Queens pride parade draws hundreds to celebrate LGBT equality
Pride month kicked off in Queens Sunday with the borough's annual parade.
Hundreds of LGBT rights supporters cheered on marchers as they went north on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights. Several politicians, including most of the Democratic mayoral candidates, joined groups to express their support for an end to discrimination.
There has been a rise in hate crimes against gay New Yorkers, with 31 reported incidents so far this year compared with 19 during the same period last year.
Before the parade, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral candidate, and the Council's LGBT caucus announced a series of self-defense classes for gay New Yorkers.
"No one should be made to feel unsafe because who they are or who they love," she said in a statement.