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An exuberant strut of Brooklyn’s diversity: Plenty of love, acceptance and smiles at Pride parade in Park Slope

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Photo gallery

1/19
Drag artist Desmond Is Amazing, one of the parade’s grand marshals.
2/19
Transgender visibility was a striking feature of the evening.
3/19
Smiles and love were everywhere on Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue.
4/19
For decades, the Lesbian Herstory Archives has been a fixture in Park Slope.
5/19
New York State Attorney General Letitia James.
6/19
Gotham Cheer dazzled the crowd, as always.
7/19
A dramatically colorful float made its way down Fifth Avenue nearly two hours into the parade.
8/19
Alphonso David, the out gay counsel to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was another of the grand marshals.
9/19
Families and kids were enthuastic participants and spectators at the parade.
10/19
Borough President Eric Adams declared Brooklyn “ground zero for Gay Pride.”
11/19
Drag Queen Story Hour, protested — but also supported — days earlier in Gerrritsen Beach, won huge applause in Park Slope.
12/19
Green is definitely his color.
13/19
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
14/19
Activists from the Dyke March, which takes place in Manhattan on June 29, were in Brooklyn on June 8.
15/19
The Reclaim Pride Coalition, which is holding a Queer Liberation March as an alternative to the LGBTQ Pride March in Manhattan on June 30, turned out for Brooklyn Pride.
16/19
The drummer of Fogo Azul were back in Brooklyn this year.
17/19
The city’s new public advocate, Jumaane Williams, marched in his home borough.
18/19
The City Council delegation was led by three out gay members at center: Daniel Dromm from Queens, Speaker Corey Johnson from Manhattan, and Brooklyn’s own Carlos Menchaca.
19/19
City Comptroller Scott Stringer with his wife, Elyse Buxbaum, and their young sons Max and Miles.

It was a Saturday evening love fest in Brooklyn.

In a June 8 twilight parade down Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue that drew thousands and lasted for hours, the crowd — both activists and elected officials marching and spectators lining the sidewalk for the event’s 15-block stretch — emphasized over and over again that love, acceptance, and diversity were the key words defining LGBTQ Pride in the city’s most populous borough.

And if the evening was centered on queer pride, it was also a celebration of pride in the special qualities of Brooklyn and of New York City as whole.

For spectator Rosin Kaplan, who grew up in Park Slope, moved elsewhere, including San Francisco and, most recently for five years, New Orleans, moving back to the Flatbush side of Prospect Park three years ago was a welcome coming home.

“I would say one of the reasons I’m back in New York is that I didn’t want to have any more anxiety about being gay,” Kaplan said. “After so many years of being stressed about it as an adult, it’s really nice to be older and be like really gay in a really gay city. I mean this city is so gay. It’s so relaxing. It’s normal here to be gay.”

Kaplan and her business partner in a T-shirt company, Sasha Rose, who was visiting for 10 days from New Orleans, had spent the afternoon vending their T-shirts at the Pride Festival, and said they were ready to sleep once the parade wrapped up.

“We want to be ready to go to Riis Beach tomorrow and be gay there,” Kaplan said.

Jeremy Aviles, who was visiting from Orlando, Fla., with a friend, also voiced wonder at the exuberance he came upon at Brooklyn Pride.

“It’s amazing. It’s wild for sure, and it’s all about love from what I’m seeing,” he said.

Becca Farsace and Allison Talum are a couple who just moved in together in an apartment around the corner from Fifth Avenue after each lived in a different part of the borough.

“This is our first time coming,” Farsace said of Brooklyn Pride. “We’re new to the neighborhood but not to Brooklyn. I really dig the community here and it feels smaller and not as commercial­ized.”

Both she and Talum pointed to the large number of families in attendance with their small children.

“One thing that’s great is that Park Slope is a real family sort of neighborhood, and I really appreciate that everybody is bringing their kids out and seeing the community for what it is, a very loving and accepting neighborho­od,” Talum said.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer, marching with his wife and two young boys, also pointed to the joys families can find at Brooklyn Pride.

