Pride Parade was part celebration, part protest

Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The annual Pride Parade marched down Fifth Avenue from 36th Street down to the West Village at the end of last month, with the event doubling as a protest against the Trump administration.

Although the organization also had its usual presence as a group later in the parade, the American Civil Liberties Union’s appearance as one of the grand marshals at the very beginning set the tone early as representatives carried “Resist” signs, which appeared throughout the march from various other participants and groups.

Other protest groups at the front of the march included Black Lives Matter, Gays Against Guns, No Justice No Peace and others, which were followed by local politicians and later by a seemingly endless stream of corporate sponsors, such as TD Bank, T-Mobile, New York Life, Delta, Target and Kiehl’s, whose float featured a rainbow flag created by the crochet artist Olek.

State Senator Brad Hoylman, the only openly LGBT member of the New York State Senate, distributed copies of the U.S. Constitution during the march.

“I’ll be handing out 5,000 copies of the U.S. Constitution, because Donald Trump is a one-man constitutional crisis,” Hoylman said prior to the parade. “Now, it’s more important than ever for the LGBT community to know its rights.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman

Gothamist reported that protesters from No Justice No Peace were arrested later in the parade in front of the Stonewall Inn when they briefly created a barricade to block the procession.

Marchers from Black Lives Matter carried an Avenue-wide pink banner that said “There are no Queer-friendly cops” and participants from Gays Against Guns created a somber memorial by dressing all in white and holding short biographies of victims from the Pulse nightclub terrorist attack in Orlando last year while marching in silence.

The tone was similar at the Dyke March the day before, which also goes down Fifth Avenue beginning at 42nd Street down to Washington Square Park, although that event is specifically a protest rather than a parade. Marchers there carried signs condemning homophobia as well as those with anti-GOP and anti-Trump sentiments, and participants observed a moment of silence for LGBT victims of violence when the march reached 25th Street.

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