Pride parades are expected to attract millions of attendees this year, and are gaining more and more recognition as becoming a worldly event. With festivals taking place in Ireland, Peru, Israel, Spain, France, Mexico and nationwide in the US, celebrating gay rights and demonstrating gay rights activism is more important than ever. In 1969, Linda Rhodes, Ellen Broidy and partners Craig Rofdwell and Fred Sargeant proposed the first gay pride march from New York City all the way to Philadelphia. Today, millions of people in the LGBT community celebrate gay pride week on a global scale, and this year’s parades are a special cause for celebration.
The 2014 pride parades and festivals commemorate the first year that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriages, and now a grand total of 19 states have marriage rights for same- sex couples. Equality is taking over and reaching the far corners of the world.
Recently, pride parades have become global events and have taken place in countries like Israel where political unrest is prevalent, and gay rights are ignored or flat-out denied. Tel Aviv, Israel hosted the only Mid-East pride parade, and 2014 marks the very first year that the Jewish Agency marched in the parade and hoisted their own banner in honor of gay pride and gay rights. Having the Jewish Agengy march this year is quite compelling for gay activism around the world, because it shows that even in countries of political unrest, LGBTs have gained recognition and are celebrating. The parade was sponsored by Israel’s LGBT group and political movement, “Coming Out, Coming Home”, which provides support, networking and something familiar for natives of the country and immigrants in the Israelite LGBT community. These people are often outcasted, and the Coming Out, Coming Home group offers LGBT people in Israel a sense of belonging. The goal is to eventually attract similar groups from around Israel to celebrate LGBT and partake in the pride parade festivities. The more Isrealite groups that come together for gay pride, the more gay activism can be spread in the Mid-East and other countries where LGBT is not widely accepted.
In addition to pride parades becoming worldly events and taking place in unexpected countries, there is increased diversity among long-standing the parades taking place here in the United States. Thirty years ago there were demonstrations against homosexuals being allowed work for the fire department; 15 years later, an active-duty firefighter marched in New York City’s parade for the very first time, and because firefighters are known for their masculinity, many were still shocked. Now people from all walks of life gather to stand up for gay rights and march in the pride parades such as NBA player Jason Collins, who marched in Boston’s parade last year. Pride celebrations are accepting of everyone and all those who show support for the LGBT community. The increased diversity of the parades in the United States and the growing number of global pride parades and festivities taking place are becoming more widely accepted, and consequently increasing world-wide acceptance of LGBT couples.
By Sarah Gallagher