New York City’s annual LGBT Pride March, organized by Heritage of Pride, took place on June 30, just four days after landmark Supreme Court decisions overturning the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, in the case of United States v. Windsor, and California Proposition 8, in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, and the celebration of these two historic Marriage Equality victories was very much in the air. Edith Windsor, plaintiff in the former case, was one of three Grand Marshals, along with singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte and Center for Black Equity President/CEO Earl Fowlkes.
Three of us Messrs. Fire Island Leather, 2013 Candido Soares, the current titleholder, 2005 Joe Saporito, my spouse, and 2001, this writer, the first Mr. FI Leather, marched with the Eagle NYC contingent, along with Eagle NYC owner Derek Danton, at least five Messrs. Eagle NYC, 2013 Arsenio Amadis, the current titleholder, 2011 CB Kirby, 2007 Rick Weber, 2008 Peter Schwartz, and 2005 Robert Valin, of Urban Bear; Mr. MetroCub 2011 Heriberto Oquendo, Jr. and other ONYX members; titleholders from Washington, D.C., and Chicago; and Arizona Empress and Leatherwoman Justice Prevails. Candido, Joe, and I marched in front of the Eagle NYC truck and behind a huge Leather Pride flag that, according to CB, measured 20 by 40 feet; was made in South Africa by Mr. South Africa Leather 2013 Johann Jooste especially for Philadelphia Leather Pride Night (PLPN), as a duplicate of one that was kept in South Africa; and was lent by PLPN Producer Cowboi Jen and also used in Philadelphia and Baltimore Pride marches.
During the day, we also saw the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band; a contingent carrying Live Stigma-Free of HIV banners, with Leathermen Joe Aiello, President of Atlantic Motorcycle Coordinating Council, and Jed Ryan, Mr. North American Bear 2012, bearing one that said Fighting Stigma the Friendly Way; a Mormons for Marriage Equality group; and a Foreskin Pride intactamerica.org group. We saw such LGBT movement figures as Queers for Economic Justice’s Amber Hollibaugh; Stonewall Democratic Club’s Steve Ashkenazy, veteran of Gay Activists Alliance in the early 1970s; Rainbow Flag creator Gilbert Baker; Queen of Studio 54 Rollerena; Lesbian Sex Mafia founder and Leather Pride benefit auctioneer extraordinaire Jo Arnone; Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation’s James Saslow, author of “Ganymede in the Renaissance;” and Queer Rising—and New York QNews’—Thaddeus Motyka. Composer David Del Tredici; New York City Opera soprano Sarah Joy Miller, who will portray Anna Nicole Smith in Mark-Anthony Turnage and Richard Thomas’ opera “Anna Nicole” at BAM in September, and additional singers Porsche, Jennifer McClain, and Alexia Tate; artists Marcello Geary and Rob Ordoñez; Sabel Scities; and Leather couple Grant and Ben were also in evidence.