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Love shines a light: Slope Pride Parade a bright spot in a dark weekend

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Photo gallery

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Annual extravaganza: Participants marched down Fifth Avenue during the yearly celebration.
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Flipping out: Cheer New York showed off its acrobatics during the parade.
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Flying high: Revelers donned colorful outfits and accessories during the festivities.
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Colorful demonstration: Marchers stretched a giant rainbow flag along Fifth Avenue.
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Scouting out: JT Hutchens and his daughter Bea strike a pose with Elizabeth Payne and her daughter Avery, who marched in the parade with the Fifth Brooklyn Scouts.
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Close knit: Bryce Avinano and James McPherson said that the Brooklyn Pride parade had a much more intimate vibe than its Manhattan counterpart.
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Waving flag: Borough President Adams waved his rainbow flag in the 20th edition of Brooklyn Pride.

Thousands of Brooklynites flocked to Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue to celebrate the borough’s queer community at the 20th Brooklyn Pride festival and parade on Saturday evening, hours before a gunman massacred 49 people at a gay nightclub in Florida.

The procession was a testament to the strength of Kings County’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, said one attendee, and provided a bright spot in an otherwise dark weekend.

“To see so many people and so much excitement I thought it was very powerful,” said Park Sloper Elizabeth Payne, whose 6-year-old daughter Avery marched in the procession with outdoors group the Fifth Brooklyn Scouts. “It’s maybe more important for me as a memory that the night before, my daughter was marching and participating in a thing that is so happy for everyone.”

Payne said the event was also a great way to open up the conversation about same sex-marriage with her kid, who was thrilled to learn it means more people can tie the knot.

“It’s very exciting for her because she thinks the more marriage the better,” she said.

Along with community groups, activists, local businesses, and high-flying cheerleaders, Brooklyn pols including Borough President Adams, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D–Williamsbu­rg), and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D–Borough Park) all waved their rainbow flags along the route — stirring up all sorts of emotions for revelers along the way.

“It was amazing, super inspiring, and a little bit emotional too, of course,” said James McPherson, a Park Slope resident who came with pal Bryce Avinano.

The pair usually attend the massive four-hour Pride Parade in the outer borough of Manhattan, but this year decided to check out the 90-minute Park Slope extravaganza and were smitten with its small-town atmosphere.

“It was nice to have a more intimate vibe, there was a real neighborhood feeling,” said Avinano.

And it is a neighborliness that includes all Brooklynites, said the parade’s organizer — regardless of their identity.

“All these people just celebrating the livelihood and celebrating the love and not caring whether you’re LGBTQA — whatever letter of the alphabet — and just being there as one Brooklyn was really quite moving,” said organizer Mickey Heller.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

George L. Rosario from Queens, NY says:
Not all straight, conservative Christian men are anti-gay, blind bigots. My soul mourns today because of the violent events in Miami. May God give the survivors and the friends and family of the 49 lost the strength to carry on. I had a good friend there and he thankfully made it out alive and whole. Not everyone can say that today. We are angry, sad, worried and a bit confused. But we know we must not allow any act of senseless hate to stop our nation from moving forward and healing this nation together. We must all be eager to hug each other, love each other, support each other and carry each other through this difficult time. Notice I didn't say gay or straight, black or white, Democrat or Republican, young or old, rich or poor, religious or not, progressive or conservative, man or woman, etc. Let's start dividing ourselves into categories and subgroups, and start uniting as Americans. While the gay flag is beautiful in it's bright rainbow colors, we must remember that there us a less colorful but even more beautiful flag that represents us all. We are Americans, and wrapped in our beautiful flag we suffer this senseless act as a nation. I love you guys and I mourn with you. God bless you all. I am in New York and if you Google my full name, "George L. Rosario" you will find I am fairly easy to find. I am in all social media sites. Reach out to me if you need to talk, to cry, to hug someone, to celebrate life or simply need a hand to hold. I am not a psychiatrist or some magic healer. I am a friend. We are in this together. #glrosario #BeKind
June 13, 2016, 7:51 pm
George L. Rosario from Queens, NY says:
Correction... my comment was about the events in ORLANDO, not Miami.

Not all straight, conservative Christian men are anti-gay, blind bigots. My soul mourns today because of the violent events in ORLANDO. May God give the survivors and the friends and family of the 49 lost the strength to carry on. I had a good friend there and he thankfully made it out alive and whole. Not everyone can say that today. We are angry, sad, worried and a bit confused. But we know we must not allow any act of senseless hate to stop our nation from moving forward and healing this nation together. We must all be eager to hug each other, love each other, support each other and carry each other through this difficult time. Notice I didn't say gay or straight, black or white, Democrat or Republican, young or old, rich or poor, religious or not, progressive or conservative, man or woman, etc. Let's start dividing ourselves into categories and subgroups, and start uniting as Americans. While the gay flag is beautiful in it's bright rainbow colors, we must remember that there us a less colorful but even more beautiful flag that represents us all. We are Americans, and wrapped in our beautiful flag we suffer this senseless act as a nation. I love you guys and I mourn with you. God bless you all. I am in New York and if you Google my full name, "George L. Rosario" you will find I am fairly easy to find. I am in all social media sites. Reach out to me if you need to talk, to cry, to hug someone, to celebrate life or simply need a hand to hold. I am not a psychiatrist or some magic healer. I am a friend. We are in this together. #glrosario #BeKind

snip.ly/k2zf7
June 13, 2016, 7:54 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
If you'll pardon my asking, what violent events happened in Miami, and why aren't you also talking about those? I really hate to ask this and please don't take it the wrong way, but what have you got against the good people of Miami?
John Wasserman
June 14, 2016, 2:54 pm

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