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NYC Holds 43rd Pride March on 1st Anniversary of Same-Sex Marriage Law Passing in NYS
Photo by Bruce-Michael Gelbert
the throng before historic Stonewall Inn

New York City’s 43rd annual LGBT Pride March—this writer’s 42nd—organized by Heritage of Pride, took place on June 24, the last Sunday of the month, as always. The march, now with a shorter route, like other local marches and parades, kicked off from 36th Street and Fifth Avenue at noon, followed the lavender line painted down the middle of Fifth Avenue, and continued to Christopher and Greenwich Streets, in the Village, passing the historic Stonewall Inn, site of the June 1969 LGBT rebellion that we commemorate. This year’s march took place one year, to the day, after the same-sex marriage law passed in New York State.
My spouse Joe Saporito, our best friend Greg Klosek, and I marched with MetroBears New York, as did members of Onyx, the African-American Leather organization. After our traditional Pride Breakfast, at the home of our friends Paul Kimball and Barry Sorkin, we arrived at the Bears’ designated assembly point, on 39th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. During our long day, we saw:
Males au Naturel, wearing as little as is legally possible in public, and Cheer New York, practicing gravity-defying athletic stunts;
APICHA, the Gay Asian and Pacific Island organization, and South American LGBT groups, in colorful feathery Carnival finery;
New York State Senator Thomas Duane and Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell;
Obama for America—New York, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club honoring the memory of New York’s Gay Activists Alliance’s founding President, and the Log Cabin Republicans;
the LGBT Community Center contingent;
Dignity New York, the 40-year-old LGBT Catholic group, bearing a huge rainbow flag, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, New York’s LGBTQS synagogue, and Metropolitan Community Church of New York, with a “God Made Us Queer!” banner;
the homophobic, AIDS-phobic JPAC (Jewish Political Action Committee), with signs protesting “Judaism Prohibits Homosexuality—Leviticus 20:13—That is why G-d sent AIDS to punish male gays,” “Today Man Marries Man—Tomorrow Man Has Civil Union with his Dog—Followed by Man Marrying His Dog—Mazel Tov!” and “Today Man Marries Man—Tomorrow Man Marries Giraffe,” with stuffed toy dog and giraffe to illustrate their points, countered by one protestor with a sign declaring “This guy needs a hobby” and another, waving an Israeli flag and extravagantly kissing his friends;
NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People);
GAAMC (Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County, New Jersey) and the Upper Delaware GLBT Center in Milford, Pennsylvania;
GOAL (Gay Officers Action League), the New York City Police Band playing “Over the Rainbow,” and the FDNY Recruitment & Diversity Unit and Fire Flag/EMS;
Hispanic AIDS Forum carrying a big flag made up of the flags of many nations, GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis) “embracing our 30th year,” God’s Love We Deliver, and the Callen-Lorde Community Health center, named for late activists Michael Callen and Audrey Lorde;
Broadway Impact and the very fit Broadway Bodies;
the It Gets Better Project, the Trevor Project dedicated to saving young lives, the Ali Forney Center, the Shed Project combating LGBTQ bullying, Green Chimneys’ LGBTQ Youth Program, and the New York Anti-Violence Project (AVP);
Local 100 of the Transit Workers Union;
the Queens Pride Lions Club;
the Lesbian Herstory Archives;
veteran activists Andy Humm and Bill Bahlman, conducting interviews for Gay USA-TV, and Yetta Kurland, Esquire, of Equality Pride Radio’s “Yetta Kurland Live;”
the Imperial Court of New York, with a theme of “Fairy Tales in the Enchanted Forest;”
a bisexual organization, bearing a banner in memory of activist “Brenda Howard, Mother of Pride, 12/24/1946-6/28/2005;”
Mr. MetroCub 2011 Heriberto Oquendo, Jr., Mr. Stonewall Bear 2011 Mike, the first-ever holder of that title, and past Mr. MetroBear Mike Cotter and partner Angel;
Queen of Studio 54 Rollerena, leather activist Jo Arnone, and photographer Mike Prestia, at the reviewing stand opposite Madison Square Park, and singer Porsche, at the reviewing stand near Washington Square Park, announcing Joe and me by name and title, Messrs. Fire Island Leather 2005 and 2001, the first;
Mr. FI Leather 2007 Diego Vargas and, later Mr. FI Leather 2002 Peter B, with partner Andy;
pianist Daniel Lincoln and singer Jody Wood;
“Miss Colombia;”
and, finally, the throng before Stonewall Inn.
A walk through PrideFest, on Hudson Street from Abington Square to 14th Street, and hanging out on “Leather Alley,” Weehawken Street, around the corner from Rockbar, after negotiating an obstacle course of police barricades, completed our day.
Happy Pride!

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