PHOTOS: The Rally Kicks Off Pride Weekend in NYC

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com June 29 2014 5:57 PM ET

It was a magical night at Pier 26 at Hudson River Park as a celebratory crowd cheered some of their favorote entertainers, activists, and LGBT personalities. Thanks to Michelle Kinney for these great photos.

Current Advocate cover girl Laverne Cox is a critically acclaimed actress who can be seen in the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black where she plays the ground breaking role of Sophia Burset, an incarcerated African American, transgender woman. The show returns for its highly anticipated 2nd season June 6, 2014. Laverne is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show and Time magazine named ‘Sophia Burset’ the 4th most influential fictional character of 2013.

Betty Who’s debut single "Somebody Loves You" was initially released independently as a free download, and was premiered by pop music blogger and at-the-time official Grammy blogger Arjan Writes on November 30, 2012. Cowritten by Newham and Thomas, and produced by Thomas, the song garnered immediate praise, spreading quickly online and being featured by other well known outlets including Socialite Life, Pop On And On, and Popservations. A music video, directed by Evan Savitt, was released in January 2013, and an official remix by acclaimed indie pop producer FM Attack was released in March 2013. In March 2014, "Somebody Loves You" reached number one on Billboard's Dance/Club Play Songs chart.
www.bettywhomusic.com

2013 proved to be a career defining year for Demi Lovato, Demi (2013) became her most ground breaking international album to date, her book, Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year became a New York Times best-seller, she returned to television as a judge and mentor on The X-Factor and starred in Fox’s hit series Glee, she collaborated on an innovative nail line, and continued to support charities close to her heart.

While many of the rioters from that night fell victim to drugs or the AIDS crises in the ’80s, Martin Boyce and Danny Garvin are two of less than twenty confirmed survivors, calling themselves the Stonewall Veterans. They’ve been immortalized in David Carter’s Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, saluted in the PBS documentary Stonewall Uprising and have been invited as guest speakers to participate in discussions on the gay rights movement over the four decades since. And on days like today, when NYC Pride takes to the streets and the riots’ anniversary is marked by the Pride Parade, which noncoincidentally ends on Christopher street right next to Stonewall, their contributions to the gay rights movement is brought to the forefront once again.

AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) is an international direct action advocacy group working to impact the lives of people with AIDS (PWAs) and the AIDS pandemic to bring about legislation, medical research and treatment and policies to ultimately bring an end to the disease by mitigating loss of health and lives. ACT UP was effectively formed in March 1987 at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York. Larry Kramer was asked to speak as part of a rotating speaker series, and his well-attended speech focused on action to fight AIDS. Kramer spoke out against the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), which he perceived as politically impotent. Kramer had co-founded the GMHC but had resigned from its board of directors in 1983. According to Douglas Crimp, Kramer posed a question to the audience: "Do we want to start a new organization devoted to political action?" The answer was "a resounding yes." Approximately 300 people met two days later to form ACT UP. James and Mathew, activists with ACT UP New York, shared their impassioned views on current events.

Carl Siciliano is a nationally recognized advocate and provider for homeless LGBT youth who has been dedicated to this population since 1994. His programs have been widely recognized for their quality and innovation.From 1994 to 2001, Siciliano worked as the Director of Homeless Youth Services for Safe Space NYC Inc. During that time, he created an innovative continuum of services for homeless teens, including a 24-hour drop-in center, a citywide street outreach program, a scattered site emergency housing program, and a residential program for HIV-positive teens. The federal government officially designated Siciliano’s program a "Special Project of
National Significance.”

