Gay Pride Parade Unlike Any Other in NYC: We Can Marry Now

06/27/2011 02:54 pm ET | Updated Aug 27, 2011

A sea change in New York. Although I have attended the NYC Pride Parade since 1983 -- many as a marshal -- this one was different. As the lesbian on motorcycles thundered into view down Fifth Avenue I did something I had not done in 28 years. I burst into tears. After 28 years in New York City, I finally have the right to marry the man I love. Thank you, Andrew Cuomo.

2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_A.jpg Ladies first? Not sure why, but "dykes on bikes" always start our pride parades.

2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_B.jpg The Heritage of Pride Committee has run the parade brilliantly for almost 50 years.

2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_C.jpg Governor Andy Cuomo promised us he would usher in gay marriage. Promise kept. With him was Mayor Mike Bloomberg, NYC's Chris Quinn, and NYS's Tom Duane.

2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_D.jpg New Yorkers United for Marriage -- the grand coalition of activist organizations -- performed an unexpected miracle in Albany last week with the help of Republicans.



2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_G.jpg Corporate America was out in full strength -- including New York Life, Delta, MasterCard, Wells Fargo -- with their impressive carriage -- and a host of others.


2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_I.jpg One of my favorite groups -- Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps -- marched with pride.

2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_J.jpg Perennial good guy and senior U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer celebrated with us.

2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_K.jpg New York City's finest -- our police force -- honored us, as did our fire department.


2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_M.jpg Every great organization marches down Fifth Avenue to the applause of the crowds.


2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_O.jpg I actually knew Emery Hetrick and Damien Martin -- what pride we have in our community!


2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_Q.jpg New York University buses were used to chauffeur SAGE members -- our wise elders.

2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_R.jpg 2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_S.jpg 2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_T.jpg 2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_U.jpg

As I watched the parade I remembered my impression from my very first parade three decades ago -- no city in the world is as diverse as New York, and no community in the world is as accepting as our LGBT community. In this one parade you have the Irish, Puerto Ricans, Israelis, Macy's balloons, our police drummers and fire trucks. All of the multi-nation corporations headquartered here that embrace diversity. Our universities, churches and synagogues. Our progressive political leaders from both sides of the aisle. I am so proud to be both gay and a New Yorker.


2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_Y.jpg My own U.S. Congress member Carolyn Maloney has a superb gay-positive record.

2011-06-27-Gay_Pride_Parade_NYC_2011_Z.jpg Borough President Scott Stringer was there -- Manhattan now the gay capital of the world.

My partner John Lee and I were there at the Sheraton Hotel when Andy Cuomo was elected last fall. He promised us he would bring gay marriage to the Empire State. I cheered, but did not hold my breath. In less than six months, he kept his promise. I may now marry the man whom I love. As can any resident or non-resident of New York State from anywhere in the world. I am stunned and overwhelmed, Andrew. Thank you.


All photos by the author.

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