Rainbows, tutus and colorful flags took over Fifth Avenue on Sunday for New York City’s annual Pride March; this year, the LGBT march carried a distinct air of protest in addition to celebration.
New York City is home to one of the oldest and largest LGBT pride demonstrations in the world. The NYC Pride March began as a civil rights demonstration on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a series of spontaneous and violent riots in response to an early-morning raid on a bar popular among the LGBT crowd. The riots are largely seen as the single most important event leading to gay liberation.
Roughly 350 people participated in that first march, according to ABC7. In 2016, more than 30,000 people marched and the parade drew more than 2 million spectators.
This year’s Pride March was expected to be even bigger, with a record-breaking 40,000 marchers.
Also in the spotlight this year was resistance to what LGBT activists see as new pressure on gay rights under the Trump administration.
The decision to focus on protest was evident in this year’s march theme — “We Are Proud” — which speaks to the LGBT community’s continued ability to rise above hate and injustice and be proud of who they are, especially given the current political climate.
This year’s grand marshals also included the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization focused more on protest than anything else. Brooke Guinan, a trans woman and FDNY firefighter; Krishna Stone, the director of community relations at GHMC and Geng Le, founder of Blued, the largest gay social networking app in the world, also helmed the parade.
Since President Trump took office, his administration has rolled back federal guidance to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms at public schools that coincide with their gender identity.
Trump also failed to declare June as Pride Month, breaking with an annual practice of former President Barack Obama.