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Marching to Her Own Beat

Marching to Her Own Beat

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Nbroverman

New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade gets a lot of attention for refusing to allow gay groups to participate in its festivities, but for years the city's India Day Parade carried on with the same gay ban. After pressure from local officials like council speaker Christine Quinn and political hopefuls like attorney Reshma Saujani, a gay south Asian group was allowed to march on Sunday.

"Inclusiveness and tolerance are what the Indian community are about," Saujani says. "If they didn't let the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association march, I told the organizers I wouldn't march."

In the days leading up to the parade, Saujani -- a 34-year-old Indian-American woman vying for New York's 14th congressional district seat -- sent a letter to the Federation of Indian Associations, which organizes the India Day Parade. The letter stated that Saujani would encourage other people to not participate in the parade should SALGA be prevented from marching, which it had been for almost 10 years.

"It was a big step in the right direction as far as the community embracing everyone regardless of sexual orientation," Saujani says of the federation's decision to allow the gay group.

Saujani marched behind SALGA in the parade, which she said went off without a hitch. The aspiring politician is hoping to unseat Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, in office since 1993, in the September 14 Democratic primary. Both women are vocal gay rights advocates -- Maloney supports marriage equality and voted for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

But Saujani wants to make it clear how important gay rights are to her platform: "Marriage equality is the civil rights issue of my time."

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Neal Broverman

Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.