Pride and politics on display for NYC's annual march

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Tennis legend Billie Jean King will be one of the grand marshals of New York City's gay pride march as cities around the world hold LGBT pride events. Finally the Fifth Avenue portion of the parade will proceed northbound through the dispersal point at 29th Street.

Many groups approved to march heeded the edict (can we say sheep?) providing their participants with some form of black shirt displaying the appropriate corporate logo and Pride-friendly message.

Toronto's annual Pride Parade, usually a colourful and joyous celebration, was sombre at times on Sunday as marchers and spectators remembered the alleged victims of suspected serial killer Bruce McArthur.

The Toronto Triggerfish Water Polo club is pictured at the 2018 Pride parade.

Tory, who was wearing a black polo shirt with a pride flag on it, bristled when I asked him about the attendance, saying the rain convinced some people not to come. The self-employed landscaper was arrested and charged with eight-counts of first-degree murder earlier this year.

Police have come under fire from the LGBTQ community in recent years.

Organizers say 50,000 people participate in the annual parade. Members of Black Lives Matter interrupted the parade in 2016 and presented several demands, including uniformed officers be excluded from marching.

Danielle Botineau, LGBTQ liaison officer for Toronto police, has been involved in the working groups that are trying to find a constructive way to move forward. "We still live in a country for now where you can be open, you can protest, you can make your voice heard".

The theme of this year's march was "Defiantly Different".

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who danced beside Ontario NDP leader Andrea Howarth and a hoard of the party's supporters for much of the route, said that Pride will always be faced with discussions that are hard because it is a "revolutionary movement to take space for a community that has always been marginalized". "There's been concerns around a trust that's broken down", he said, calling for the end of carding.

Ontario's premier-designate Doug Ford did not attend this year's parade.

Her sign said what was on everyone's minds, most especially those who watched the parade from afar, choosing to stay away once again because of ridiculous ban on police participation in uniform in the parade, a ban that started past year.

"It's very important that we are here (in the parade)", McCaffrey said.

"The LGBTQ community needs celebrations like this and ways to come together when we face hard situations, which is exactly what we've been facing", he said.

"We are just excited to be here", she said.

Victoria Justice made a colorful statement as she sat on amfAR and Amazon's float at the NYC Pride parade today.

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