45,000 Demand Queer Liberation in NYC
New York, NY – On Sunday, June 30, 45,000 marched in the alternative Pride in protest of the corporatized World Pride event happening at the same time. The rally and march were organized by the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which formed as a response to last year’s Manhattan Pride celebration.
Every year, the city of Manhattan hosts one of the largest Pride parades in the world. As Manhattan is the birthplace of Pride, it’s fitting that the city should celebrate the monumental event of the Stonewall riots. However, as decades pass, Pride has turned from a militant march to a corporate parade. Last year was exceptionally glaring, as all the activists and organizers were placed at the end of the parade to let the cops, banks, electoral candidates, etc. lead the parade. A few groups attempted to resist and protest at the Pride parade last year, but it was clear that what was once a space for queer people to fight back had been taken over by corporate interests.
Organizers stated, “The 2019 Queer Liberation March is a people’s political march – no corporate floats, and no police in our march. This is a truly grassroots action that will mobilize the community to address the many social and political battles that continue to be fought locally, nationally and globally. We recognize the powerful legacy of the Stonewall Rebellion by highlighting the most marginalized members of our community.”
The march kicked off at Sheridan Square, opposite the Stonewall Inn, and thousands marched uptown to Bryant Park, where they picked up several thousands more. The route followed the original route marched by the Gay Liberation Front on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riot.
Throughout the whole march, people chanted about everything from Palestine, Black Lives Matter, immigration, to anti-war and anti-cop. Whenever the marchers passed an anti-people establishment, such as Chik-Fil-A or a Trump building, they would rowdily chant at it.
The march was completely unpermitted with very few cops present. The march ended in Central Park on the Great Lawn. Everyone gathered to listen to speeches, music, and celebrate being queer and militant. The rally opened with living members of the Gay Liberation Front, many who had been at Stonewall on that fateful evening. Speeches talked about needing queer liberation alongside the liberation of Palestine, fighting for climate change, acknowledging that they were speaking on stolen land, and needing a revolution to fully be free. The messaging of the day was that we will not be free until all of us are.