Guest Post by Simeon Mishev
Queens Pride & Multicultural Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary last Sunday, June 3rd, 2012. This year the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center was honored to participate, share its support for the community and commemorate this special occasion in Queens. A number of participants and over 40,000 spectators gathered in Jackson Heights, Queens, between the hours of 11 AM and 6 PM to “promote awareness and education among and of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning community of Queens, New York.” Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee, Inc. has been in charge of organizing the festivities since the very first Pride march in the early 90s.
The weather was in sync with the overall joyous feel of the event, the warm summer sun made the colorful costumes even more vibrant and, at some point, a real rainbow formed over the marching participators (if one believes in signs from Mother Nature, God and/or the Universe, well, here you go).
Newlywed City Council speaker Christine Quinn joined the Pride march alongside Public Advocate Bill De Blasio, New York Assembly Members Francisco Moya, Aravella Simotas and Costa Constantinides, SAGE Queens, Renaissance Charter School, American Veterans for Equal Rights, Metropolitan Community Church of New York, Queens Pride Lions Club, Transsexuals New York, and many, many more.
As rainbow flags, music and free condoms flooded the streets, people of various colors, ethnicities, races, religions and faiths mingled, hugged, kissed, and greeted each other; the feeling of happiness and joy was overwhelming. One could hear discussions about President Obama’s recent statement endorsing same-sex marriage and how that might help eventually end the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); there were a number of bi-national couples full of hope that once married they will be able to stay together in the US legally.
While walking around and enjoying this judgment-free, accepting and tolerant environment, I couldn’t help but wonder when every day would feel just like Pride day. When will same-sex couples be able to walk hand-in-hand without fear?
It is of utmost importance to actively participate in advocacy efforts concerning the LGBT community; every effort counts. We must be patient, yet persistent, relentlessly seeking equal rights. There are a number of organizations one can join, such as The LGBT Center, It Gets Better Project, Empire State Pride Agenda, Marriage Equality New York, etc., or why not start one yourself?
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much…” – Helen Keller