By: Lidia Evita, Staff Writer for World Liberty TV
The Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival is the second oldest and second largest pride parade in New York City. Founded in 1993, it is held annually on the first Sunday in June, in the neighborhood of Jackson Heights.
The parade was founded by Daniel Dromm and co-chaired by Maritza Martinez to raise the visibility of the LGBTQ community in Queens and memorialize Jackson Heights resident Julio Rivera.
Queens also serves as the largest transgender hub in the Western hemisphere and is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.
The Queens Pride Parade formed in response to Rivera’s murder and, more directly, to the 1992 homophobic outcry over 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.
As a result, former NYC Council Finance Chair Daniel Dromm, who was then a public school teacher in the borough’s Community School District 24 (where the controversy was centered), came out as openly gay and decided to counter the ensuing propaganda with a family-friendly celebratory parade that would promote LGBT visibility and pride, and be based in a neighborhood where many closeted gay people lived.
On November 22, 1992, the initial planning meeting was held in Dromm’s Flushing apartment, and the formation of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee (QLGPC) followed soon after at a meeting of Queens Gays and Lesbians United (Q-GLU).
Co-chaired by Dromm and Cuban-born LGBT rights activist Maritza Martinez, QLGPC canvassed neighborhood gay bars for donations and support. Dromm later recalled that some bar owners were resistant, “It was a very quiet lesbian and gay community — a large one but not a very visible one. [People were worried] that if they became visible, they would pay a price.”
The first Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival took place on Sunday, June 6, 1993, and an estimated 10,000 people attended. The parade route ran from 89th to 75th Streets along 37th Avenue, which was painted with a lavender line.
The accompanying stage show featured drag queen and transgender performers, who were also pivotal beforehand in helping to raise money and promote the parade at the gay bars where they regularly entertained. Martinez gave a bilingual speech, with the following spoken in Spanish.
The 2023 New Queens Pride Grand Marshals represent the great leadership, advocacy and diversity of the world’s borough.
We are proud to announce that Linda Lee, New York City Council Member, Lynn Schulman, New York City Council Member, Selvena N. Brooks-Power, New York City Council Member, Shekar Krishnan, New York City Council Member.
Drag Story Hour, a creative arts program, CUNY LGBTQIA+ Consortium, a collective group who’s mission is to preserve LGBTQIA+ history, offer programs, exhibits, events, and training, and Ceyenne Doroshow, an activist, community organizer, and Executive Director & Founder of G.L.I.T.S., will be the honorary Grand Marshals for the 2023 Queens Pride Parade.
Since 1993, Queens Pride continues to promote the visibility and accomplishments of the LGBT community and to foster acceptance by the many cultures and religions represented in our borough.
Thousands of people in attendance, many political leaders and organizations in attendance, it was a great parade, entertainment was first class, many vendors you can buy items from.