Heterosexual Mayoral Candidates Silenced at Queens Pride Parade

A pride marcher added some Venezuelan colors to the Queens Pride Parade. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

A marcher adds some Venezuelan color to the Queens Pride Parade. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

Under a brilliant sunshine with temperatures above 80 degrees, sweating politicians attended the gay pride parade in Jackson Heights, Queens, last Sunday.

This year, New York will choose a new mayor, City Council members, and presidents of all five boroughs. City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, who is openly gay, stole the show.

“Ladies and gentlemen, here we have the great Christine Quinn!” a Quinn’s campaign staff worker repeated over and over a loudspeaker from a white pickup truck decorated with the colors of the gay pride flag.

“This is a political event because it began 20 years ago in response to the murder of Julio Rivera, a gay man,” said Quinn. “But we haven’t finished our work, and we won’t stop until sexual expression and identity are no longer reasons for rejection, discrimination, or killing.”

Next to Quinn stood Councilman Daniel Dromm, who founded the Queens Pride Parade.

Politicians were out in full force at the Queens Pride Parade. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

Politicians, including mayoral candidate Christine Quinn (center), were out in full force at the Queens Pride Parade. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

“We not only remember the death of Julio Rivera, but the murder of Edgar Garzón. Our worst enemy is hiding and that’s why we’re not going back in the closet,” said Dromm.

The other openly gay councilman, Jimmy Van Bramer, also spoke and said that he marched in 1993 and continues to do so “because it’s a matter of human rights.”

There was a moment of silence for Rivera and Garzón.

The ones who were denied an opportunity to speak were the heterosexual candidates, such as City Comptroller John Liu who asked for the microphone, but Dromm didn’t give it to him, not even for a second.

Liu is running for mayor, along with former city Comptroller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who also did not have the chance to speak, only to march.

(Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

State Sen. Jose Peralta (left) last week dropped out of the race for Queens borough president and threw his support behind candidate Melinda Katz (right). (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner did not attend the Queens pride parade. Nor did Councilman Peter Vallone, who is running for Queens borough president. But his opponent, Melinda Katz, did attend. Until last week, state Sen. José Peralta was her political opponent.

“Sen. Peralta stepped out of the race and has decided to support me, which fills me with pride,” said Katz. “As Queens borough president I’m going to advocate for all ethnic groups, especially Latinos so they don’t feel alienated from important issues like employment, education, and housing.”

Parade-goer Marco Romero said he attends every year “because it’s entertaining.” His 9-year-old daughter Natalie was standing by his side and said, “It’s a parade with a lot of things and many colors. That’s why I like it.”

Besides the politicians, the presence of representatives from gay nightclubs was evident, but there were less than in recent years. Businesses such as Lucho’s Place, Bum Bum Bar and Hombres Lounge participated. Gay organizations included Las Buenas Amigas; Queens House Pride Evolution; Cheer New York; Chutney Pride, representing gays from the Caribbean; NYC Lesbian Gay Big Apple Corps. Marching Band, and a delegation from Make the Road New York.

“We have to fight for immigration reform to include gay families,” said Dromm amidst campaign signs in support of Quinn, which had been handed out along the route.

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