In 2002, Siciliano founded the Ali Forney Center (AFC), which has grown to become the nation’s largest and most comprehensive housing program for homeless LGBT youth. The Ali Forney Center offers emergency housing, transitional housing, a drop-in center, a vocational/educational center and a mix of supportive services that help LGBT youth become successful, independent adults. AFC has been recognized for its exceptional work by various organizations including Gay Men’s Health Crisis (Humanitarian Award, 2004), the Anti Violence Project (Courage Award, 2006), the Empire State Pride Agenda (Community Service Award, 2006) and the Brooklyn Lambda Independent Democrats (LID Award, 2007.) Siciliano's work has also received extensive coverage in local and national print and broadcast media. In 2002, he was named by OUT magazine as one of the 100 Outstanding Gay Achievers. His work has also been recognized by the Stonewall Democrats of NYC in 2006, and in 2007 he was awarded the Brooke Astor Service Award, which is given to someone who is relentless in his or her dedication to the city of New York and who has contributed substantially to its enrichment. Today Siciliano continues to fight for the rights and empowerment of homeless LGBT youth through the growth and outreach of the Ali Forney Center.

In March 2013 Judah Gavra competed in Eurovision Israel 2013 (Kdam Eurovision) with his song "We're Beautiful" and received rave reviews for his performance. After a period in New York, teaching music, dancing and acting in a Jewish summer camp, Judah found himself in Israel again, planning to study performing arts in Israel. But then he got an unexpected phone call: his ex-commander from the Army, where he had served as a singer in the Rabanuth Choir, asked him if he would like to be a cantor in a synagogue in Brooklyn during Yom Kippur. The new visit led him to reconsider schools in the city.

Susan Sarandom, a long time ally, addresses the crowd.

Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is one of the most prominent leaders in the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movement. Carey, who came to the Task Force in 2004 as deputy executive director, has served as executive director since 2008. Through her leadership, Carey has advanced a vision of fairness and justice for LGBT people and their families that is broad, inclusive and unabashedly progressive. Some of the Task Force’s successes during Carey’s tenure have include being a key player in passage of the LGBT-inclusive federal hate crimes prevention law; the defeat of multiple anti-LGBT ballot measures across the country; the creation and implementation of the New Beginning Initiative coalition, which secures federal administrative policy changes to improve the lives of LGBT people and their families; and the release of the largest-ever study on transgender discrimination in the U.S. Under her guidance, the Task Force has also launched an Online Academy bolstering grassroots power by providing electronic access to its signature training programs; expanded its faith work through the Institute for Welcoming Resources, increasing the number of welcoming and affirming congregations to well over 4,000; and played a vital role in getting the U.S. Census Bureau to report married same-sex couples in the 2010 census. The Task Force also hosts the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, which is the largest convening of LGBT activists and supporters in the country and serves as a driving force for strategy and organizing on LGBT issues.

Prior to her work with the Task Force, Carey worked extensively in HIV/AIDS prevention and in the LGBT community as one of the co-founders of Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence and the founding executive director of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. She has also served as an advisor to major donors and foundations, and has served on the advisory boards for such wide-ranging publications as Teen People magazine and the Georgetown University Journal of Gender and the Law. Carey She serves on the Advisory Board of the LGBTQ Policy Journal, of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


The Imperial Court of New York was founded in 1986 under the reign of Their Imperial Majesties Emperor I George The First and Empress I Sybil The First. As they tell us, "We are now in our 28th reign under the monarchy of Their Most Imperial Sovereign Majesties Emperor XXIII Tony Monteleone and Empress XXVIII Twinkle Montgomery. Our membership includes Lords and Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses, Princes and Princesses — all enjoying the “game” of court and royalty while raising much needed social awareness and money for deserving charities in the New York tri-state area. The Court, a part of the International Court System, is a social, fundraising organization which has raised millions of dollars for socialservice and health-support organizations. In addition to our own fundraising, we often lend our support and talent to the ventures of other charitable organizations by performing, selling raffles or just adding glamour and style!

