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Massive parades celebrate 5 decades of LGBTQ pride

New York — Five decades of LGBTQ pride was celebrated Sunday as crowds gathered outside New York's historic Stonewall Inn to mark the 50th anniversary of the police raid that sparked the modern-day gay rights movement, as other cities throughout the country planned massive parades.

New York's Pride march kicked off at noon Sunday with 677 contingents including community groups, major corporations and cast members from FX's "Pose." Organizers expected 150,000 people to march as hundreds of thousands more line the streets.

A smaller Queer Liberation March started earlier in the morning at the Stonewall Inn, proceeding to Central Park for a rally. The organizers of the queer march said the larger Pride event is too commercialized and heavily policed.

By Sunday afternoon, thousands of revelers packed onto Fifth Avenue, dressed in rainbow-colored clothing waved flags and signs as the parade got underway. Some people climbed up on street lamp posts or were on people's shoulders to get a better view of the parade.

Participants take part in 2019 World Pride NYC and Stonewall 50th LGBTQ Pride Parade in New York
Participants take part in the 2019 World Pride NYC and Stonewall 50th LGBTQ Pride Parade in New York, U.S., June 30, 2019 JEENAH MOON / REUTERS

Twenty-nine-year-old Alyssa Christianson, who lives in New York, said she's been to the Pride parade before, but this is the first year she dressed up. She turned a Pride flag into a cape.

Christianson loves coming to the parade because she says "everybody's happy and everybody's excited."

Security was tight with police officers stationed throughout the route. During the parade, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill ending the "gay and trans panic" defense, which allowed a defendant to argue their emotional distress about the victim's sexuality was a justification or excuse for a violent crime, according to CBS New York.

Thousands Flock To Annual Pride March  In New York City
Visitors from Amsterdam march in the NYC Pride March on June 30, 2019 in New York City. Getty Images

The Pride march concludes a month of Stonewall commemorations in New York that included rallies, parties, film showings and a human rights conference. The celebration coincides with WorldPride, an international LGBTQ event that started in Rome in 2000 and was held in New York this past week.

Other Pride events will take place Sunday around the U.S. and the world.

In San Francisco, a contingent of Google employees petitioned the Pride parade's board of directors to revoke Google's sponsorship over what they called harassment and hate speech directed at LGBTQ people on YouTube and other Google platforms.

San Francisco Pride declined to revoke Google's sponsorship or remove the company from the parade, but Pride officials said the Google critics could protest the company's policies as part of the parade's "Resistance Contingent."

In Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, the city's first openly gay mayor, will be one of seven grand marshals at the parade.

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