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New York City's Pride: True Colours

This year marks half a century since New York City’s pivotal Stonewall riots, a five-night flashpoint in LGBTQ+ history

Published 6 May 2019, 15:00 BST
A skyline of Manhattan with the Empire State Building displaying Pride colours
A skyline of Manhattan with the Empire State Building displaying Pride colours
Photograph by Getty

In the early hours of 28 June 1969, in a gay bar on the West Village’s Christopher Street, a handful of patrons rose up in defiance against an aggressive police raid. Joined by local residents, these pioneering activists began several nights of demonstrations and riots that led to a national movement, mobilising thousands in the name of gay liberation. This crucible moment at the Stonewall Inn — a gay bar where, like many others in New York and cities across the US, marginalised and criminalised members of the gay community could take refuge and be themselves — was a turning point in LGBTQ+ history.

Five decades on, the world is celebrating those pivotal days in suitably extravagant style. New York City’s Pride march, which annually welcomes millions of protestors and partiers, will this year be part of a mammoth, month-long programme. The country is set to host a WorldPride celebration for the first time, and some four million attendees are expected to descend on the Big Apple for the occasion. 

So what can revellers expect from an event that’s set to be the biggest Pride celebration of all time? There’ll be a true rainbow of more than 50 events throughout June, including rallies, parties, club nights, film screenings and lectures, all culminating on 30 June for the parade itself. 1-30 June 2019.

Stonewall Forever

This heritage project aims to preserve and share the untold stories of the Stonewall riots. Visitors to the site are invited to add their own piece of history by contributing materials, photos and ephemera from the early years of the LGBTQ+ rights movement; the pieces may then be archived as part of the Stonewall collection at the LGBT Community Center National History Archive, as well as on Google Arts & Culture.   


26 & 30 June — WorldPride 2019 opening and closing ceremonies
Celebrating ‘millions of moments of Pride’, these starry spectaculars on 26 June (Barclays Center, Brooklyn) and 30 June (Times Square, Manhattan) are set to be unmissable highlights among the four weeks of festivities. 

28 June — Rally: Stonewall 50 Commemoration
Performances, speakers and more will whip up the crowd at this free event, held at the intersection of Christopher Street and Waverly Place.

21 June — Family Movie Night
Head to Hudson River Park’s Pier 45 for a fun-filled family movie night, hosted by drag legend Miss Richfield 1981. All proceeds will go to Heritage of Pride, NYC Pride and other LGBTQ+ organisations.

30 June — Pride March

Hit the streets for the city’s most revered Pride celebration. This year’s procession will see some 600 groups and 120 floats parade through the West Village.

Until 14 July — Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50

The New York Public Library hosts an exhibition of pioneering photographs from Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies, capturing pivotal moments from the gay rights movement.

Published in the June 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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