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Amid conservative backlash, Pride rolls on; Edie & Thea get their way

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Amid conservative boycotts of brands like Bud Light, Target and Kohl’s and anti-transgender healthcare legislation in a number of states, the annual Pride March nevertheless rolled on jubilantly on Sun., June 25.

An estimated 75,000 revelers participated in and 2 million watched the world’s largest Pride procession.

Governor Hochul gave remarks at the Pride March, joined by, from second from left, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, singer Billy Porter, state Senator Brad Hoylman, Rev. Al Sharpton, state Attorney General Letitia James, Judith-Kasen Windsor (Edie Windsor’s wife), Allen Roskoff of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Assemblymember Tony Simone. (Photo by Milo Hess)
(Photo by Milo Hess)
(Photo by Q. Sakamaki)

This year’s grand marshals were award-winning singer Billy Porter; Yasmin Benoit, a British asexual activist and writer; AC Dumlau, chief of staff at Athlete Alley, which educates against homophobia and transphobia in sports; Hope Giselle, an organizer and artist who founded Alabama State University’s first L.G.B.T. group; and Randy Wicker, a gay rights trailblazer.

In 1966, Wicker was among a group of gay men who asked to be served drinks at Julius’ Bar, on W. 10th Street, in the famed “sip-in,” when “drinking while gay” was still technically illegal. The bartender covered the glasses with his hand, refusing to serve them. Before surrogate pregnancy, Wicker advocated for gay cloning — so gays could have kids. He owned a light shop at Hudson and Christopher Streets before moving to New Jersey around 20 years ago.

At the dedication of Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer Way, from left, former Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, state Senator Brad Hoylman and his daughter Silvia, Governor Hochul, attorney Roberta Kaplan (who won the same-sex marriage case in the U.S. Supreme Court), Judith-Kasen Windsor (Edie Windsor’s wife), state Attorney General Letitia James and Councilmember Christopher Marte. (Photo by Darren McGee)
(Photo by Milo Hess)
(Photo by Milo Hess)

Six days before the Pride March, Governor Hochul led the dedication at Washington Square North and Fifth Avenue of a street co-naming sign honoring Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer, whose Supreme Court lawsuit led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in America.

“Today is about love,” Hochul said, “a love that started in this place in 1963 called Greenwich Village.

“It was tough for a lot of people for a really long time,” the governor said, recalling an uncle, a Vietnam War veteran, who struggled before being able to embrace his true identity.

“Edie said, ‘I’m going all the way to the Supreme Court — so, it’s not just about me, but all the people that come after me,’” she said. “And today we benefit and bask in the glory of the freedom that she made possible for us by standing up so courageously.”

Meanwhile, other states are now “stripping away” people’s rights, she noted.

“We say, leave our children alone,” Hochul declared. “Leave people alone.”

(Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was among the many politicians who joined the March. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
Police and their K-9 partners were on hand to ensure that this year’s Pride March stayed safe. Heritage of Pride, the event’s organizer, in 2021 — in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minnesota the previous year and an accompanying surge of anti-police sentiment — banned L.G.B.T. police officers from participating in the New York City Pride March through 2025. (Photo by Q. Sakamaki)

Of the new street sign and what it means, the governor said, “it will continue to shine on as a legacy to what tough New Yorkers, tough women can do.

“To all of the L.G.B.T. people across our great state, thank you for making us so fascinating, so well dressed, so extraordinary,” she said. “You’re valued, you’re loved, and you, like everyone across this country, will always be welcome here. This is your home.”

Just five days later, on Friday, in the latest setback for L.G.B.T. civil rights, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in a 6-to-3 vote, for a Colorado evangelical Web designer who objected to creating work for same-sex marriages. The verdict has sweeping national ramifications for creative businesses and their right to refuse services to L.G.B.T. individuals.

(Photo by Milo Hess)
(Photo by Q. Sakamaki)

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the ruling”makes a mockery of the law.”

In a statement, Governor Hochul said, “I am disgusted that the assault on human rights by the Supreme Court continues. This decision — released on the final day of Pride Month — to roll back the rights of L.G.B.T.Q.+ couples will be devastating to people across the country who are simply looking to love the person they choose. Here in New York, the birthplace of the modern movement for L.G.B.T.Q.+ equality, we remain committed to implementing laws and policies that protect this community. We will never stop fighting for equality.”

Mayor Adams also slammed the news, saying, “On the last day of Pride Month, the Supreme Court’s decision undercuts decades of progress by weakening anti-discrimination protections for the L.G.B.T.Q.+ community. As the city of Stonewall, with the nation’s strongest human-rights laws, New York City will always stand with our L.G.B.T.Q.+ community and be a safe haven to all.”

(Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
(Photo by Milo Hess)
(Photo by Q. Sakamaki)
(Photo by Milo Hess)

One Comment

  1. Karen Karen July 1, 2023

    Great coverage of last weekend’s Pride Parade. Let the light of Pride shine on.

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