New York City’s 42nd annual LGBT Pride March—and this writer’s 41st—on a sunny June 26, turned out to be a celebration of the New York State Legislature’s passage of and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing into law a measure—the Marriage Equality Act—making same-sex marriage legal in the Empire State. Very much in evidence were signs reading “Thank you, Governor Cuomo” and “6 Down, 44 [States] to Go!,” chants of “Congratulations, New York,” and such wedding trappings as bridal veils and gowns and black ties.
Columnist and author Dan Savage and partner Terry Miller, whose “It Gets Better” book and video are designed to discourage LGBT teen suicide; Metropolitan Community Church Reverend Pat Bumgardner; and, celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Imperial Court of New York (ICNY) were the march’s Grand Marshals.
My partner Joe and I and our best friend Greg Klosek marched with Metrobears New York and during our day we saw the Empire State Pride Agenda, Lambda Legal, and Human Rights Campaign contingents; God’s Love We Deliver, Bailey House, and Aid for AIDS; the Lesbian and Gay Teachers Association; the Queer Black Cinema Film Festival contingent; China with the ICNY ‘2011 Pride March Grand Marshal’ banner; ‘Mama’ Jean Devente, Grand Marshal of the very first Pride, or Christopher Street Liberation Day march, in 1970; Peruvian, Israeli, and Armenian gays and lesbians; leatherwoman Jo Arnone and the “We Remember” banner, at the reviewing stand at Madison Square Park in Chelsea, and singer Porsche, who greeted us from the final one, at Christopher and Greenwich Streets; and ‘Queen of Studio 54’ Rollerena, who joined the four bear titleholders and the rest on the Metrobears float. Marching down Fifth Avenue, we observed the 3 p.m. moment of silence in memory of those we have lost to AIDS. We saw the crowd in front of Stonewall Inn, on Christopher Street, where the historic rebellion, marking the birth of Gay Liberation, took place in June 1969.
Continuing a 35-year tradition, we had begun our day with a festive Pride breakfast at the home of our friends, Paul Kimball and Barry Sorkin. After the march, and dinner at a Japanese restaurant on Hudson Street, we walked through the PrideFest street fair, and then Joe and I finished our Gay Day in the gayest of ways, attending a performance of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” at the Palace Theater on Broadway, using tickets I had won at the Tony Awards party at Island Breeze in Cherry Grove. Heading home following the show, we saw the Empire State Building, lit in the colors of the rainbow, in honor of Pride.