Following the conclusion of a lively demonstration centered on racial injustice and police abuse in Washington Square Park on June 6, a diverse group of LGBTQ folks helped transform Christopher Park into a vibrant queer space on the first weekend of Pride Month.
Music blared from a portable speaker, dancers let loose, couples embraced, and even dogs mingled together as the community filed into a space that served as an alternative to a bar scene that is temporarily on hold due to the pandemic. The fading sun peeked through the trees with just over an hour to go until what would be the final day of an oft-criticized curfew imposed on the five boroughs.
Many in the gathering were individuals who walked over from Washington Square Park — cardboard signs in hand — to make a pit stop in the park on a warm, summery evening that featured just enough wind to blow the Rainbow Flags perched on the fence around the park.
Across the street, thirsty folks lined up at The Duplex bar for their cocktails-to-go. Next door to The Duplex, the Stonewall Inn — the site of multiple protests within the last week focusing on police abuse of Black transgender individuals — remained adorned with images featuring, among others, Tony McDade, a trans man who was killed by police in Tallahassee, Florida, late last month, and Nina Pop, a trans woman who was murdered in her small town Missouri apartment earlier last month. One large sign reminded everyone that “PRIDE IS A RIOT #BLM” and candles stood at the edge of the bar’s brick wall.
At multiple demonstrations in the city on that same day, some protesters brought attention to the plight of Black trans individuals who continue to be under siege both from deadly violence and from targeted policing here in New York thanks to an outdated loitering law used by law enforcement officers to harass and arrest trans women of color.
At Washington Square Park that afternoon, one man attached a sign to his backpack that read, “Black cis ‘n trans lives matter.” Several miles away, over at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza just minutes before curfew, a “Black Trans Lives Matter” sign emerged in the air from a large crowd of protesters.