WorldPride festival concluded in New York this weekend marking 50 years since the Manhattan Stonewall riots. However many LGBT visitors feel they still have to fight for their rights.

The past 20 years have seen huge changes for LGBTQ travellers visiting New York and destinations around the world. This is the sixth international festival since 2000.

Since the first parade in Rome, 26 countries have legalised same-sex marriage.

This fact would have seemed unimaginable when organisers first set out. Even more so since the initial spontaneous St Christopher Street march through Manhattan's Greenwich Village, in 1969.

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Last week the colourful mix of drag queens, LGBTQ activists and civil rights supporters were joined by huge floats from corporate sponsors.

Among the companies represented at the rally are Mastercard, no fewer than four sponsor airlines and the I ❤ NY state tourism board.

However, not everyone was joining the party.

After an estimated 150,000 marchers made their making their way down Fifth and Sixth avenues on Friday, on Sunday the LGBTQ community are heading in an entirely different direction, on an entirely different march.

The Queer Liberation March, which was being run by the Reclaim Pride Coalition, was set up as a rival demonstration to the main WorldPride event.

Stepping off from Christopher St. they marched though New York to observe a moment of silence in Central Park.

It was a protest against what they see as corporate and state "pinkwashing." This being the term given to superficial public support of LGBTQ community as a way to hide less than ideal rights practices in day-to-day operations.

One international visitor taking part in this rival march is Tarek Zeidan, who is visiting New York from Lebanon. Zeidan, a director for the Lebanese LBGTQ charity Helem, said that while that WorldPride is widely celebrated it was important the rival march existed to highlight the issues still affecting LGBTQ travellers.

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Rainbow coalition: Reclaim Pride's rival Liberation march. Photo / Getty Images
Rainbow coalition: Reclaim Pride's rival Liberation march. Photo / Getty Images

"We must remember Pride is not just a celebration but a commemoration of lives lost and powerful vehicle for fighting for our rights, many of which remain under assault all over the world despite recent successes," he told USA Today.

"We really need to reclaim [the LGBTQ movement], especially in these times when the forces that oppressed us and others seem to be resurfacing en masse across the globe," he added.

Molly Merryman, who founded the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at Kent State University, told USA Today that "hell no" she wouldn't be traveling for WorldPride.

She sees no reason to celebrate the Pride Event until WorldPride could call itself a truly inclusive event, the world over "- then maybe I will decide it's time to have a party," she said.

While there are those who feel the work of the original LGBTQ movement has a lot further left to go, the fact that there are so many large New York and international institutions sponsoring Pride events must be a sign of progress. It is certainly a step in the right direction.

Greenwich Village: Stonewall riots rememberance 1970. Photo / Getty Images
Greenwich Village: Stonewall riots rememberance 1970. Photo / Getty Images

Although Pride month has officially finished with this weekend's Christopher St marches, the city is still hosting events for visitors wanting to learn more about the city's LGBTQ culture and the history of Stonewall.

New Yorks Top Pride Destinations

1 Love & Resistance New York Public library until July 14

The pictures of Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies illustrate the era that changed New York's attitudes to the LGBTQ community.
nypl.org/events/exhibitions/stonewall50
2 Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall Brooklyn Museum, until December 8

The Brooklyn gallery is holding an exhibition of art and events inspired by Stonewall
brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/stonewall

Flying the new flag: Leslie-Lohman Museum & LGBTQ Center. Photo / Supplied
Flying the new flag: Leslie-Lohman Museum & LGBTQ Center. Photo / Supplied

3 Leslie-Lohman Museum & LGBTQ Center

The New York museum was the first in the world to dedicate itself to exhibiting and preserving artwork about the LGBTQ experience.
leslielohman.org/about

The Aesthetics of Camp: The Met Gallery's new exhibition curated by Lady Gaga. Photo / Supplied
The Aesthetics of Camp: The Met Gallery's new exhibition curated by Lady Gaga. Photo / Supplied

4 Camp: Notes on Fashion– The Met Gallery September 8

Curated by Lady Gaga, the exhibition celebrates the exuberant aesthetic of Camp and the LGBTQ movement.

metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2019/camp-notes-on-fashion
50 new LGBTQ street art murals

The marchers may be gone, but WorldPride has left a trail of 50 unique artworks, each marking a piece of New York's LGBTQ history.