They’re prouder than ever.
This Sunday’s Pride March will be the biggest one in history, as the 46th annual LGBT celebration is expected to feature a record 32,000 marchers and more than 400 groups in the Manhattan parade.
The march’s message of equality takes on added urgency this year, falling two weeks after a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando took 49 lives and wounded dozens.
“This year is definitely going to be a lot more significant, a lot more important,” said NYC Pride March Director Julian Sanjivan. “It’s painful, but at the same time, we want to show it’s all about love, it’s all about equality. We’re not going to cave to fear.”
Last year’s parade had 20,000 marchers and drew upward of 2.5 million spectators, Sanjivan said, as New Yorkers celebrated the legalization of gay marriage across the nation.
This year’s will likely rival that. At a vigil held outside the iconic Stonewall Inn a day after the June 12 shooting, Mayor Bill de Blasio called on people all over the United States to “come to New York for the Pride Parade” in a show of “love and inclusion.”
Organizers also reopened registration for the Pride March in the wake of the shooting to accommodate interest from groups looking to join the floats.
“A lot of people wanted to be involved and show support,” said Sanjivan, noting that about 20 groups had signed up to march following the shooting.
Heritage of Pride, which produces the Pride March, also reworked some parade details to remember the 49 Orlando victims. A color guard from Scouts of Equality will carry 49 orange flags with rainbow stripes, and the names of those killed will be listed on a panel on the Heritage of Pride float, which will be trailed by marchers carrying a #WeAreOrlando banner.
Pulse owner Barbara Poma and manager Neema Bahrami will also ride on the lead float as honored guests of NYC Pride.
The Latino community was especially hit hard by the shooting, which occurred during “Latin Night” at the gay nightclub Pulse. The staff and broader community of the El Museo del Barrio, which is marching for the second time in the parade, “certainly feel a special connection this year,” said Executive Director Jorge Daniel Veneciano.
“To me there is a kind of kindred circumstance between the Latino community and the LGBT community, and part of it is a problem of visibility that we have suffered as Latinos. Certainly the gay community has suffered this historically,” Veneciano said.
“And at the same time, there is pride — a will to celebrate, be creative,” he added. “That’s another kind of kindred circumstance.”
In another historic moment for this year’s Pride March, which commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots, the NBA will be the first sports league to ever participate, with more than 100 employees and their families expected to march Sunday.
“We have a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion in our work and in our service to the community,” said Oris Stuart, the senior vice president, chief diversity and inclusion officer for the NBA, which also recently launched a T-shirt line for Pride Month, with every team’s logo in rainbows. “We’re excited about bringing the NBA spirit to the March.”
A national monument
This year's march comes two days after President Barack Obama designated the Stonewall Inn and its surrounding area a national monument on Friday. The 7.7 acres included in the monument are the first National Park Service unit "to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights," Obama said in a news release.
Here are all the things you'll need to know heading into Sunday's march:
Steps off Sunday at noon, rain or shine, following a moment of silence at 11:58 a.m. to remember those in the community lost to AIDS, AIDS-related complications and hate crimes. The first group usually makes it to the end of the route by 1:45 p.m. and the parade ends around 6 p.m.
Start: 36th Street and Fifth Avenue
Special needs seating: 24th Street and Fifth Avenue
Reviewing stand: Eighth Street and Fifth Avenue
End: Christopher and Bleecker streets
Length: 2 miles
36th Street and Fifth Avenue
25th Street and Fifth Avenue
Eighth Street and Fifth Avenue
Christopher and Bleecker streets
Jazz Jennings: Honorary co-founder of the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation, star of the TLC docu-series “I Am Jazz” and, at 15, the youngest Grand Marshal in NYC Pride history
Subhi Nahas: Syrian refugee currently working with LGBT refugees in Turkey and co-founder of the first LGBT magazine in Syria, Mawaleh
Cecilia Chung: Founding producer of the San Francisco Trans March, one of the world’s first and largest annual transgender events, member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and senior strategist for the Transgender Law Center
Street closures (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
41st Street between Park and Fifth avenues
40th Street between Sixth and Park avenues
39th Street between Sixth and Park avenues
38th Street between Sixth and Park avenues
37th Street between Sixth and Park avenues
36th Street between Sixth and Park avenues
Fifth Avenue between 41st and 8th streets
8th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues
Greenwich Avenue between Sixth Avenue and Christopher Street
Christopher Street between Greenwich Avenue and Greenwich Street
Greenwich Street between West 11th and Leroy streets
Fifth Avenue between 8th Street and Washington Mews
Bleecker Street between Christopher and West 10th streets
Hudson Street between Bethune and West 14th streets
West 13th Street between Ninth Avenue and West 4th Street