LGBT groups protest bigotry at Easter parade

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Louis Flores at Easter protestConnecting Rainbows and Queer Rising cause a stir in New York.

On Easter Sunday, LGBT activists from two different groups walked down Fifth Avenue at the Easter Parade in New York City in memory of Americans whose lives have been lost as a result of prejudice and hate against them. The groups formed two processions, starting from 44th and 57th streets and walking through thousands of people down Fifth Avenue.

 

Easter Parade LGBT protest crowd

Protest at St. Patricks Cathedral drew many onlookers and participants. Lt. Dan Choi in black suit, right hand side, while Louis Flores (event speaker) in black polo shirt, is seen on far left. Photos by Javier Soriano.

They carried signs showing the  faces of some of those killed or driven to suicide due to homophobic bigotry. Both processions met in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and were led by a large banner that read, “Protect the Sanctity of Our Lives. Full Civil Rights NOW!”

Jake Goodman, a member of Queer Rising, said, “The New York Times reported that a study by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that 74% of American Catholics support the right of gay citizens to marry or form civil unions. Our experience today, being warmly welcomed by the Catholic community as we protested in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Easter Sunday, affirmed these results and proved that the Catholic Church is out of step with its constituents and moral decency.”

NEWS_easter-parade-protest_signActivists picked Easter Sunday to increase their visibility because in March Archbishop Timothy Dolan, other Bishops, and other New York Catholics traveled to Albany to lobby state leaders to ”oppose efforts to redefine marriage.” In the last year, there has been reported a spree of hate crimes against LGBT Americans, including a public spike in LGBT teen suicides. According to the protestors, this loss of life will continue as long as our culture encourages heterosexism. Opposing marriage equality, they said, feeds the hate that causes people to see LGBT people as “others” in society, making them easier targets for hate and violence, and causing LGBT people to take their own lives.

During Easter services in New York City, some Catholics were handed a flyer opposing an upcoming New York State Senate vote on marriage equality. “Catholics are being lied to by their own clergy,” say the activists. The claims in the flyer, they say, are baseless. “This is in stark contrast to the truth we brought to the people on this glorious day,” said Alan Bounville, one of the organizers.

At noon, once the groups reached St. Patrick’s Cathedral, two Catholics who are also gay men, Brendan Fay and William Burger, went inside the cathedral to light candles.

Easter Parade votive candles lighting.Said Burger, “I went inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral with Brendan and we lit two candles, one in grief and one for hope! Grief for those LGBT youth whose lives were cut short by suicide and anti-gay violence and prejudice.” 

Fay said, “I lit a second candle for hope–for the passage of equal civil marriage rights in New York.”

While the candle lighting was taking place, co-organizer Louis Flores gave a speech to the crowd that had formed outside the cathedral. He urged all who support the fight for equality to rise up and become active in fighting for their own rights and those of others. Then, the group of protestors led the singing of the hymn “This Little Light of Mine,” while names of LGBT murder and suicide victims were shouted at the doors of the cathedral.

Link to speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCNriHBmbts

Louis Flores at Easter protestConnecting Rainbows and Queer Rising cause a stir in New York.

On Easter Sunday, LGBT activists from two different groups walked down Fifth Avenue at the Easter Parade in New York City in memory of Americans whose lives have been lost as a result of prejudice and hate against them. The groups formed two processions, starting from 44th and 57th streets and walking through thousands of people down Fifth Avenue.