WorldPride 2019 is finally here! And this year, the trans community will be represented at the March like never before, with the cast of Pose—the hit FX series starring trans people that is set in 1980s NYC—serving as grand marshals.
“Time and time again, I hear how empowered trans people feel when they attend our march,” says Julian Sanjivan, director of the Pride March. “The ability to be themselves among members of their own community is an extremely enlightening experience.”
The cast of Pose joins a long list of transgender people who have been grand marshals at previous events. In 2017, Tyler Ford, a trans and genderqueer activist, was one of the grand marshals and four different trans activists were honored as community heroes on the lead float.
More than 1.4 million Americans identify as transgender, and every June thousands of them gather on the streets of New York to celebrate Pride. NYC Pride volunteer and trans woman Hannah Simpson remembers her first time at the March fondly: “Before I was even taking hormones or had transitioned, I said to myself, ‘I'm going to spend this whole day going out in public with my friends as a female.’ It was a really empowering day. And I got to spend the whole day as me.”
Similarly, NYC Pride March veteran Deja Nicole Greenlaw, co-director of Unity of the Pioneer Valley, a transgender support group, describes the experience as a rush. “One time we were marching with a group that had music blaring, and as we walked by the Stonewall Inn they played Beyoncé. We were gleefully dancing, jumping up and down, and I worked that rainbow streamer all over Christopher Street.”
But the March is just one of many activities happening in the City during WorldPride this year. Below is a selection of other events of interest to trans people and their allies:
Trans Day of Action
The 15th annual Trans Day of Action will take place on Friday, June 28, from 4 to 6pm at Washington Square Park. Thousands of trans and gender-nonconforming people of color and their allies will congregate to celebrate those who participated in the Stonewall Uprising 50 years ago, and then will march for gender equality. Mya Byrne, who identifies as “a proud trans leatherdyke,” is a big fan of this event: “It was the first place I was openly trans.”
“Go to PrideFest,” says Orthodox Jewish trans comedian Dana Friedman, recommending Greenwich Village’s signature LGBTQ+ street festival. The upcoming edition takes place on the afternoon of Sunday, June 30, from 11am to 6pm, and features an array of entertainers and activities. Says Friedman, “It’s fun and it’s more relaxed, even though there are a lot of people.”
Grace Jones and Teyana Taylor will be among the queer headliners at the year’s highly anticipated Pride Island. This two-day (and night!) affair takes place on June 29 and 30 at Pier 97 (at 57th Street and the West Side Highway). The event features a massive dance party on the Hudson River, with celebrity performers and surprise guest stars.
NYC Dyke March
The NYC Dyke March begins at 5pm on Saturday, June 29, at Bryant Park. Note that this is a protest march, not a parade, and is open to dykes and/or self-identified women. The event usually ends with a protest in Washington Square Park.