NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — New York City’s annual Pride Parade began on Sunday with sparkling confetti, cheering crowds, rainbow flag hoisting and renewed fear of losing the freedom won through decades of activism.
Annual marches in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and elsewhere are taking place two days after a conservative justice signaled the Supreme Court in a ruling on abortion, That the court should reconsider the right to same-sex marriage recognized in 2015.
“We are here to make a statement,” said Mercedes Sharp, 31, who traveled from Massachusetts to Manhattan. “I think it’s about making a point rather than all the other years like how we normally celebrate it. It’s going to really stand out. I think angry people happen a lot, here Even not just women, angry men, angry women.”
Thousands of people – many dressed in proud colors – line the parade route through Manhattan, passing as floats and marchers.
The warnings from the nation’s top court came a year after a legislative defeat for the LGBTQ community, which included passing laws limiting discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity with children in some states.
As anti-gay sentiment resurfaces, some are pushing for pride parades to return to their roots – fewer block-long street parties, more openly civil rights marches.
“It’s become more of a celebration of gay life than a statement of advocacy and protest,” Sean Clarkin, 67, said of New York City’s annual parade, while enjoying a recent drink at Julius, the oldest One of the gay bars in Greenwich Village, Manhattan.
As he recalls things, the parade was once about defiance and pushing against an oppressive mainstream that saw gays, lesbians, and transgender people as unworthy outsiders.
“As satisfying and empowering as can now be accepted by the mainstream,” Clarkin said, “there was something exhilarating and even wonderful about looking out.”
New York’s first Pride March, then called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, was held in 1970 to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, a spontaneous street rebellion triggered by a police raid on a gay bar in Manhattan .
The first March of San Francisco was in 1972 and was held every year, except for the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Celebrations have now become global, taking place in many countries throughout the year, with many of the biggest parades taking place in June. One of the world’s largest, was held on 19 June in So Paulo, Brazil.
In the United States, this year’s celebration comes amid a potential crisis.
In a Supreme Court decision Friday decriminalizing abortion rights, Justice Clarence Thomas said in a consensus opinion that the court should also reconsider The 2015 decision to legalize same-sex marriage and the 2003 decision repeal laws criminalizing same-sex sex.
“The recent Roe v. Wade overturn has caused a very strong uproar about what happened. Other rights may be involved further,” said 22-year-old Dean Jigarjian, who took part in the New York City parade. Had crossed the river from New Jersey with girlfriend.
More than a dozen states have recently enacted laws that go against the interests of LGBTQ communities, including a law in Florida preventing any mention of sexual orientation in school curricula and threatening parents to prosecute who allow their children to receive gender-affirming care in Texas. ,
Several states have enacted laws prohibiting transgender athletes from participating in team sports that coincide with the gender in which they identify.
Members of LGBTQ communities were more likely to experience harassment than any other group, according to an Anti-Defamation League survey released earlier this week. Two-thirds of respondents said they had been harassed, with slightly more than half saying the harassment was a result of their sexual orientation.
In recent years, disputes have opened up about how to celebrate Stonewall, with splinter groups intending the events to be more protest-oriented.
In New York City, the Queer Liberation March coincides with the traditional parade, billing itself as an antidote to the “corporate-influenced, police-engulfed, politician-heavy parades that now dominate pride celebrations.”
Major parades may carry more of that sentiment this year, although many March fans see them as a combination of activism and celebration.
New Yorker Vincent Manisalko, 40, who has been married to her husband for five years, said she thought the march was meant to highlight civil rights issues and “to get people from all walks of life to celebrate their authentic self. There’s an opportunity to bring that together. And I think the New York City Pride Parade does a great job of that.”