“Since Max and Miles were literally born they’ve been going to Pride in Manhattan, but this is the first time they’ve been out at night at Brooklyn Pride,” the comptroller said. “So it’s learning experience, it’s a teaching moment, but it’s great to march with your family… It’s why we raise kids in the city because they get the education of a lifetime, the way I did. And they’re going to be better for it.

Borough President Eric Adams said the Brooklyn event perfectly captures a half century of LGBTQ traditions that have grown up since the Stonewall riots in 1969.

“It actually says that the spirit of Harvey Milk, who died in San Francisco, continues to cascade here in Brooklyn with a large parade,” Adams said, before boasting, “It proves that Brooklyn is ground zero for Gay Pride.”

Carlos Menchaca, the first out gay member of the City Council elected from Brooklyn, also hailed the spirit of the Park Slope celebration.

“Everyone feels welcome,” he declared, before turning to one of the evening’s political implications — that he and his four gay Council colleagues all face term limits in 2021. Activists several weeks ago announced an effort, dubbed LGBTQ in 2021, to ensure that queer representation on the Council will not vanish as a result of these term limits.

Menchaca was joined in the parade by nearly a dozen of his Council colleagues, including out gay Speaker Corey Johnson from Manhattan and Daniel Dromm from Queens.

Jared Arader, who is president of the borough’s LGBTQ Lambda Independent Democrats, echoed Menchaca’s emphasis on the 2021 elections, saying of his club’s participation in the parade, “This is our opportunity to show Brooklyn’s LGBTQ community that we are engaged in local politics; we care about local politics. We care about representation, and we have to make sure that the rest of the city know that just because marriage got done, just because GENDA [the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act] got done, we’re not done.”

The club, Arader said, has grown during the Trump era surge of activism on the left. As important, he said, Lambda is growing beyond its historic roots in affluent, predominately white neighborhoods like Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights and drawing in increased numbers of transgender members and people of color.

“We’re marching in Park Slope right now because that’s been the traditional heart of Brooklyn’s community but we’re moving out, moving from Park Slope to where we belong,” he said.

Other elected officials marching in the Brooklyn parade spoke to more global political issues, as well. Menchaca repeated his criticism of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent broadening of the range of criminal offenses on which he would work with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Though Menchaca got blowback from several of his Council colleagues because the incremental offenses included some sex crimes, the councilmember insisted, “It’s about trust, and the one thing you can’t legislate is trust and when you send a signal as the mayor of New York that you’re okay cooperating with ICE for any reason whatsoever then it sends a signal that you’re not important and that’s the wrong message and that you can’t get back.”

Jumaane Williams, a former Brooklyn councilmember who earlier this year won the race to succeed State Attorney General Letitia James as the city’s public advocate, said of his new post, “I think it’s a pretty cool one. I get to be an activist. I get to be an organizer. I get to hold government accountable on behalf of groups as I’ve tried to do for the past 10 years.”

Asked about his travels in recent weeks, not only to Albany but to other upstate cities as well, Williams explained that he is looking to organize unified support statewide for a tenant protection bill that he described as “the best combination of upstate and downstate legislation I’ve seen in a long time.”

Speaking about her new post, James said, “I think given the fierce urgency of now, given the politics of our nation, as we see an increase in hate crimes, as we see an administration that unfortunately is targeting marginalized populations, I am so honored to be the attorney general of the State of New York to show the way for the nation in seeking justice and equality for the nation.”

Turning out for Pride, she said, is a way to send a message to President Donald Trump so “that knows there’s more of us than of them.” Vowing to keep pressure up on the administration in Washington, James said, “Nobody is above the law.”

Adams, the borough president, also took aim at Trump.

“Without a doubt, the energy and spirit that is coming out of Washington, D.C., has really made those who are anti-all-groups comfortable in being anti,” he said. “This is a spirit we have not seen in a long time. But we’re not going to allow it to suffocate us, we’re going to continue to breath and keep our belief in diversity.”

This story first appeared on gaycitynews.com, one of our sister publications.

