Two days after the repeal of the Defense
of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the striking
down of California's Proposition 8, Lady
Gaga appeared at the
NYC Pride Rally and gave an
eloquently personal speech about LGBT
equality before singing an impassioned
rendition of the national anthem while
holding a rainbow flag in her upraised
The first Pride rally happened in June
of 1969, one month after the Stonewall
Riots, when more than 500 gathered for a
"Gay Power" demonstration in New York's
Washington Square Park.
Forty-four years later, the
Empire State Building glowed rainbow
spectacular with a sparkle in its halo
in honor of
NYC Pride Week.
Pride Weekend was an all-star gay
cavalcade of talent, marked by
performances from Lady Gaga, Cher, and
Deborah Cox, as well as Candis Cayne.
On Sunday, the 44th annual
LGBT Pride March followed a
freshly-painted lavender line down the
center of Fifth Avenue - from 36th
Street to the western end of Christopher
Street in the Village.
More than 1.8 million spectators cheered
on a who's-who of power politicos,
including Governor Cuomo, Senator
Schumer, Mayor Bloomberg, City Council
Speaker Christine Quinn, and Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand, although the crowd's
favorite stars were clearly the three
Grand Marshals: Earl Fowlkes, Harry
Belafonte, and Supreme Court plaintiff
Edie Windsor, for whom the massive crowd
rained down adulation, cheers, and
More than 13,000 people (and canines)
marched in the Pride March, dancing and
cheering to music from nearly 70
bedizened and bedazzled floats, while
NYC Pride volunteers provided
assistance and direction.
Crowd favorites included
FLAGGOTS, a merry band of male
flaggers whose flag and baton expertise
wowed the crowds into jubilant applause,
as well as "From Russia With Love," a
placard-carrying group of LGBT Russians
who reminded onlookers that Russia's
homophobic government has banned LGBT
marches for the next 100 years.
The New York Police Department Marching
Band generated huge applause for their
synchronized marching and inspired
Some of the afternoon's best signs were
declarations of love and commitment from
long-term relationships - and one
newlywed same-sex couple carried a sign
proclaiming "JUST MARRIED TODAY."
The 27th annual
NYC Pride Dance on the Pier featured
DJs Luis Perez, Dave Aude, and Oscar G.,
as well as a riveting performance by
Broadway and recording star Deborah Cox
- but it was Cher for whom the sold-out
crowd remained packed person-to-person
along Pier 26 on Hudson River Park.
One of Cher's fanatical followers was
Vinnie, a young man who'd seen Cher
perform "either 34 or 36 times,
depending on if you count appearances,"
and who wore a handmade Cher t-shirt,
complete with Cher belt buckle, and
Sonny and Cher wristwatch.
NYC Pride weekend wrapped up with the
world's longest-running LGBT fireworks
display along the Hudson.
"From rain to rainbows" was this year's
Pride theme - and as Chris Frederick,
Managing Director of NYC Pride,
eloquently stated, "Yesterday's struggle
is today's heritage."