Yesterday was the 38th Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride March, and thousands of people participated - from shimmying and showing off their outrageous costumes to waving gay pride flags and hollering their support. The grand marshals of the parade were religious leaders Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and Reverend Dr. Troy Perry; Kleinbaum said, "We stand for a progressive religious voice. Those who use religion to advocate an anti-gay agenda I believe are blaspheming God’s name.”
However, Kleinbaum and Perry were upset that Mayor Bloomberg stuck to a script that Mayors Koch and Giuliani had followed at previous pride parades: Joining the parade after it passed St. Patrick's Cathedral. Perry said, "I think the mayor's making a mistake if he's going to run for president." Well, maybe, maybe not - as much as we'd like him to be proud about his views, he's not going to buck tradition now of all times. And given that NY State's Assembly has recently passed a gay marriage bill (though Senate support is doubtful), City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (who marched past St. Pat's) said, "All conventional wisdom in New York state on gay marriage is out the window. I think we are really doing better than anyone would ever have thought we could be doing on this."
And given the recent difficulty of getting permits for some large gatherings, I-Witness Video reveals something intriguing: The NYPD had "secretly" issued a parade permit to the Dyke March (held on Saturday), which the organizers did not know about! From I-Witness Video:
...Assistant Chief Thomas Graham, the commander of the Disorder Control Unit and the NYPD's expert on managing political demonstrations, says so in sworn testimony.
In a statement given under oath on March 23, 2005, then Inspector Thomas Graham, describes what he calls the "big secret." Here is an excerpt from the court transcript in which he is questioned by attorney James Meyerson:
Q: You issue permits at the scene?
A: We actually have issued permits on the street. And I'll give you the event. We used to have - it's the Dikes [sic] on Bikes. It used to be motorcycles and it's a gay women's march.
Q: Lesbians, yes.
A: I like gay women. If you like lesbians, we'll do lesbians.
A: Back on the ranch. They normally march down from Fifth Avenue, down Fifth Avenue from 62nd Street. They have believed for years that they have not had a permit.
Q: I'm sorry, they believed for years?
A: Most of them believe - 99 percent of them believe there's no permit for that event. But we always co-oped [sic] some of the leadership to cooperate with us. Sign a permit, have your march, leave one traffic lane open.
Graham implies it's a secret because most Dyke Marchers would want to participate in a non-legal march because that wouldn't be radical enough. Or something.
There are some awesome photographs of the Gay Pride Parade on Flickr: Check photographs from GOPster, Boss Tweed, and Ira Monko.
Top photograph from the Gay Pride Parade by GOPster on Flickr; lower photograph of the Dyke March by New York Daily Photo