Celebrate, Advocate, Participate—Marching in New York City for LGBTI Rights
June is Pride Month, celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) rights around the world. On Sunday, June 26th, Human Rights First participated in the New York City Gay Pride Parade for the third straight year. Donning “Fighting Discrimination” t-shirts and holding signs with the words “Stop Hate Crime,” we marched down Fifth Avenue to Greenwich Village, the site of the historic Stonewall riots of 1969. We feel fortunate to exercise our right to free assembly without threat of violence and with the support of public officials. The NYC march was particularly special this year in the wake of the vote in favor of gay marriage in New York, by far the largest U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. Senator Chuck Schumer, who marched directly behind Human Rights First, received loud cheers of approval each time he declared to the crowd: “as goes New York, so goes the nation!” While Sen. Schumer will work to champion LGBTI rights in the U.S., we hope to use American foreign policy to advance human rights, including gay rights, across the globe. Elsewhere around the world, pride marches often turn violent, if they are allowed at all. LGBTI individuals face varying degrees of governmental and societal discrimination in many counties: Uganda, Saudi Arabia, Russia.
The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, however, recently passed a historic resolution that affirms the rights of LGBTIs, putting discriminatory laws against LGBTIs under increased scrutiny and pressure to repeal.