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HOP's NYC Pride Rally
Bryant Park, New York City
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
June 18, 2006   photo-album Bookmark and Share

Even while it appears as if fewer and fewer people take advantage of what the Pride Rally offers, there’s really no good excuse for missing an afternoon surrounded by members of the LGBT community in one of New York’s most delicious and civilized parks,  No excuse – except of course for the mercury heading toward one hundred, and also the fact that Folsom Street East was scheduled for the same Sunday afternoon, as was Dancing at the Crossroads, both of them fundraisers, for both GMHC and the Anti-Violence Project.  So perhaps these were a few of the reasons why the crowd on Sunday afternoon at Bryant Park was notably sparser than in previous years.  How else to explain why more people don’t take advantage of free entertainment, a lush green lawn, and eye candy in various stages of undress?  Traditionally, the Rally kicks off Pride Week in New York – and as a rule, the Grand Marshals of the Parade speak – but this year, Christine Quinn was otherwise engaged, and so Florent Morellet donned a wig and feigned her enthusiasm at being chosen, before ditching the wig and explaining how he’d dragged himself from the abyss of depression to a near-embrace of the Log Cabin Republicans – which is definitely one kind of spiritual journey. 

Fortunately, there was also Ari Gold and Billy Porter, working to incite the sweltering few with their infectious tunes and their warm soulful voices and their earnest pleas to come together as a community and stand up for each other and stop the hate.  Without a doubt, the recent attack on Kevin Aviance was the sub-text of the Rally, and more than a few speakers addressed anti-gay violence head-on and begged for us to toss off our chains and walk tall and stand proud.  But it was perhaps the final act of the Rally, a group of young kids of all colors, calling themselves Love, Life and Happy Endings, who tore into their choreographed routine with such enthusiasm and ebullience that despair no longer fit into the equation.  As one young singer said in closing, “My religion?  One love.”  Word?  Youth shall be heard.

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