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New York City
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
June 28, 2009     photo-album Bookmark and Share

There wasn’t marriage equality to cheer—at least not in New York, not yet—but that didn’t keep Governor Paterson from marching and more than half a million spectators lining Fifth Avenue from 52nd Street to the Village from cheering loudly and dancing in the streets.  It may not be right yet, our LGBT life on planet Earth, but all around the world, there were Pride celebrations on Sunday.  There’s change in the air—and the numerous banners and stickers listing the six states already standing tall for LGBT marriage equality were a reminder that change is coming. 

And this year, our allies stood alongside us, proclaiming their support on t-shirts and floats with messages like:  ANTI-VIOLENCE / PRO GAY, I LOVE THE GAYS, PFLAG – IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE, and I SEE GAY PEOPLE.  We did, too—see gay people everywhere.  Happy, smiling gay people, cheering and holding hands and hugging and kissing—a day without fear, a day without opprobrium for whom we love.  That’s a day to celebrate, a day that becomes the norm.

It’s a long day, a long parade—and sometimes we hear people from out of town complaining about the parade’s pace.  But, people—look around.  There’s a parade on the sidewalk, too.  Walk along Fifth Avenue, move from midtown into Chelsea and the Village—catch the Pride fever and just be happy.

For once you’ve made it into the Village, and you find yourself standing along Christopher Street, just beyond Stonewall Inn, where it all started forty years ago, a world revolution still circling the globe—that’s where the cheering intensifies, louder and with more passion—and as you stand there, taking in the many colors of our community, a rainbow coalition undivided by geography, and as you see the young kids, smiling, holding hands, and the children on parents’ shoulders, waving a gay flag—that’s when you might find yourself completely enveloped by love, basking in love, all-pervasive and encompassing—and there’s nothing to do but be grateful and proud, for that is Pride.  That is the Parade. 

Or as one t-shirt put it: I LOVE NEW YORK MORE THAN EVAH.

Amen, sister. 

Of course, then there’s the Pier Dance—or rather the world’s gayest meet-and-greet.  This is where you smash into the boyfriends of yesteryear (and their new hotties) and last month’s trick from Houston and that great Dane you nearly chased to Copenhagen.  Cocktails sloshing (this year named for Candis Cayne and Lady Bunny), and sailboats along the Hudson, their rainbow banners whipping in the breeze, and fireboats shooting off rainbow-colored water plumes, and the Empire State Building, the world’s largest Art Deco erection, glowing lavender.  Why not give in to the romance of the night?  Fireworks blasting overhead, illuminating the sky…

Oh yeah, and there’s music—and dancing.  And this year, three deejays, Phillip Kimball, Jack Reina, and Corey Craig—and as someone mentioned, their sets were a lyrical commentary on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion and the quest for LGBT marriage equality.  Or you could just dance—or flag—or gaze at Guy Smith’s mesmerizing light show.  There’s such a variety of ways to enjoy this party.  It’s all what you give to it—and why would you want to resist having fun, and especially when the monies raised enable Pride to happen every year?  For in the end, the Pier Dance is a sea of smiling faces, dancing along the River under a moonlit night at the beginning of summer in New York.  Give it up for Pier Dance and be proud you’re helping Pride happen.  Do it for all those kids who line the streets in need of gay love.

Because that’s Pride in New York—or as the PFLAG float said it best, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LOVE.

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