WorldPride Kicks Off in New York City with Opening Event Featuring Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Porter

By Jonathan Spira on 27 June 2019
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WorldPride opened in New York City with a star-studded event Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which was bathed in rainbow lights.

The WorldPride Opening Ceremony was hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, who gave a stirring speech on this history of gay pride, followed by a film looking at its history. It served as a fundraiser for the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBTI youth, for SAGE, or Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders, and for Immigration Equality, an immigrant rights organization.

The event included performances by Billy Porter, Chaka Khan, and others. A highlight was Cyndi Lauper’s performance of her ‘80s hit, “True Colors,” which has become a standard in the gay community.

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“We all know that Pride isn’t just about the party,” Goldberg said. “We have Pride because so many strong and frustrated and queer people got loud and brave enough to say, ‘Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! I am a human being!’”

WorldPride is expected to be one of the largest LGBTQ gatherings in the world and coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which is credited as being the most significant event that led to the gay liberation movement and the fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.

The Stonewall Uprising, also referred to as the Stonewall riots, started at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, the day following Judy Garland’s funeral when the now-defunct New York Police Department Public Morals Squad raided the bar and harassed and, in some cases, physically abused its patrons. Earlier this month, the police commissioner publicly apologized for the actions of its officers.

The month-long celebration will culminate with the Pride March on Sunday on Fifth Avenue. Organizers expect 150,000 marchers and 160 floats. The parade will be the largest ever, with 80,000 more marchers and 42 more floats than in 2018.

Hotels in the New York City area are close to sold out, while Airbnb rates have risen to those of four-star hotels in many cases. Many non gay-owned businesses are observing WorldPride by adorning their establishments with rainbow flags.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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