Last Sunday I visited the New York City Pride March for my first time, despite having lived and worked in the city for almost five years. I don't know what took me so long either!
This year's Pride March was the 48th time it electrified the streets of Greenwich Village with vibrant color, pulsating music, performance, and costume. Of course I could not resist taking dozens of photos! I shared my favorites on my company Facebook gallery.
Being the first time I celebrating Pride in New York City, and given the toxic, often hateful political climate I couldn't help but step back to contemplate the underlying importance and symbolism of Pride.
The March is always an exceptionally happy and joyful celebration of the LGBTQ+ movement and community; however, it is also of significant national and international importance as an annual civil rights demonstration. Over the years, its purpose has broadened to include recognition of the fight against AIDS and to remember those we have lost to illness, violence and neglect.
The theme of Pride 2018 was "Defiantly Different”, celebrating the rallying cry of generations who laid the groundwork for equality, the next wave of creative thinkers yesterday prepared to score their own trails, and each distinctive individual in between.
NYC Pride Co-Chair, David Studinski, describes this year’s theme as “about showing our power, squaring our shoulders in the face of adversity, and continuing to sculpt that magnetic bond within the LGBTQ+ community and our allies”.
As the rousing parade of kaleidoscopic color moved through the Village, the creativity of the floats and performers provided a constant reminder of the Pride 2018 themes.
Above the many sights and sounds there was one feeling and emotion, which rose up across the day, the feeling of unity and togetherness, bound together by a shared loved which knew no boundaries or barriers.
As I reflect on my first Pride March in New York City, and already knowing I will be at Pride 2019 and Stonewall 50, when New York City hosts WorldPride, I know that in the meantime I will live by this years theme.
For me that means with same color and sheer energy that I witnessed on Sunday, I will always celebrate and embrace the meaning of being of “Defiantly Different”, by “standing, defiantly – defiantly different, and defiantly as one.”