June is Gay Pride Month, marking the time when LGBTQ communities gather to celebrate their rights and liberties. The month and parades honor the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York City that triggered modern gay activism. The term LGBT is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, though it's sometimes extended to include queer, intersex and asexual groups as well.
Pride celebrations have become a place where many people in the community come to voice their opinions and concerns. That's especially true this year with the rise of Black Lives Matter and other social movements that are challenging some of the gains the community has made.
The change has led to tense confrontations between organizers who want to celebrate and those who think the political situation is so dire that the celebration needs to be recast as an old-fashioned protest march. The change has also led to some organizations opting to hold multiple events instead of one big Pride week.
This year, the NYC Pride Parade will be televised on a major network for the first time. That fulfills a longtime goal of Craig Rodwell, who founded the first Pride parade in 1970 to commemorate the Stonewall uprising. His vision was that the parade would make homosexual people visible to a wider audience and help them realize the power of their numbers.
The event opens with a Pride weekend kick-off party that will feature music from Tiffany, Ultra Nate and CupcakKe at a rooftop pool sponsored by VIDA Vodka, El Buho Mezcal and Heineken Light. The parade is on June 25 and features more than 80 floats.