The Empire State Building is multi-colored and the Foreskin activists are on their way, which means Pride Weekend is really here. Lady Gaga kicked things off in stirring fashion last night at Pier 26 by singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and giving an emotional speech while carrying a rainbow flag: "We are not a niche. We are a part, a big giant part of humanity," Gaga said. "It's time for us to be mainstream. I demand the rights! To safe streets!"

Gaga, who was making her first public appearance since she was forced to cancel her "Born This Way' tour due to a hip injury, recounted feeling like an outcast in high school, and how the LGBT community embraced her: "There was a particular crowd who did accept me," she continued. "There was a particular crowd who made room for me at their table, who held me up when I felt I couldn't, who loved me for exactly who I was. It was you. You saved me, my friends in the LGBT community, time and time again. And I saw God for the first real time in all of you."

She also referred to the string of hate crimes against gay people that hit NYC over the last two months: "The violence that has taken place towards LGBTs in the past months is unacceptable here and anywhere," the singer added.