BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
The national LGBT Pride Month is a few weeks away, but Queens got a head start on the festivities, kicking off Queens Pride Month on Monday at the Queens Center Mall with awards, live performances and dancing—lots of dancing.
Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) joined with Flushing Town Hall and the Queens Center Mall for the launch of the second annual Queens Pride season. The event featured performances by poet Davidson Garrett, international contemporary dancer Xiang Xu and R&B vocalist Alfa Anderson, all of whom were curated by Flushing Town Hall.
“We are incredibly honored to help Council Member Dromm celebrate the legacy of pride in Queens,” said Ellen Kodadek, the executive and artistic director of Flushing Town Hall. “At Flushing Town Hall, we are committed to representing and celebrating all the diverse voices that make up our community—the spirit of inclusivity that Queens Pride represents is also core to our own mission.”
The event was held on the second level of the mall, in between Armani Exchange and Pretzelmaker. However, the music from the event could be heard throughout the shopping center. The upbeat pop music drew numerous families, who were forced to stop and watch the performances as their children were overcome with the urge to dance.
Amid the performances, Dromm provided awards to Richard K. Leiberman, the LaGuardia & Wagner Archives director for Drag Queen Story Hour; and Queens Pride co-chairwomen Tina Arniotis and Monique “Mo” George for their contributions to the LGBTQ rights movement. Journalist Mark Lord was acknowledged by Dromm for writing stories on LGBTQ activists and the LGBTQ movement.
“This year’s honorees have all opened hearts and minds across Queens in their own special and unique ways,” said Dromm. “It was a pleasure to recognize their work publicly.”
During his introduction, Dromm noted how large and vibrant the LGBTQ community is in the borough. He added that Queens Pride was created because Manhattan had long been considered the only borough affiliated with LGBTQ people due to the West Village’s history, which includes the Stonewall Inn, a National Historic Landmark.
Dromm said he believed that it was important for Queens’ LGBTQ population to have their own Pride Month celebration.
“Queens Center was pleased to be the venue for Council Member Dromm’s celebration of LGBTQ pride,” said John Scaturro, the senior marketing manager for Queens Center Mall. “What a wonderful opportunity to share in the pride of our entire community and how far we have come. Celebrating LGBTQ Pride in such a public space is testament to that progress. And so we are proud to partner with Council Member Dromm as part of our mission to be an active corporate participant in our local community.”
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.