It has been 25 years since Councilman Danny Dromm—at the time, an openly gay public school teacher—founded the Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Festival as a means of notifying borough residents that LGBT people were their family, friends and neighbors.
The parade’s formation was also a response to School District 24 President Mary Cummins’ refusal to adopt a Board of Education curriculum that encouraged students to be accepting of LGBT people.
In the years since the parade first marched through the diverse neighborhood of Jackson Heights, it has grown to become the second-largest of its type in the city and annually draws approximately 40,000 people.
Dromm should be commended for launching and continuing to remain active in the parade, which has gone on to become a huge annual event in Jackson Heights. And the parade’s organizers should be celebrated for continuing to combine the march’s empowering message with a great roster of entertainers, vendors, informational booths, food and other festivities.
In May, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on “religious liberty” that many LGBT activists have said could enable anti-LGBT discrimination. And Dromm has pointed out that two pieces of important human rights legislation—the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and a bill to ban “conversion therapy,” which involves treatments to change one’s sexual orientation from gay to straight—have long gone unaddressed in Albany.
So, standing alongside Queens’ LGBT community is now more important than ever. Queens is often hailed for its diversity, and the parade is a great example of this as it is held in a neighborhood that has one of the borough’s largest LGBT communities and is among its most ethnically diverse.
June is nationally recognized as LGBT Pride Month. Attending the Queens Pride Parade—at 2 p.m. on June 4 at 37th Avenue and 89th Street in Jackson Heights—would be a fun way to show your support.