"Liberty and Justice for All" are the words that end the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag and the LGBT Community has been keeping up the good fight for decades to ensure that "All" includes us. "Liberty and Justice for All" was the aptly political theme chosen by Heritage of Pride (HOP) for the last-Sunday-in-June, 41st annual LGBT Pride March, this writer's 40th, on a sunny June 27, commemorating the anniversary of the historic 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, considered the start of the 20th century Gay Liberation Movement. Grand Marshals for the 2010 march were activists Judy Shepard, of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, tireless fighter for prevention of hate crimes of the sort that killed her son Matthew; Lt. Dan Choi, a leader of the grassroots struggle to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the heinous policy under which he was expelled from military service; and Constance McMillen, the Mississippi high school student, who stood up for the right to bring her female date to the prom.
After a scrumptious Pride breakfast, at the home of our friends Paul Kimball and Barry Sorkin, we joined the Eagle NYC leather bar contingent, in the seventh of the 12 sections of participants, to march beside the float and spend our Pride Day afternoon in the company of Mr. New Jersey Leather 2010 Damian Parra, Ms. NJ Leather 2010 Morgain, and Mr. NJ Leather 2008 Spanky. Later, Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2010 and Ms. Mid-Atlantic Bootblack 2010 joined us.
While we waited the enter the line of march, from 36th Street and Fifth Avenue to Christopher Street, in the Village-a shorter route, like that of all local parades now, and, frankly, making for a less exhausting day-we saw contingents from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), New York's LGBT Community Center, Take Back Pride, the Israeli Delegation, and colorfully-costumed groups of LGBT Asians-Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY), Barangay NY, and South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association (SALGA) of New York-and Gay Peruvians of the Americas, APICHA, and a Brazilian group in Carnival feathers and glitter. We observed moments of silence in memory of those we have lost. We chatted with New York State Senator Tom Duane, the Metropolitan Opera's William Berger and, later, at Pridefest, the street fair on Hudson Street, from Bethune to 13th Street, with comic Reno, who was working for voter awareness. A walk through 'Leather Alley'-Weehawken Street, beside Rock Bar, formerly the Dugout-and our happy Pride Day came to its conclusion.