BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Kicking off New York City’s pride month is the 24th Annual Queens Pride Parade, which will take place in not only the heart of Queens but in the most diverse area of Queens- Jackson Heights.
Every June, NYC celebrates the acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community with parades, festivals and parties that bring this vibrant community’s heritage to life.
This year’s theme is “Pride Unites Us!”
“Over the years the parade and festival have grown and evolved to where today, we help to connect people within the community to various equality, social justice, health and educational organizations,” reads the Queens Pride database. “With this outreach, the benefits are immeasurable in the many ways people have been helped to be themselves and live better lives.”
It was recently announced in a press release that the AIDS Center of Queens County, Jessica Stern of OutRight Action International and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhurst) will serve as Grand Marshals at the parade.
“As a council member representing a growing Translatina community in Queens, it is my pleasure and my honor to serve as a grand marshal for the 24th Queens Pride Parade and be an up stander against violence and discrimination towards the LGBTQ community,” Ferreras-Copeland said. “This is a celebration of our human rights, it represents our unity as a community and sends a clear message that every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individual has a place to live and love here.”
In 1993, Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) founded the Queens Pride Parade following School District 24 President, Mary Cummins’ refusal to adopt Board of Education curriculum that encourages students to be accepting of gay people.
“Participating in the Queens Pride Parade sends a loud and clear message to everyone, everywhere: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are your family, friends and neighbors,” said Dromm. “This year’s grand marshals have done so much to proclaim this message and have improved the lives of LGBT residents across the borough. I am proud of these leaders and what they have accomplished, and look forward to marching down 37th Avenue with them in June.”
Dromm came out as an openly gay public school teacher in 1992 and served as a former co-chair of Queens Pride.
“The Queens LGBT Pride Parade continues to spread the empowering message that we in the LGBT community are your family, friends and neighbors,” Dromm said. “For 24 years, this parade has opened the hearts and minds of Queens residents and has made the historic gains the LGBT has seen over the past several years possible.”
Queens Pride promotes the awareness and education among the LGBT community of Queens.
The parade will kick-off at noon, starting on 37th Avenue and 89th street, and will end on 75th street, which is where the Festival will take place. The festival will begin at 1:30 p.m. and is estimated to end at 6 p.m.
The festival will consist of Queens Pride and Club Evolution stages with entertainment, vendors and food. There will also be informative business, community and social group booths located throughout the festival site.
The festival stages will be filled with talent that reflects the diversity of the community, such as singers, comedians, drag acts, dance groups, and more.
Headlining the festival is Crystal Waters, 20-year American house music singer and songwriter, best known for 1990s dance hits, “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” and “100 percent Pure Love,” which caused the dance community to embrace her music.
Today, her commitment to the dance community keeps her on the charts with her unique sound.
“We are excited to have Crystal Waters share her talents with us at Queens Pride” Co-chair of Queens Pride, Andrew Ronan said in a press release.
Since the first Queens Pride Parade was held in 1993, it has grown to over 40,000 spectators and is now the second largest pride celebration in the NY metropolitan area.
For more information on the parade this Sunday, visit queenspride.org.
Reach Reporter Ariel Hernandez at 718-357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org