FLATIRON, MANHATTAN – Cramming the streets of New York City, spectators and participants in the 53rd annual Pride March left no room for hate on Sunday.
“It’s amazing to be accepted in a great community,” Mary-Grace Crosby, a spectator from Canada, said.
The march has been an annual tradition since 1970, when it commemorated the first anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in Greenwich Village. It gives members of the LGBTQ+ community a stage to celebrate who they are. This year’s theme was Unapologetically Us.
“I have struggled with my sexual identity for the longest,” Alexis Colzie, a spectator from New Jersey, said. “I was told that it was a sin to be gay and to love girls, so I am just happy to be here and be who I am.”
Bansri Manek, the director of the march, is reminding everyone that the celebration is a march and not a parade because they’re still fighting for human rights.
“This event grew out of an uprising and even today, activism and protest is very central to this movement,” Manek said.
After the Supreme Court overturned its decision on Roe v. Wade on Friday, organizers quickly secured Planned Parenthood to lead the march.
Planned Parenthood President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson shared some words before the event kicked off.
“The attack on abortion is connected to the entire attack on bodily autonomy and equal rights,” Johnson said. “You can’t have reproductive rights without LGBT rights. We are on the same team and we are fighting the same enemy.”
Behind Planned Parenthood were the Grand Marshals, including Schuyler Bailar, the first transgender athlete to compete in an NCAA Division I men’s team.
With hundreds of different groups making their way down, the NYPD tightened security for the day.
“It’s a beautiful celebration,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Madrey said. “The NYPD is out here. We’re here to keep the community safe to make sure everyone has a good time.”
The celebration is a colorful day for all to show up as themselves and represent for others.
“There [are] a lot of people that are closeted,” Diogenes Spignolo, a spectator, said. “There’s a lot of people that committed suicide, so I represent that you could be yourself.”
The march route began on 23rd Street and 5th Avenue and dipped downtown passing the Stonewall Monument and AIDS Memorial before ending in Chelsea on 16th Street and 7th Avenue.