Thousands march in the streets of New York for WorldPride

By Harmeet Kaur and Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

Updated 9:21 p.m. ET, June 30, 2019
11 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:32 p.m. ET, June 30, 2019

Late transgender icons honored as grand marshals

The late pioneering transgender icons Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are being honored as grand marshals of the parade.

Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were good friends who played a key role in the Stonewall uprising in 1969.

"We were ... throwing over cars and and screaming in the middle of the street 'cause we were so upset 'cause they closed that place," Johnson told historian Eric Marcus in a 1989 interview that's now been compiled into an episode for the "Making Gay History" podcast.

The two emerged from the clashes as leaders of the gay liberation movement, and helped found the group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), which offered housing to homeless and transgender youth.

Johnson's dead body was found floating in the Hudson River in July 1992. Rivera died in 2002 of complications from liver cancer.

Sylvia Rivera, left, and Marsha P. Johnson, second from left, at a protest in New York City in 1973.
Sylvia Rivera, left, and Marsha P. Johnson, second from left, at a protest in New York City in 1973.

12:49 p.m. ET, June 30, 2019

Versace is vying for the most stylish float

Look close and you'll see Italian fashion designer and icon Donatella Versace.

Versace's float is an homage to the Stonewall Inn, complete with a red brick side and a photo of the bar's sign as a back drop.

The red and white side of the float reads, "Where Pride began."

11:57 a.m. ET, June 30, 2019

This couple says they feel validated by police support

From CNN's Emanuella Grinberg

As crowds gather on the sidewalks of Midtown Manhattan and parade participants clamber up on floats, Stephanni Morton and her wife pose for a photo in front of an NYPD vehicle.

“To see the police support gay pride is important because we need to be validated,” said Morton, who traveled from Florida with her wife for WorldPride.
4:06 p.m. ET, June 30, 2019

'Pose' star Indya Moore: 'Love us when we're under attack'

From CNN's Emanuella Grinberg

At a press conference before the parade, “Pose” star Indya Moore urged the crowd to not let the rainbow flags along the parade route distract from the issues facing the transgender community, such as poverty, discrimination and tension with and distrust of law enforcement.

Moore has spoken of the similarities they share with their character, Angel, a transgender sex worker who is a member of one of New York’s drag houses. Moore was a friend of Layleen Polanco, a transgender woman who died in police custody on Riker’s Island. Moore called on organizers of World Pride to incorporate more private security in consideration of those who have had negative encounters with law enforcement because of their identity.

Moore also called on major LGBTQ advocacy groups to do more to integrate the transgender community and people of color into leadership roles and their agendas.

They also urged the public to support the transgender community outside of Pride month.

“That’s when we need you the most,” Moore said. “Love us when we’re under attack.”
12:06 p.m. ET, June 30, 2019

An alternative rally to the WorldPride celebration is also taking place

Photographer Amy Lombard captured this scene today from the Queer Liberation March and Rally, an alternative march for those who believe pride has become too frivolous and commercial.

The Reclaim Pride Coalition calls the rally a "people’s political march," which has no corporate floats and no police presence.

The rally takes on the tone of the first pride march, which was held one year after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. LGBTQ people in New York gathered in 1970 commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising -- and to fight for their rights.

"The gay pride parade wasn't a parade," Maria-Elena Grant told CNN. "It was a march, it was like a civil disobedience, it was a demonstration. It wasn't like having a fancy corporate float and all this money ... It was a civil rights action."

11:58 a.m. ET, June 30, 2019

It's also been 20 years since the transgender pride flag was created

From CNN's Emanuella Grinberg

This year marks not only the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, but also the 20th anniversary of the creation of the transgender pride flag. The creator of the flag, Monica Helms, is one of the parade's grand marshals.

At a press conference Sunday, she expressed gratitude for the chance to celebrate her legacy at WorldPride. But the transgender community remains vulnerable, she said.

“It’s been a struggle for transgender people, a long struggle.”

Monica Helms, creator of the transgender pride flag, hugs another participant at the Pride march.
Monica Helms, creator of the transgender pride flag, hugs another participant at the Pride march.

11:19 a.m. ET, June 30, 2019

What else is going on for WorldPride this weekend?

New York has been host to a number of events and celebrations leading up to today's march.

On Friday, there was a rally to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and to continue the fight for equal rights today. The event was a tribute to the first New York Pride rally, which took place a month after the Stonewall riots in 1969.

Mayor Bill de Blasio declared June 28 Stonewall Day, and participants performed a solemn tribute to the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Among the other happenings this weekend were Youth Pride and Pride Island, a three-day outdoor music festival featuring performances by Grace Jones, Teyana Taylor and more.

10:42 a.m. ET, June 30, 2019

Who's going to be there

Mayor Bill de Blasio waves to the crowd during the 2018 Pride March in New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio waves to the crowd during the 2018 Pride March in New York City.

Last year's march in New York City featured more than 550 groups and more than 100 floats.

Expect that number to be even larger this year, with participation from community organizations, corporate sponsors, political candidates, activists and more. Organizers say 74% of the groups marching are nonprofit organizations.

These are some noteworthy names to watch for.

  • The Gay Liberation Front, the original warriors for LGBTQ rights who first organized after the Stonewall riots
  • The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization focused on suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth
  • The cast of "Pose," the TV series about New York City's LGBTQ ballroom culture in the 1980s and 1990s
  • Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, the co-founder and director of UK Black Pride
  • Monica Helms, a transgender activist, author and US Navy veteran. She also created the Transgender Pride Flag.
11:13 a.m. ET, June 30, 2019

Here's the route for the march

The march kicks off at noon from Madison Square Park at 26th Street and Fifth Avenue, and organizers expect about 115,000 people to attend.

The parade will pass two important landmarks:

  • The Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 uprising that saw the LGBTQ community fight back against NYPD officers who routinely raided the bar in Greenwich Village.
  • The New York City AIDS Memorial, a tribute to the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who have died from AIDS.

Marchers will head south on Fifth Avenue until they hit Eighth Street. They'll head west on Eighth Street and cross onto Christopher Street before heading north on Seventh Avenue. Here's a map: