Major Pride celebrations took place in Berlin, New York, Toronto, Chicago and San Francisco over the weekend.
The parades traditionally take place in June to commemorate the historic Stonewall riots, in which patrons of a New York gay bar fought against a police raid in June 1969.
In the German capital, an estimated 400 000 people took to the streets on Saturday to celebrate gay and lesbian identity. The participants were also protesting again discrimination against same-sex couples and to demand equality in schools and in the workplace. Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, took part in the event.
North America saw four of the continent’s biggest gay Pride events take place on Sunday.
Around a million people took part or watched the Pride parade in New York. The issue of same-sex marriage, and a pending bill to legalise gay unions in the State, was at the top of the marchers’ mind. The parade down Fifth Avenue was led by representatives from various religions, including Christians, Jews and Buddhists.
In San Francisco, Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, took part in the city’s Pride event. At a news conference, she told reporters that, “I’m completely comfortable with gay marriage.” Same-sex marriage is also a hot issue in the state, with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger threatening to block a pro same-sex union bill.
Chicago’s Pride event saw the opening of a new $20-million LGBT Community Centre, which will offer gay and lesbian citizens educational, recreational and social services and events.
In Toronto, almost a million people watched the Canadian city’s Pride parade, consisting of thousands of participants and a plethora of colourful floats. Mayor David Miller took part in the event, which was held under the theme of “Unstoppable.” It’s estimated that the week long Pride event preceding and including the parade provides an $80 million boost to the economy.