By Bruce Poli
In April of 2007 (16 years ago)—five of us at NYC Pride got together to plan what we called the Stonewall 50 celebration, better known today as WorldPride.
In June 2019, after decades of planning, navigation, endless ‘PR’ and great hope, it became the biggest event in New York City’s history with more than five million attending from all over the world. I sat next to Uganda’s LGBT leader, watching Cyndi Lauper come out of a huge, constructed Faberge egg on stage at the Barclays Center’s WP Grand opening. Kasha was one of our Grand Marshals in 2014 just as Edie Windsor and Harry Belafonte had been the year before. Yes, Edie Windsor—for whom Roberta Kaplan had been her lawyer on the marriage equality case Windsor vs. U.S.
This was huge.
The gay rights movement, which became universally known as LGBTQ+ had risen to world power and influence, the likes of which was never anticipated.
What a long, strange trip it’s been…
Just try telling that to GenZ for whom the name Edie Windsor may or may not even be known.
As our country moves into increasingly unknown and dangerous territory, so do the civil rights of lesbians, gays and other gender-preference descriptions, as they fall into the rabbit hole of discrimination and hatred.
I call it ‘going from RBG to MTG …’
Pride is a feeling and a force, and for someone “straight” like me it means yielding to compassion for those who are quite different from my own feelings. Is this not the central issue, the glue that holds the ‘United States’ together? Do we not all have pride in who we are?
Do we not all have a sense of community in our own way?
So, as we celebrate Pride 2023—after three years of a horrible, isolating pandemic, for which there was NO Pride march in 2020 and a small Pride gathering in March of 2021—there is a lot for us to ponder.
It’s all come down metaphorically to this: Don’t Say Gay versus Do Say Gay. It’s a black and white choice (talk about civil rights). And we know on which side the West Village stands…after all, it all started here on June 28, 1969.
Human Rights Matter.
We must never forget it.