diane_vera (diane_vera) wrote,

The Gay Pride parade this past Sunday

This past Sunday, June 28, I participated in the Gay Pride parade in Manhattan, as I like to do every year. This is a huge annual event, with tens of thousands of people marching.

Before the march, I distributed about 300 flyers (PDF copy here and HTML copy here) promoting the July 9 meeting of the "Know Your Enemy" Project of New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry, and urging people to call their state senator about marriage equality. I gave about 200 more fliyers, total, to two other people to distribute also; I don't know how many of these actually got distributed.

I then marched with the bisexual contingent. Along the route, I distributed about 100 more flyers to people on the sidelines who looked like they might be interested. I looked for people already decorated with buttons, stickers, or pendants received from other marchers.

I then got into conversations with some people in the bi contingent, including two Pagans.

There was a small handful of counter-demonstrators at the traditional barricaded place allotted to them on one of the side streets across Fifth Avenue from St. Patrick's Cathedral. I saw a total of maybe a dozen counter-demonstrators, mostly men, including a few Orthodox Jews, plus one man holding up a sign promoting "Catholic moral doctrine," plus one man with a sign promoting American Free Press, a neo-Nazi publication. The really ironic thing that leapt out at me was that the neo-Nazi was standing right next to one of the ultra-Orthodox Jews. Perhaps the Jew didn't realize he was standing next to a neo-Nazi? The neo-Nazi wasn't wearing a swastika, and a lot of people probably don't know that American Free Press is a neo-Nazi publication.

The small number of counter-demonstrators might give some people the impression that we don't have a religious right wing here in New York. That's a misleading impression. We do indeed have a local organized religious right wing, even though, for the most part, it apparently doesn't consider counter-demonstrating at the Gay Pride march to be a productive use of its time.

As usual, there were quite a few liberal Christian religious groups marching in the parade. There were no Pagan groups, as there have not been for the past few years. There used to be a small group called "Witches and Pagans for Gay Rights," which marched every year. But not anymore -- even though there are some Pagan groups that meet at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan.

Among the Groups Meeting Regularly at the Center, the following are listed: (1) Moonfire Empowerment & Spirituality Network, (2) Network for the Realization of the Goddess, (3) NYC Gay Men's Shamanic Circle, and (4) NYC Open Gay Men's Pagan Magick Circle. Surely these groups ought to be able to get together and organize a Pagan contingent for the Pride march?

Also on the above list of groups, I notice the Disclosure Network/New York (DNNY), about "UFO to Paranormal topics." I should look at their site sometime later. I hope they're not promoting David Icke-style grand conspiracy ideology, but I suspect they might be, alas.

Another organization I should probably pay some attention to, on the above list, is the Stop the False Arrests Campaign. I should learn about how activist groups interact with police on such issues, as this sort of thing is likely to come up for NYARBB eventually.
Tags: gay rights, glbt, lgbt, new york city, nyarbb, pagan, paganism, wicca
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