The borough's Pride Parade and Festival took over the streets of Jackson Heights on Sunday. NY1's Gene Apodaca has more on how the festivities marked a major milestone for the LGBTQ community.
In the heart of Jackson Heights on Sunday, gay pride was on full display.
Hundreds came out to celebrate the LGBTQ community during the Queens Pride Parade, now in its 25th year.
“I’m gay so you know this is the pride for us,” said one parade attendee.
Another said, “Just to see everyone, the colors everything is amazing.”
Despite a quarter century in the books, event organizers said the parade still serves a purpose, educating the public about issues the community still faces.
Within just the last few months, two transgender women were viciously attacked, one just blocks from the parade route.
“We’re going to continue to march every year until we no longer need to march,“ said Monica Menendez, with Queens Pride Parade.
The pride parade initially got its start following the murder of Julio Rivera.
The 29-year-old open gay man was killed by three men from the neighborhood.
Councilman Daniel Dromm, then an openly gay teacher, organized the first parade.
“When I started this parade in 1993, which the first year we had it, our community was under attack. And, unfortunately we find ourselves under attack once again by the Trump administration,” said Dromm.
However, Dromm worries that President Trump will roll back some the protections the Obama administration made possible.
New York Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli said those issues are being debated at the state level.
“The GENDA act is very important to the transgender community, the issue of stopping the conversion therapy as an acceptable practice needs to be outlawed in New York there’s a bill pending for that, “ said Dinapoli.
Those issues are imperative for Julio Rivera’s cousin, Patty Dunlea, who marched in the pride parade clinging to a photo of him.
“Awareness has gotten better but hate crime lives its very strong today and that’s why we’re here,” said Dunlea.