Shows Unity In Parade
out your rainbow gear, the Queens Pride Parade
is coming to Jackson Heights
By Noah C. Zuss
16th Annual Queens Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Pride Parade and Festival will take
place June 1.
This year's theme of "Live, Love, Be" will celebrate
the diversity and mutual respect of the borough
The parade, organized by The Queens Lesbian Gay
Pride Committee is Queens' largest multi-service
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights
rainbow banner is laid out at the start
of last year's Queens Pride Parade
mission of QLGPC is to disseminate information
about, and foster knowledge and understanding
of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
They seek to "educate the public about the history
of LGBT rights and create and support activities
commemorating events of importance within the
Their assembly of Queens' annual Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Parade and Multicultural
Festival is the group's primary organizing effort.
This year's parade is expected to draw upwards
of 40,000 participants.
New York State Assembly Member Jose Peralta (D-Jackson
Heights), City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez (D- Manhattan)
and Richard Burns, executive director of the Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Services
Center, have been named grand marshals and will
lead the annual pride parade and festival in Jackson
Heights - one of Queens' most diverse neighborhoods.
Daniel Dromm, co-organizer and community district
leader is proud to bring the event to Queens.
"I think the parade being in Queens is particularly
significant because it brings home the message
that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people
are your friends, family and neighbors," Dromm
said. "And when the parade started we wanted to
put a face on the tens of thousands of Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in Queens.
If you come to the parade you can see the diversity
of those faces. I think that's what makes it unique."
The parade kicks off noon at 89th Street and proceeds
down 37th Avenue to 75th Street where it disperses
into the festival.
The festival runs from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. and
is held on 37th Road between 73rd and 77th Streets.
At the festival three stages will be set up for
performers. Highlighting this year's guests will
be American Music Award winner and multi-Platinum
recording artist Randy Jones, the original Village
There will also be a youth pride section at the
Assemblyman Peralta, Councilwoman Mendez and Burns
were tapped to lead the parade because all have
been outspoken advocates of equal rights and same
"We are extremely pleased that Assemblymember
Jose Peralta and Councilmember Mendez are serving
as our Grand Marshals," said Hank Krumholz, co-chairman
of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee.
"Assemblymember Peralta and Councilmember Mendez
have been long time supporters of the LGBT communities
and of marriage equality."
Particularly noteworthy is Councilwoman Mendez.
She is a progressive, out lesbian member of the
parade expects to draw near 30,000 to Jackson
Heights this Sunday.
Also being honored this year as a Grand Marshal
is Burns, executive director of the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender Community Services Center
The Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary
and Queens Pride chose to honor Burns because
of his leadership throughout the years.
"All of our honorees are leaders in the fight
to secure equal rights for LGBT people," said
Dromm. "Among those rights is the right to marry.
LGBT people are demanding the same rights as non-gay
This year's celebration is expected to attract
the largest crowd ever. More than 30,000 people
attended last year's event.
The event is quite inclusive as organizers invite
both gay and non-gay groups to march and stress
that no group is too small or too large to march.
Seventy-five groups registered in last year's
parade and more than 100 vendors set up booths
and tables at the festival.
The parade and festival were originally conceived
in 1993 as a response to the homophobic attitudes
Since then the Queens parade has become a wonderful
mixture of party and politics welcomed by the
Jackson Heights community.
Also of note is the multicultural mixture of the
parade attendees. Parents bring children in strollers
to view the glamorous drag queens and colorful
floats involved in the event.
The Queens celebration is first in a series of
very special events that kick off a month of Pride
activities citywide. Also included in this month's
activities are a LGBT celebration at the Queens
Museum of Art and the Queens Borough President's
LGBT Pride celebration at Queens Borough Hall
on June 24.
The Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee is
the borough's largest LGBT organization. This
program is funded, in part, by a grant from the
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.
The QLGPC also receives much funding from elected
officials, including Queens Borough President
Helen Marshall, to provide direct social services
to the LGBT communities in Queens, the "Borough