Updated 2:13 pm, June 10, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Good for them! Diversity is what makes Brooklyn (and America) great. We don't need straight white males complaining about "where's our straight pride parade", or "what about white history month", or "what about men's rights". These close minded bigots will never understand what it's like to be marginalized minority.
June 10, 10:15 am
Jeff Stryker from Falcon Studios says:
LOL, these hypocrites parade around talking about ‘Love’ and ‘Diversity’ yet there is no love for ANYONE who shares a difference of opinion. Try being pro-life or conservative or Republican at this LGBT cult fest. These people are intolerant of anyone who does not think like them. Wearing a MAGA hat at this parade would be like wearing a yarmulke at a Nazi rally. The Democrats know they have these brainwashed fools in their pockets by repeating the lie that Trump is their enemy. Wake up fools.
June 10, 11:21 am
K. from ArKady says:
The above comment is a remarkably well crafted bit of propaganda. The part where the author subconsciously connects the religious garb to the MAGA hat is brilliant. I'm kind of curious if the people posting this stuff are the same people running the antivax campaign?
June 10, 11:39 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I was right! The conservative bigots always show up. Take your close minded views back to your flyover state, we don't want that hate garbage here.
June 10, 12:07 pm
Johann S. Burg says:
Facts are facts Henry, despite your name-calling. Are the ‘flyover states’ the new ‘Russian bots’?
June 10, 12:43 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
⬆⬆⬆OH LOOK, another trumpturd⬆⬆⬆
June 10, 12:50 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I swear they're like roaches. If you see one, there are many more. They need to be eradicated.
June 10, 12:50 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I swear they're like roaches. If you see one, there are many more. They need to be eradicated.
June 10, 12:50 pm
Brad from Crown Heights says:
Henry Ford, are you an example of all the love and acceptance of "everybody" regardless of their non-homosexuality? The LGBTQ seems intolerant of straight people and conservatives. You do too with your scoffing at middle westerners, who you scorn as flyovers. LGBTQ point the finger of bigotry at the rest of the world for just letting them be, not joining. Maybe they should look in the mirror to see what bigots look like.
June 10, 1:32 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
⬆⬆⬆OH LOOK, yet another trumpturd⬆⬆⬆ I told you, like roaches. I think I smell a few more getting ready to type but their fat fingers make it difficult to navigate the keyboard.
June 10, 2:01 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
"tolerate my intolerance" -the dog whistle cry of the North American Barrel-assed trump supporter.
June 10, 2:24 pm
Local from Here says:
“Supporters of President Trump need to be eradicated”. Guess who has all the guns and the military and police behind them fool. We are just waiting for you commies to act upon your desires so we can cleanse this country, and truly make it great again.
June 10, 3:01 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
⬆⬆⬆OH LOOK, America's next mass shooter⬆⬆⬆ I seriously hope the NYPD is taking note of this guy threatening citizens of N.Y. Lock uo this domestic terrorist.
June 10, 3:07 pm
Local from Here says:
Yeah, the authorities tend to take it seriously when people demand the eradication of others. Say hi to those nice people in expensive suits that will soon knock on your door.
June 10, 3:22 pm
Jeff Stryker from Falcon Studios says:
The rainbow flag was once a proud symbol for the gay community which signaled a safe place for LGBTQ who were often targets of bigotry. Now these ‘proud’ people are the ones who are the bigots and target anybody who does not fall in line with their way of thinking. That rainbow flag has been paraded around at every anti-Trump rally since day one as a way to poison the minds of the LGBTQ community against him. It seems to be working. Ironic how this ‘inclusive’ flag has become a tool of the Fascist left. Fortunately Brandon Straka, a gay man who started the #walkaway campaign, has proven that there are more and more LGBTQ people who have left the hateful and violent sheep mentality of the ‘regressive’ Left. The American flag is the true rainbow flag and the symbol of safety and comfort.
June 10, 3:25 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
⬆⬆⬆"tolerate my intolerance"⬆⬆⬆ And the police should be investigating someone ("Local from Here") who just said they have the guns. Frightening behavior from a demented bigot. Classic domestic terrorist.
June 10, 3:29 pm
Section 8 says:
