A record number of participants overtook Manhattan as the annual Gay Pride Rally and Drag March celebrated Pride. The number is said to be tens of thousands. Part of the overwhelming number has to do with historic and iconic Stonewall Inn being named a national monument by President Obama. The national monument will include the tavern, Christopher Park, and the surrounding streets where people rioted in 1969.With the massacre of 49 innocent lives at the gay club Pulse in Orlando President Obama announced Friday he was designating the area around the Stonewall Inn as the country’s first national monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. Obama stated in a video “I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country — the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us, that we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.”
People dressed in drag saw the march as especially important this year because gay mecca Stonewall Inn was declared a national monument. The march, started in Tompkins Square Park, and ended at the Stonewall Inn.The owner of Pulse, Barbara Poma, and the club’s entertainment manager, Neema Bahrami, were honored guests at the rally. “I’m here today because I want you to know that Orlando and the world’s gay community are strong and united,” said Ms Poma. “We will not allow evil to prevail.” Marchers wore orange bandanas as they enter the event to show solidarity with the Pulse victims and their families and the movement to end gun violence. There was a moment of silence as the names of all 49 victims flashed on a screen.
The video announcement of Obama, along with interviews with gay rights activists and footage from the uprising, will play on the billboards in Times Square on Saturday at noon.
Sunday’s parade, which starts at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue and ends at Christopher and Greenwich streets, is expected to bring more than 1.6 million people to attend the Manhattan parade, with 20,000 participants and 85 floats.