Millions pack São Paulo's streets for pride parade

By admin

Originally published on Advocate.com June 11 2007 11:00 PM ET

Millions of
people packed the streets of São Paulo, Brazil, for
what organizers said was the world's largest gay pride
parade, dancing and waving rainbow flags in a
carnival-like atmosphere to condemn homophobia,
racism, and sexism.

At least 3
million people filled the canyon-like Paulista Avenue on
Sunday, organizers said, surpassing last year's count of 2.5
million. The larger count was confirmed by a police
spokesman who is not authorized to be quoted by name
under department rules.

''This is the
biggest parade on the planet,'' tourism minister Marta
Suplicy said. ''Our city is showing, once again, its respect
for diversity.''

In comparison,
recent gay pride parades in New York and San Francisco
have drawn tens of thousands of people, and world gay pride
day celebrations in Berlin in 2004 attracted between
200,000 and 500,000 participants.

Parade organizer
Nelson Matias Pereira said this year's participants are
appealing for a ''world where racism, sexism, and
homophobia, in all their forms, no longer exist.''

Trucks blasting
disco and electronic music rolled through the streets,
followed by marchers carrying banners with slogans such as
''Dignity for All'' and ''All Forms of Love Bring Us
Closer to God.''

''There is no
question the prejudice we have suffered for years has
diminished a lot,'' said one marcher, mechanic Sebastiao
Pereira Rodrigues, who was wearing black leather
shorts and a tight purple T-shirt. ''But it's still
there and we still a long way to go.'' (Stan Lehman,
AP)