New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn headed a ceremony at City Hall titled, A Celebration of LGBT Pride – Marching Forward Together as the city that spawned the gay pride movement at Stonewall begins its PRIDE week festivities.
The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was the “Queen of all Media”, the legendary Wendy Williams, who has always received love from the LGBT community and given it back (see Wendy's ceremony opening speech). Other highlights were an invocation given by the Rev. Jacqui Lewis, the Pledge of Allegiance by Lt. Dan Choi, a musical performance by 4-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald with the Brooklyn Pride Center and the Q-Wave (activist group dedicated to queer women and transgender/gender variant women of Asian descent) also being honored for their tireless work for the community.
“My life has gotten so much more magical since I’ve come out,” said Chely Wright, the country singer who has only been out for “five weeks” and who had told her story on Oprah. Wright then recalled her epiphany — and uttered the other memorable line of the night — that by staying in the closet, she was actually committing a hate crime against herself. She quickly lightened the mood with her half-joking admission that she’d been stalking Speaker Quinn for awhile before she came out, to the delight of all present (video below).
Speaker Quinn concluded at the press conference, “The important thing to do is to keep moving forward, to be buoyed and affirmed by the people who are standing with you and marching with you.”
The packed house did, in fact, depart affirmed by those around them, and determined that the Jorge Steven López Mercados of the world haven’t given their lives in vain. We will march forward, together, carrying them with us into a brighter new day for all. ~ tS