The New Queens Pride, the second largest and second oldest pride parade in New York City, returns for their 30th anniversary this year on June 5th. The parade will start at 12 pm on 37th Avenue (from 89th Street to 75th Street) in Jackson Heights, followed by a multicultural festival at 37th Road and 75th Street. The parade was founded by Daniel Dromm and co-chaired by Maritza Martinez in honor of Jackson Heights resident, Julio Rivera. Rivera was a 29-year-old gay Puerto Rican man who in 1990 was brutally attacked by three skinheads in a schoolyard and died from his injuries. The parade served as a way to memorialize Rivera and raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ community in Queens, which serves as the largest transgender hub in the Western hemisphere.
Additionally, the parade aimed to combat the homophobic backlash of the community following the inclusion of gay and lesbian content in the Children of the Rainbow curriculum, which was designed to teach children tolerance of all of New York City’s diverse communities. Dromm was a public school teacher at Community School District 24, which was the epicenter of the controversy. He publicly came out as gay and decided to fight the hate with a family-friendly festival located in a neighborhood with a large population of closeted LGBTQ+ community members.
The first planning meeting for Queens pride was held in Dromm’s apartment on November 22, 1992. He teamed up with Martinez to form the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee (QLGPC) at a meeting of Queens Gays and Lesbians United (Q-GLU). They reached out to local gay bars for support, but the bar owners were afraid that increased visibility could impose a risk.
Despite the initial resistance, over 10,000 people attended the first Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival on June 3, 1993. A lavender line was painted from 89th to 75th Streets along 37th Avenue to signify the parade route. Local drag queens and transgender preformers entertained the crowd after weeks of fundraising for and promoting the festival at the bars they frequented. Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world, which means the multicultural festival was brimming with delicious foods around the world and featured businesses and organizations that represent countless communities.
The event is being organized by the LGBT Network, a 29-year-old nonprofit who provides a wide array of education, health, support, human services, and advocacy for tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ people and families. They are also organizing Long Island Pride on Sunday June 12th and Pride Night at Citi Field on Friday June 17th. Since their foundation, they have opened 3 LGBTQ centers to serve the queer communities of Queens and Long Island.
The Grand Marshals of the event are Adrienne E. Adams, New York City Council Speaker, Colectivo Intercultural TRANSgrediendo, an organization fighting for human rights of TransGNB people, and Caribbean Equality Project, an organization on the forefront for Black and Brown LGBTQ+ Caribbean immigrants.
This year’s hosts will be Gia Love, model/activist/Iconic Queen Mother of the Iconic house of Juicy Couture, Julius Caesar, Queens native turned NYC socialite, Cyannie Lopez, a renowned pageant queen, the overall mother of the House of Lopez, and a transwoman, and featuring Byrell the Great, one of the greatest ballroom DJs in the business. Show-stopping headliners include the House of Xtravaganza, Antauez, The Masterz at Work Dance Family, Haus of Us, The Iconic International House of Miyake Mugler, and The House of Juicy Couture. The entertainment keeps going with acts like Latín Connection, Tym Moss, Cheer New York, Julian Austin, Kenny Supreme, Gotham Cheer, Queensboro Dance Festival, YCS K-POP, Rissbel, and CHA CHA SHEREADY.
In the Queens Pride official press release, Former New York City Council Member and Queens Pride founder Danny Dromm stated, “The Queens Pride Parade and Festival is integral to all other LGBTQ+ organizing in the borough. It must continue. As Queens Pride’s founder, I am proud to work with the LGBT Network and David Kilmnick to bring back Pride bigger and better than ever before. The last two years without Queens Pride have been difficult but the future looks bright. The New Queens Pride will bring us all together to celebrate our gains and will let everyone know that LGBTQIA people are their family, friends, and neighbors. Queens Pride is a true community event enjoyed by all.”
If you would like to be a part of The New Queens Pride, register here for the festival or here for the parade. If you want to help support the festival beyond attending, you can sponsor Queens Pride here or volunteer here. Can’t attend the event? No problem! You can still be involved by advertising your business in the Official Pride Guide; use the link here. Can’t wait to see you there!