It's time to dust off your rainbow gear and head over to one of the multiple Pride marches and other LGBT festivities happening this summer. There are stacks of events to enjoy all summer long; cabaret fans can soak up the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, and for those who just want to boogie down, head out to dance on the pier at pier 26.
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Originally spawned by outrage over the murder of Jackson Heights resident Julio Rivera, the Pride celebration in the most diverse borough has become one of the city's most festive and highly attended LGBT events, drawing more than 40,000 revelers. This year's grand marshals are the LGBT Caucus of the NYC Council, Stonewall Democrats president Melissa Sklarz and members of the Caribbean gay-advocacy group Chutney Pride.
This annual fund-raiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the unofficial kickoffs to Gay Pride Week in NYC, and features more than 150 dancers from the Great White Way stripping down in themed vignettes. This edition, titled "Rock Hard," is all about rock & roll's greatest hits.
Before the glittery spectacle of the LGBT Pride March and the rest of the Gay Pride Weekend festivities, get pumped up…with a glittery spectacle! This official Gay Pride Weekend opening event started as a "gay power" demonstration with 500 protestors in Washington Square Park, a month after the 1969 Stonewall riots, considered the dawn of the modern gay-rights movement. Since then the Rally has jumped locations all over town, including incarnations in Central Park and East River Park. Big-name performers often take the stage—Lady Gaga performed in 2013—while local politicians, comedians, and other members of the LGBT community offer both serious and silly takes on Pride themes. For newcomers and longtime Pride celebrants alike, the Pride Kickoff Rally serves as both a party starter and a reminder that it's not all about partying.
This annual event to raise awareness about women's and trans rights isn't exactly the glittery spectacle you'll get at tomorrow's Pride March, but it's still one of Pride Week's most essential events. BYO signs and banners, and keep in mind that the Dyke March doesn't have a permit—it's a protest, not a parade—so be prepared for possible interference from the fuzz. The march itself is open to all dykes and self-identified women. All other supporters are encouraged to cheer from the sidelines.
Heritage of Pride's official Pride Weekend capper is back where it belongs—under the stars, with the skyline glowing to the east and the Hudson shimmering to the west. Coheadlining DJs Grind and Pagano provide big beats sure to keep the huge crowd moving. There's always a variety of live performers—last year, dance diva Deborah Cox and cultural institution Cher took the stage; this year's performers are TBA, and don't rule out a last-minute surprise (Jennifer Lopez and Whitney Houston are among the megastars who have dropped by with no advance fanfare). As the dance starts to wind down, cast your eyes to the sky for a fireworks display; for those who don't have to get up early tomorrow, that's your cue to move on and continue the party all over the city well into the night. You'll have no shortage of options.
While it's not really offensive to call the NYC Pride March a parade, it's also technically incorrect. The event—which first happened in 1970, marking the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising—is a march for civil rights, not a celebratory parade. But that doesn't mean it isn't fun! Every year, more than a million spectators line Fifth Avenue to take in outlandish costumes, elaborate floats and eye-popping performances. Groups representing the five boroughs and beyond include everything from churches and support groups to social organizations and politicians eager to get out the gay vote. March begins at Fifth Ave and 36th St and proceeds south to the reviewing stand at Fifth Ave and 8th St before turning west down Christopher St to Greenwich St.