NYC LGBTQ Pride March canceled for first time in half-century

A year after blockbuster Pride50 celebrations filled New York City with millions of revelers, the streets of Manhattan will be quiet during the last weekend of June.
Image: Revelers dance during New York's Pride March on June 30.
Revelers dance during New York's Pride March on June 30, 2019.Jeenah Moon / Reuters file
By Tim Fitzsimons

The NYC Pride March has been canceled for the first time in its half-century history, along with all in-person events leading up to the annual June event, which draws millions of participants and revelers every year.

Heritage of Pride, the organization that runs the march, made the announcement Monday, shortly after New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced the cancellation of permits for all large events for the month of June.

“This probably will not surprise you,” De Blasio said at a coronavirus briefing before announcing the cancellation of June's Celebrate Israel, Puerto Rican Day and LGBTQ pride parades. The mayor promised these events would go on in some format "when it's the right time."

"This year is the 50th anniversary of the pride parade, and it's a very, very big deal," De Blasio said in Monday's briefing. "That march is such an important part of life in this city, but this year in particular it was going to be something that was a historic moment."

The first pride march, in June 1970, honored the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising the year before, which helped sparked the modern LGBTQ rights movement. Last year's NYC Pride March on the 50th anniversary of the rebellion, #Stonewall50, drew an estimated 5 million people.

Instead of an in-person pride march this year, Heritage of Pride endorsed an effort led by InterPride, an international organization comprised of local, regional and national pride planning organizations, to hold a 24-hour virtual "Global Pride" event on June 27, to be broadcast around the world.

Ron deHarte, co-president of the United States Association of Prides and a member of the InterPride organizing committee, said "the plan is to have this 24-hour program that will be a worldwide celebration of pride."

"It will peak in time zones around the world, and in each of those time zones, those regional pride organizations and those local pride organizations will be directly involved in that programming component," deHarte said.

Cathy Renna, a representative of Heritage of Pride, suggested this year's events might resemble something like televised New Year's Eve celebrations, which cascade around the world's time zones.

Prior to New York City’s announcement on Monday, a number of other major cities across the U.S. had already announced they were canceling or postponing their pride events: Los Angeles postponed, San Francisco canceled and Seattle said it would “go virtual.” The European Pride Organisers Association has been maintaining an open source online count of pride events around the world that have either been canceled or postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

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