Jacob Rudolph grew up in Parsippany, New Jersey with his loving parents, brother, and dog. As a child, Jacob discovered his love of music and began playing classical piano and trumpet at age 9. In high school, he was a passionate member of the Parsippany High School Band. Jacob made headlines when a video of him publicly coming out on January 18, 2013, as a “LGBT” teen in front of more than 300 classmates went viral with over 2,000,000 views. As a result, Jacob received national attention via interviews with Thomas Roberts on MSNBC, Anderson Cooper, Joy Behar, Don Lemon on CNN, as well as numerous radio and print interviews. Jacob has been working with groups such as GLAAD and Garden State Equality to become a national spokesperson for LGBT youth. He devoted much time and effort to the successful campaign in NJ to ban sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), and he strives to help ban SOCE in all 50 states. A student at the University of Miami, in Florida, Jacob is pursuing Communication Studies with a concentration in Public Advocacy with academic minors in Music, Political Science, and LGBTQ Studies. He is very active with UMiami’s undergraduate LGBTQ organization, SpectrUM, and works hard to improve student life on and off campus. He is also a 2014 Point Foundation Scholar and the recipient of the Rim-Freeman Scholarship for having demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the LGBTQ community.

This raven-haired “always keepin’ it real” chick can be heard daily, dishing out the fierce humor and fast wisecracks that she has become known for. But radio is not the only place you have heard Michelle Visage, or SEEN her for that matter. Michelle was on VH1 for 2 years hosting live coverage of such glamorous events as: The Grammy Awards, the Los Angeles premiere of Paramount’s Grease (anniversary re-release), Universal’s Blues Brothers 2000, and The Viewer’s Choice Awards to name a few. She is currently a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race on the LOGO Network which debuts it’s 3rd season in January. This glamorous firecracker finished arts high school in South Plainfield, New Jersey at 17 and headed for the Big Apple to follow her dream of becoming an actress. To pay the bills, Michelle auditioned for her first gig, fresh out of college (The American Musical and Dramatic Academy), and landed it. It was a coveted spot in the all girl group Seduction, signed to A&M records in 1990. A year later, Michelle had a platinum-selling album with Seduction called Nothing Matters Without Love. The album spawned 4 top 10 hits, with their gold single “Two To Make It Right” going all the way to number 2! Michelle achieved drinking age while on an 8 month national tour with Milli Vanilli (when they were selling out 60,000 seat venues). Not bad for a beginner!

After Seduction ended, Michelle went back into the studio and wrote and sang the remake of Bill Withers’ “It’s Gonna Be A Lovely Day”, and the song was immediately signed to Arista Records by Clive Davis himself! The song was featured on Whitney Houston’s smash The Bodyguard soundtrack, which ultimately sold 35 million copies! Even divas need day jobs, and the combo of her music and pop culture savvy, comedic timing and sass made her a natural for morning radio and for the past 15 years, that is where she has been all over the country! She started her morning radio career on New York City’s WKTU 103.5 co-hosting morning drive with legendary drag superstar RuPaul. She did mornings on KTU from 1996 until the end of 2001 when she left for Los Angeles and helmed morning drive there at KHHT (HOT 92.3) with co-host comedian Sinbad for 6 months until they decided to make a change and give the morning show to Michelle alone! Michelle remained on the air in LA for 3 years until NYC came calling again to kick off NY’s one and only classic dance radio station, MIX 102.7 (WNEW) where she stayed for 2 years hosting morning drive. She spent 4 years in West Palm Beach Florida on SUNNY 104.3 where she co-hosted morning drive. And the last year on MIA in Miami. She was on the air on SIRIUS satellite radio from 2003-2006 daily on 66 THE BEAT and Michelle was also the imaging voice on that channel as well. Additionally, (as if that is not enough) Michelle did a weekly entertainment report for 2FM Ireland Radio.

The Sharon Needles Band. Recording artist and winner of season four of Rupaul's Drag Race. A self-described "stupid genius, reviled sweetheart, and PBR princess," Needles rose to prominence on the fourth season of the Logo reality competition where she quickly became a fan favorite and was subsequently crowned "America's Next Drag Superstar.” Throughout the fourth season of Drag Race, Needles endeared herself to audiences and became a favorite of the media, judges, and viewers alike for her quick wit, confidence, and humility, as well as for her unique aesthetic.

The Sharon Needles Band

The Sharon Needles Band