There was a sea of rainbows and good vibes this weekend as Pride Week kicked off around the nation.
Gay Pride parades on Sunday drew huge crowds of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, along with their supporters, all of whom gathered to celebrate unity, inclusion, and a year of same-sex marriage victories.
Close to one million people gathered in Chicago’s North Side for the festivities, celebrating Illinois’ recent legalization of same-sex marriages. Parade-goers admitted that there was something different in the air at this year’s event.
“I think there is definitely like an even more sense of pride now knowing that in Illinois you can legally get married now,” said Charlie Gurion, who with David Wilk in February became the first couple in Cook County to get a same-sex marriage license. “I think it is a huge thing, and everybody’s over the moon that they can do it now.”
New York’s famed Fifth Avenue turned into one giant rainbow as thousands gathered to celebrate. Politicians like Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo also walked the lavender painted street all the way from Midtown to Manhattan’s West Village.
The parade marked the 45th anniversary of the pivotal Stonewall riots in 1969 — a catalyst for the gay rights movement in New York City.
Seattle and San Francisco were also among the cities that drew large crowds. Just a year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of landmark rulings in California, one striking down the statue that denied federal recognition to same-sex marriages, and the other allowing gay couples to wed legally in California. A year later, the ripple effect of those rulings has resulted in 19 states and the District of Columbia legalizing gay marriage and the Obama administration moving to extend federal benefits to married gay couples.
To many it was more than just a parade, it represented progress.
“We’re walking to celebrate, to be embraced being who we are around people who are like us, free to express ourselves. Everybody has a different story about how they came out as gay, but we’re all here,” said Yaseena Oatis of Plainfield, New Jersey.
Check out some of our favorite moments below.
SOURCE: HuffPost | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty