The largest LGBTQ celebration in the world marked its 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots with a massive parade on Sunday 30 June. New York City, the home of LGBTQ Pride, saw around 150,000 exuberant people wave rainbow flags as they marched down midtown Manhattan and paid tribute to
the uprising of gay patrons that resisted officers at a bar on June 28, 1969.
With an estimation of 3 million people that visited the city as part of the historic event, late transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were honoured for their role in the Stonewall Riots. While the stars of the T.V show Pose served as grand marshals of the parade.
Further marking the event as historic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill during the march that bans ‘gay and trans panic’ defences in murder cases. Under the new law, attacks on LGBTQ people can no longer justify their violence with the argument it was sparked by a fear of the other person’s
sexuality or gender identity.
“This defence strategy isn’t just offensive – it also sends a dangerous message that violence toward LGBTQ people is somehow Okay,” said Cuomo.
“It’s not, and today we’re sending this noxious legal tool to the dustbin of history where it belongs”.
South African, Cobus Benade, travelled to New York City for WorldPride, and had said that “it was the most amazing experience of my life”.
“I got to be part of the Stonewall 50 celebrations. I got to see and feel the energy of our community 50 years after the gay rights movement was sparked. A few people said to me that they shed a few tears along the way. At the same time to see so many people from all over the world was so humbling,” he
Benade added that he was given a glimpse of where South Africa could be. “The level of corporate involvement is insane here. There were groups for dozens of major companies. All their LGBTQ+ staff marched on behalf of the company”.