WEST VILLAGE, Manhattan (PIX11) — Pride Weekend in New York City kicked off on Friday with a milestone at the site of what is recognized as the birthplace of LGBTQ+ rights movement, the Stonewall National Monument. Along with a groundbreaking for the visitors center and display space for the site, came comments of concern that marriage equality and other LGBTQ+ rights could be in jeopardy, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision ending abortion rights nationwide.
At Stonewall was a long list of dignitaries, celebrities, activists and local residents.
Kurt Kelly owns the Stonewall Inn, the bar that’s part of the national monument. It’s a vital historical site because it’s where a group of LGBTQ+ customers fought back against police who were raiding the establishment, in 1969, because it catered to them.
“The missing piece of the puzzle [is] the visitors center,” Kelly said. “That will make it a whole. The monument is now whole.”
An activist who goes by the name “Tree” elaborated on why the visitors center groundbreaking is meaningful.
“It means a hell of a lot to me because, remember, I was here on the day of the rebellion,” Tree said. “I was in here dancing when the raid came.”
He added a comment that was a theme among people at the national monument site, and along the route of the Pride March, scheduled for Sunday.
“We can go back to 1969 again,” Tree warned.
Andy Cohen, the talk show host, was among the celebrities at the Stonewall on Friday. He said that this year’s Pride Weekend, the first one in person since 2019, is bittersweet for him.
“Gay people all over the place are being persecuted,” Cohen told PIX11 News, “and I think that’s the important thing to remember while we’re all celebrating.”
Currently, at least a dozen states have adopted so-called “Don’t Say Gay” and other anti-LGBTQ laws. Also on Friday, with the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade having emerged, many people at the groundbreaking expressed concern that marriage equality could be threatened.
One person discussing the issue was Judith Kaden-Windsor. She’s the wife of Edie Windsor, who won the landmark Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor, nine years ago. It secured full rights and benefits for same-sex couples.
Windsor passed away five years ago, and Kasen-Windsor fights on. She said that there is no need for fear following Friday’s Supreme Court decision.
“[United States v.] Windsor changed 7,800 laws and 1,128 tax laws,” she said. “You wanna unravel that?” she asked. “Try me.”
There is also still a drive among event-goers to have a fun, inclusive, joyous celebration for Pride Weekend.
New York Assemblymember Deborah Glick, who sponsored the bill that made Roe v. Wade right-to-choose protections the law in New York State, said that there’s a dual focus.
“While we celebrate,” she said, “we rededicate to the proposition that all of us deserve the same human rights.”
Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player, was also on hand at the national monument and added to that sentiment.
“We will continue to celebrate our community,” Collins said in an interview, “and know that so many of our rights are under attack.”
Some highlights of Pride Weekend
- Drag March, Tompkins Square Park, 7:00 p.m.
- Harlem Pride Celebration Day, 135th Street and 12th Avenue, noon
- Dyke March 2022, Bryant Park, 5:00 p.m.
- Pride March, Madison Square Park to West Village, 12:00 noon
- Queer Liberation March, Foley Square, 1:00 p.m.