New York City's LGBT Pride March (which commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots) is one of New York City's largest annual events—and the largest Pride parade in the world.Millions of spectators line Fifth Avenue to watch more than 300 marching groups and 50 colorful floats make their way over the lavender line painted down the middle of the street. Pride Weekend's big event is part civil-rights march, part party and all exciting. People who act too cynical to enjoy it are either lying, or joyless.
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Each year, March producer Heritage of Pride names notable LGBT folks (or their allies) as grand marshals. Past honorees include DOMA overturner Edith Windsor, "It Gets Better" creator Dan Savage and DADT fighter Lt. Dan Choi. Yesterday, HOP announced that actors Laverne Cox and Jonathan Groff, and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director Rea Carey will join their ranks at the 44th annual celebration.
Rising Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox has used her suddenly impressive platform to raise awareness about issues facing trans people, including a notorious appearance on The Katie Couric Show, in which she politely but firmly schooled the host—who was fishing for lurid surgery details—on the dangers and challenges faced by trans people, especially women of color. (She let Couric's unfortunate "you're so well-spoken!" response slide.) OITNB returns to Netflix on June 6.
New Yorkers first met Jonathan Groff when in the original production of the musicalSpring Awakening. Since then, the actor has hit the national stage, appearing in Glee,voicing the romantic lead in the animated hit Frozen and portraying two very different, complex gay characters onscreen: a young David Sedaris in the 2013 indie film C.O.G.,and video-game designer Patrick in HBO's polarizing hit Looking. In May, you can see him in that network's adaptation of Larry Kramer's seminal drama The Normal Heart.
Washington, D.C.–based activist Rea Carey joined the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in 2004, and has served as its executive director since 2008. Under her tenure, the grassroots nonprofit has played a major role in several key areas, including the passage of federal LGBT-inclusive hate-crime prevention laws and getting the U.S. Census to count married same-sex couples in 2010, as well as releasing the largest-ever study on transgender discrimination in the U.S.
This year's choices are commendable: The trio is younger and more high-profile than many recent Pride marshals, and they represent three of the four letters in the LGBT acronym (frequently we only get two). As a bonus, Cox and Groff even have strong ties to NYC—which is surprisingly not a prerequisite for being a marshal in our Pride March.
Keep an eye out for them, waving from the back of convertibles, when the March hits the streets June 29.