Men are treated like garbage in the family courts. Men do most if the dangerous jobs. Men make most inventions. A little respect wouldn't hurt.
June 10, 3:33 pm
Reading comprehension from Lacking says:
I missed the part of Local’s posts where they claimed to have a gun.
June 10, 6:48 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Then your name is makes sense, stupid.
June 10, 7:27 pm
Local from Here says:
Trump supporters have all the guns does not equate to Local from Here having a gun. You will learn this when you get to high school.
June 10, 8 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Nice backpedaling. Too late though, authorities are looking into your IP address. Will probably come to your job. Terror threats are taken very seriously in today’s climate, mate.
June 10, 8:08 pm
Local from Here says:
What kind of fascist hellhole does your mind reside in that makes you think authorities should be notified about a law abiding citizen having a gun anyway? It sure ain’t the United States of America.
June 10, 8:22 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Keep digging that hole, stupid. Make sure to yell “pry it from my cold dead fingers” when they knock.
June 10, 8:28 pm
George SoreAss from Katonah says:
Henry you’re a sicko, the only threats that are ever made here come from YOU. Antifa is so proud of the job you’re doing for the ‘resistance’
June 10, 8:34 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Changing your name doesn’t help, they have your IP, stupid.
June 10, 8:36 pm
George SoreAss from Katonah says:
Who are ‘they’ Henry? Are they the men in the white coats who have been looking for you? Better pull the curtains real tight or they might find you.
June 11, 12:01 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
⬆⬆⬆Stuck on stupid⬆⬆⬆
June 11, 12:11 pm
Fung Woo Wong from Sunset Park says:
What about Straight Pride?!? For straight CHINESE ???
June 11, 12:30 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Fung never cared about straight pride until there was gay pride. Someone's feeling left out and wants a parade.
June 11, 12:32 pm
Barry from Kenya says:
I was actually the first gay president and Michelle was my beard. I learned quickly to lay low growing up in Kenya.
June 11, 12:56 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆Look at this bigot⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆ A trumpturd birther® too!
June 11, 1:02 pm
LaQwerty Jones from NYCHA Chuck Schumer Houses says:
Whether or not Bathouse Barry was born in Kenya, the point is that he was an ISIS sympathizer and one of the worst Presidents ever who divided this country based on race. That is the only way the Dems know how to get votes. He is a traitor to the USA but he is gonna get his comeuppance, he and that lying, evil witch, Hildebeast!
June 11, 2:20 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆So much bigot⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆ Your mother must be proud, if you have one.
June 11, 3:13 pm
Gary from Fort Greene says:
For years it was the love that dare not speak its name, now it's the love that can't stop talking about itself. Why aren't the organizers of the Pride Parade proud to put the word Gay back in the name?
June 11, 4:43 pm
Barry from Kenya says:
I should have had my Isis soldiers take care of Henry Ford before President Trump killed them all.
June 11, 5:17 pm
Johan Fox from Cobble Hill says:
I have as much Pride as anyone, but I prefer Privacy instead. My Life is my own .
June 11, 5:35 pm
Barry from Kenya says:
I'm so mad we had a black president that I still believe the lie he was muslim and born in kenya. But I love the racist slob we have now, because I'm a cousin fukkking racist!
June 11, 6:19 pm
Tommy Tang says:
Rainbow pride flags go up at the end of June, do we also see American Flags being raised on Flag Day, June 14th, or on July 4th? Usually not. If you have the rainbow flag up but not the Stars and Stripes then we know what you are all about.
June 11, 6:20 pm
Tommy Tang says:
I'm a closeted power bottom! If my family finds out they will disown me & take me out of their will. Plus, trump won't let me join his stupid army. Stupid sexy trump.
June 11, 7:24 pm
Local from Here says:
Tommy Tang, fellow racist here. Why do you hate blacks? For me, my hatred goes back to my childhood. I watched my mom get g-banged by throngs of black guys for crack rocks. I blamed them, not her. So here we are. What's your story?
June 11, 10:30 pm
Patrice from Park Slope says:
I was in Park Slope yesterday, but saw no signs of it. Fake news? Where's the evidence?
June 12, 7:24 am
Tommy Tang says:
Yo Tommy Tang here. Not once did I mention race in my posting, y’all are insane. And yes, I am a power bottom, you say it like it’s a bad thing.
June 12, 8:23 pm

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