LGBT Pride March (New York City)

Millions of spectators gather every year for New York's LGBT Pride March.

The LGBT Pride March is an annual march more commonly referred to as the Pride Parade in New York City, traversing southward down Fifth Avenue and ending at Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan. The March passes by the site of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, location of the 1969 police raid which launched the modern Gay Rights Movement.[1]

The March, The Rally, PrideFest (the festival) and the Dance on the Pier are the main events of Pride Week in New York City LGBT Pride Week. Since 1984, Heritage of Pride (HOP) has been the producer and organizer of Pride Events in New York City.[2]


New York City Pride, 2011 at top, and 2015 below.

Early on the morning of Saturday, 28 June 1969, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar at 53 Christopher Street, New York City. This riot and further protests and rioting over the following nights were the watershed moment in modern LGBT Rights Movement and the impetus for organizing LGBT pride marches on a much larger public scale.

On November 2, 1969, Craig Rodwell, his partner Fred Sargeant, Ellen Broidy, and Linda Rhodes proposed the first pride march to be held in New York City by way of a resolution at the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO) meeting in Philadelphia.[3]

"That the Annual Reminder, in order to be more relevant, reach a greater number of people, and encompass the ideas and ideals of the larger struggle in which we are engaged-that of our fundamental human rights-be moved both in time and location.

We propose that a demonstration be held annually on the last Saturday in June in New York City to commemorate the 1969 spontaneous demonstrations on Christopher Street and this demonstration be called CHRISTOPHER STREET LIBERATION DAY. No dress or age regulations shall be made for this demonstration.

We also propose that we contact Homophile organizations throughout the country and suggest that they hold parallel demonstrations on that day. We propose a nationwide show of support.[4][5][6][7]

All attendees to the ERCHO meeting in Philadelphia voted for the march except for Mattachine Society of New York, which abstained.[4] Members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) attended the meeting and were seated as guests of Rodwell's group, Homophile Youth Movement in Neighborhoods (HYMN).[8]

Meetings to organize the march began in early January at Rodwell's apartment in 350 Bleecker Street.[9] At first there was difficulty getting some of the major New York City organizations like Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) to send representatives. Craig Rodwell and his partner Fred Sargeant, Ellen Broidy, Michael Brown, Marty Nixon, and Foster Gunnison of Mattachine made up the core group of the CSLD Umbrella Committee (CSLDUC). For initial funding, Gunnison served as treasurer and sought donations from the national homophile organizations and sponsors, while Sargeant solicited donations via the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop customer mailing list and Nixon worked to gain financial support from GLF in his position as treasurer for that organization.[10][11] Other mainstays of the organizing committee were Judy Miller, Jack Waluska, Steve Gerrie and Brenda Howard of GLF.[12] Believing that more people would turn out for the march on a Sunday, and so as to mark the date of the start of the Stonewall uprising, the CSLDUC scheduled the date for the first march for Sunday, June 28, 1970.[13] With Dick Leitsch's replacement as president of Mattachine NY by "Michael Kotis" in April, 1970, opposition to the march by Mattachine ended.[14]

Brenda Howard is known as the "Mother of Pride", for her work in coordinating the march. Howard also originated the idea for a week-long series of events around Pride Day which became the genesis of the annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world every June.[15][16] Additionally, Howard along with fellow LGBT Activists Robert A. Martin (aka Donny the Punk) and L. Craig Schoonmaker are credited with popularizing the word "Pride" to describe these festivities.[17] As LGBT rights activist Tom Limoncelli put it, "The next time someone asks you why LGBT Pride marches exist or why [LGBT] Pride Month is June tell them 'A bisexual woman named Brenda Howard thought it should be.'" [18]

There was little open animosity, and some bystanders applauded when a tall, pretty girl carrying a sign "I am a Lesbian" walked by. The New York Times coverage of Gay Liberation Day, 1970[19]

Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with an assembly on Christopher Street and the first LGBT Pride march in U.S. history, covering the 51 blocks to Central Park. The march took less than half the scheduled time due to excitement, but also due to wariness about walking through the city with gay banners and signs. Although the parade permit was delivered only two hours before the start of the march, the marchers encountered little resistance from onlookers.[20] The New York Times reported (on the front page) that the marchers took up the entire street for about 15 city blocks.[19] Reporting by The Village Voice was positive, describing "the out-front resistance that grew out of the police raid on the Stonewall Inn one year ago".[21]

Since 1984, Heritage of Pride (HOP) has been the producer and organizer of Pride Events in New York City.[2]

In 2015 J. Christopher Neal became the first openly bisexual New York City LGBT Pride March Grand Marshal.[22]

Heritage of Pride

Main article: Heritage of Pride

The parade's organizer, Heritage of Pride (HOP), is a wholly volunteer-managed, non-partisan, tax-exempt, non-profit organization that organizes LGBT pride events in New York City to commemorate the Stonewall riots. HOP is one of the few LGBT organizations that is run at the grass-roots level. HOP welcomes the participation of all, regardless of age, creed, gender, gender identification, HIV status, national origin, physical, mental or developmental ability, race, or religion.

Grand Marshals of the NYC LGBT Pride March








2009 - Stonewall 40

2009 marked the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City. Accordingly, HOP in conjunction with NYC local government promoted the event for people from around the world to attend. Grand Marshals that year were:


Notable performers

See also


  1. Stryker, Susan. "Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day: 1970". PlanetOut. Archived from the original on 31 March 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
  2. 1 2 "About Heritage Of Pride". Nyc Pride. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  3. Sargeant, Fred. "1970: A First-Person Account of the First Gay Pride March." The Village Voice. June 22, 2010. retrieved January 3, 2011.
  4. 1 2 Carter, p. 230
  5. Marotta, pp. 164–165
  6. Teal, pp. 322–323
  7. Duberman, pp. 255, 262, 270–280
  8. Duberman, p. 227
  9. Nagourney, Adam. "For Gays, a Party In Search of a Purpose; At 30, Parade Has Gone Mainstream As Movement's Goals Have Drifte." New York Times. June 25, 2000. retrieved January 3, 2011.
  10. Carter, p. 247
  11. Teal, p. 323
  12. Duberman, p. 271
  13. Duberman, p. 272
  14. Duberman, p. 314 n93
  15. "Channel 13/WNET Out! 2007: Women In the Movement". Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  16. The Gay Pride Issue: Picking Apart The Origin of Pride Archived February 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. Dynes, Wayne R. Pride (trope), Homolexis
  19. 1 2 Fosburgh, Lacey (June 29, 1970). "Thousands of Homosexuals Hold A Protest Rally in Central Park", The New York Times, p. 1.
  20. Clendinen, p. 62–64.
  21. LaFrank, Kathleen (ed.) (January 1999). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Stonewall", U.S. Department of the Interior: National Park Service.
  22. 1 2 "From Brenda Howard to J. Christopher Neal: Bisexual Leaders and Pride | Human Rights Campaign". 2015-06-30. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  23. "The March - NYC Pride". Retrieved 2016-06-27.
  24. "Opinion: My late wife is thanking you, too". Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  25. "Heritage of Pride announces Grand Marshals for the 43rd annual LGBT Pride March" (PDF). March 14, 2012.
  26. "Judy Shepard to Make final official Pride Appearance & Serve as Grand Marshal of the 41st Annual NYC LGBT Pride March" (PDF). April 2011.
  27. Bolcer, Julie (2010-04-13). "McMillen Named NYC Gay Pride Grand Marshal". Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  28. "Senator Charles Schumer Marches in NY Gay Pride Parade | PressPhoto International". 2008-06-29. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  29. Celebrating Gay Pride and Its Albany Friend

External links

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