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. “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.”
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.”
The trans community is always well-represented in the Pride March. Last June, 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. Organizers have been encouraging trans participation in recent years, with Cecilia Chung, Jazz Jennings, Brooke Guinan and Gavin Grimm serving as past Grand Marshals.
But the March is only one of many activities happening in the City during Pride Week. Below is a selection of other events of interest to trans people and their allies:
Trans Day of Action
Mya Byrne, who identifies as “a proud trans leatherdyke,” is a fan of this event: “It was the first place I was openly trans.” 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.The 15th annual edition is organized by the Audre Lorde Project, with details to be announced soon.
“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, 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.”
Friedman also recommends this two-day (and night!) affair which takes place on the last weekend of June. The event features a massive dance party on the Hudson River, with celebrity performers and surprise guest stars. Last edition's entertainment featured Tove Lo, Big Freedia and Australian pop queen Kylie Minogue.
NYC Dyke March
The NYC Dyke March begins at 5pm on Saturday, June 29, at the intersection of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. 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.