Saturday, June 20, 2009

Marching in Syracuse for Gay Rights

ABC News On Campus reporter Michelle San Miguel blogs:

A sea of people carrying rainbow-colored umbrellas paraded down the streets of downtown Syracuse Saturday as marchers celebrated the 21st annual Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Pride Day. The estimated crowd of nearly 700 people attended the event despite the overcast and rainy weather.

The festival began in front of City Hall, as Syracuse Common Council President Bea Gonzalez read a statement from Syracuse Mayor Matthew Driscoll. Shortly after, a rainbow flag was raised above the cheering crowd. This year marks the eighth year the flag was raised in front of City Hall. Before that, there was widespread disagreement about whether the flag should be erected downtown for hundreds to see.

Grand marshals Amit Taneja and Adrea Jaehnig of the Syracuse University LGBT Resource Center led the parade’s “Equality…Nothing More” themed-celebration. Members of the LGBT community and their allies paraded through the streets carrying signs that read statements such as “All families deserve equality” and “Who voted on your marriage?”

Minnie Bruce Pratt, a Syracuse University Women’s and Gender Studies professor, said she remembers in years past when people used to wear paper bags over their heads during similar marches because, if recognized, they could lose custody of their children and lose their jobs.

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