorts underwear. A Pride flag was tied around her neck like a cape.

“I’ve been to the Pride parade before, but this is the first year I kind of wanted to dress up and get into it,” she said.

Christianson said she was concerned that the movement could suffer setbacks during the Trump administration, which has moved to revoke newly won health care protections for transgender people, restrict their presence in the military and withdraw federal guidance that trans students should be able to use bathrooms of their choice.

“I’m definitely a little scared of how things are going, just the anger and violence that comes out of it and just the tone of conversation about it. We’ve come so far, especially in the last few decades, that I don’t want to see that repressed in any way.”

In May, Trump tweeted about Pride Month and praised the “outstanding contributions” of LGBT people. But his administration has also aligned with some religious conservatives in arguing that nondiscrimination protections for those same people can infringe on the religious beliefs of others who oppose same-sex marriage and transgender rights.

Earlier in the day, a crowd of about 2,000 people gathered outside the Stonewall Inn. At the Queer Liberation March near the bar, some participants said the larger Pride parade had become too commercialized and heavily policed.

“What’s important to remember is that this is a protest against the monetization of the Pride parade, against the police brutality of our community, against the poor treatment of sections of our community, of black and brown folk, of immigrants,” said Jake Seller, a 24-year-old Indiana native who now lives in Brooklyn and worked as one of the march’s volunteers.

Protesters carried anti-Trump and queer liberation signs, chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!”

“We march for the liberation of our community so they can live and celebrate their identity. So they can reclaim it. This will always remain a protest, not an advertisement,” Seller said.

Other attendees focused on the progress that’s been made within the LGBTQ community over the last few decades.

“We’ve come so far in the past 20 years,” said 55-year-old Gary Piper, who came from Kansas to celebrate Pride with his partner. “I remember friends who would be snatched off the streets in Texas for dressing in drag. They’d have to worry about being persecuted for their identity.”

“But now we’re so much more accepted. I’m not saying we don’t have ways to go, but let’s celebrate how far we’ve come,” he said.

The police presence at the massive march was heavy, with several officers posted at every corner. Metal barricades were erected along the entire parade route.

In San Francisco, a similar police presence sparked a mid-parade protest that halted the march.

About 40 people interrupted the parade for just under an hour and two people were arrested while protesting police and corporation presence, the San Francisco Chronicle reported .

Protesters broke down barricades and threw water bottles at officers as they rushed onto the parade route. At least one protester fought with police and one officer was injured, police said.

Also in San Francisco, a contingent of Google employees petitioned the Pride parade’s board of directors to revoke Google’s sponsorship over what they called harassment and hate speech directed at LGBTQ people on YouTube and other Google platforms.

San Francisco Pride declined to revoke the sponsorship or remove the company from the parade, but Pride officials said the Google critics could protest the company’s policies as part of the parade’s “resistance contingent.”

Larraine and Peter Browne, who were visiting from Australia, told the San Francisco Chronicle they had never seen anything like the parade’s rainbow-colored display.

“Look at the costumes!” 80-year-old Peter Browne said.

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker chose the parade day to sign an executive order creating a task force to study the rights of transgender students. The task force will look at what schools are doing to promote LGBTQ rights to make sure students have “welcoming” and “inclusive” environments.

In Chicago’s parade, the city’s first openly gay mayor, Lori Lightfoot, was one of seven grand marshals. Lightfoot, who took office in May, walked alongside her wife and wore a “Chicago Proud” T-shirt with rainbow lettering. The couple held hands at times, drawing cheers from onlookers. The procession was cut short as thunderstorms rolled through the area, forcing police to cancel the event about three hours after it began.

The larger New York Pride parade had 677 contingents, including community groups, major corporations and cast members from FX’s “Pose.” Organizers expected at least 150,000 people to march, with hundreds of thousands more lining the streets to watch.

Other Stonewall commemorations in New York included rallies, parties, film showings and a human rights conference. The celebration coincided with WorldPride, an international LGBTQ event that started in Rome in 2000 and was held in New York this past week.

The New York City celebrations wrapped up Sunday night with a closing ceremony in Times Square featuring speeches and performances by Melissa Etheridge, Deborah Cox, Melanie C, MNEK, Jake Shears and others.

___

Find complete AP Stonewall anniversary coverage here: https://apnews.com/Stonewallat50

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up