One of the great parts of living in New York City is that being different is celebrated. The city has more than 8 million residents, and we are made up of different nationalities, races, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. New York City is truly a melting pot, and no one really bats an eye at you for looking or acting "weird." Perhaps no part of the year is more representative of our differencs than Pride Week. And the shining part of Pride Week is, of course, the annual Pride Parade.
The first LGBT Pride march in NYC was held in 1970. This was actually the first Pride March in the United States. Since then, the parade had grown into one of the largest pride parades in the world, and it rivals the Sao Paolo Gay Parade in terms of size.
I came to the Pride Parade back in 2009 with...my parents. It was really awesome, especially since my parents are totally cool and got into the dancing and everything else going on. This year was still a huge celebration, but it felt way more political, which I wasn't surprised by. We're living in a pretty scary time right now, but seeing so much support and celebration made me feel a little better about the future.
The Pride Parade runs down Fifth Avenue and into the Village. Its route was specifically chosen to pass by the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. If you are unfamiliar with NYC history, the Stonewall Inn was the site of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, an event that is considered to be one of the most important moments in modern LGBT rights. The History Channel put together a full background on the riots.
It's inspiring to see the way the city comes together in support of the LGBT communities. The parade includes everyone from cops to church groups marching, cheering, and handing out giveaways to the crowds. Obergefell vs. Hodges (the case that declared gay marriage was legal) was decided on my birthday back in 2015. Since then, I've loved being able to see my friends feel comfortable being themselves, despite all of the prejudice that still exists in our country. I don't think that people should be denied any type of rights based on their gender or sexual orientation. There is enough hate in the world - shouldn't we be celebrating people wanting to express their love?
I've been to a few parades (Lunar New Year, St. Patrick's Day, and Memorial Day) since moving back to New York, and the Pride Parade was without a doubt the largest. I was wedged between a million (estimate) others, and when I went to leave I had to walk through a wall of people. I typically hate crowds, but everyone was happy, and it was just one big party taking over Manhattan. With all the craziness going on in the world, it was nice to get together and celebrate the fact that deep down, we're all the same.