Flags and personalities of all colors filled the streets of Manhattan at the New York City Pride March, drawing thousands of protesters and millions of spectators against the growing threat to the LGBTQIA+ community.
The NYC Pride March, the largest of its kind in the US, made history on Sunday by bringing with it its first asexual female Grand Marshal, British activist, author and model Yasmin Benoit.
After a series of rainbow-colored balloons and a marching band, Benoit and four other Grand Marshals, each in their own convertible car, led the march from Fifth Avenue and 25th Street to Greenwich Village.
The march commemorates the June 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village by members of the gay community that sparked the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
“It was the most surreal experience of my life,” Benoit, 27, from Reading, told Metro.co.uk of the honor of serving as Grand Marshal.
Pride month 2023
Pride month is here and members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies will celebrate their identities and achievements and reflect on the fight for equality throughout June.
This year, Metro.co.uk deals with the topic of family and what it means for the LGBTQ+ community.
Below you will find our daily highlights and for our LaCheck out the LGBTQ+ coverage, visit our dedicated Pride page.
“It was just crazy being out there with all those crowds.”
“When we got to Greenwich and passed the Stonewall Inn, it was the first time I’d seen it in person and it definitely made me feel like a part of that moment.”
More than three quarters of the 75,000 demonstrators are members of non-profit organizations. Some of the estimated two million spectators passed trays full of cups of water to the protesters.
Just before the 12 p.m. march began, NYC Pride Co-Chair Sue Doster welcomed the community to “what we think is the best Pride march in the world.”
“Every year we choose a theme and this year’s theme was, through community submissions, I might add, ‘Strength Through Solidarity’ – a very important, poignant theme given what’s going on right now,” Doster said during a morning press conference.
When the issue was announced a few months ago, there were about 200 anti-LGBTQI+ bills in state legislatures nationwide.
“That number has grown to almost 600,” said André Thomas, co-chair of NYC Pride. “Our community is under attack – attacks against our youth, our trans family. That’s why we stand here in strength and solidarity, to show everyone who we are. ‘those who stand against us.’
Sandra Pérez, executive director of NYC Pride, said LGBTQIA+ have known for a long time that they were being targeted.
“I had a conversation with one of our Grand Marshals this morning and we agreed that this is nothing new,” Pérez said.
During the six hour march it was sunny and partly cloudy, a perfect summer day.
Some spectators were so enthusiastic that they joined the march.
“I love Pride, it’s basically like Christmas and New Year’s to me,” Augie McAllister, 28, who has traveled from Philadelphia to attend for the ninth time, told Metro.co.uk.
“It just marks the new year, new beginnings and refreshment, but also like Christmas because it’s so damn fun.”
The New York Dr. Shelley Cahn, 37, her husband Jeff Cahn, 61, and their five-year-old son Sinai Cahn marched and then stood on the sidelines behind a sign that read, “We will love our son even if he’s straight.”
“My happiest moment was marching down Fifth Avenue with my beautiful son, my wife, screaming loud and proud that we want him to be what he is going to be,” Jeff told Metro.co.uk .
The family have been taking part in the march since Shelley was pregnant with Sinai.
“That year the sign said ‘We only know gender, not sex’ so he’s always had permission to be what he wanted to be,” Shelley told Metro.co.uk.
The NYC Pride March is “absolutely” her favorite celebration of the year.
“I’ve been waiting for this all year,” she said. “It’s the most important thing.”
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