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Trump denounced, Trudeau marched: Pride celebrations across North America

Participants take part in the LGBT Pride March in the Manhattan borough of New York City, US, June 25, 2017. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 26, 2017, 06.48 AM (IST)

Pride was celebrated differently across North America, with the East coast taking on a more political tone and the West making it more of a party, Reuters reports. No doubt each city contained mixes of each, but perhaps the strains were detectable. 

The political backlash concerned Trump, who promised during the election to protect gay people. But his move in February to revoke the Obama administration's guidance letting transgender students choose which gender bathroom they use, and his executive order last month to promote religious liberty have been seen by some as discriminatory.

Chelsea Manning, the transgender US Army soldier who served seven years in prison for leaking classified data before former President Barack Obama granted her clemency, attended Pride in New York.

Manning, was released from a military prison in May.

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A group of marchers heading down New York's Fifth Avenue carried photographs of US President Donald Trump and his press secretary, Sean Spicer, as others waved banners bearing the word "RESIST" and the rainbow flag of the Pride movement.

Brad Hoylman, a Democratic lawmaker in the New York State Senate, told Reuters that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were "under assault" by the Trump administration. "He already rolled back rights for transgender students, for example, and the list is on and on," he said. "So we have a lot more work to do, that's why we are here today."

NYC march's grand marshals this year include the American Civil Liberties Union, which was chosen for its history of litigation defending gay rights; Brooke Guinan, a transgender woman who works as a firefighter in the city; and Geng Le, a gay rights activist in China.

"Pride this year is showing that we are here, we are queer, and we are not going to sit down for anything less than full rights, full equality," said Austin Anderson, a 28-year-old advertising worker who attended  the New York march.

The march route ends on Christopher Street in Manhattan's West Village to commemorate the riots that broke out there in 1969 after police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, in an event seen as a turning point in the gay rights movement. New York's first Pride march started near by the following year.

 

San Fran

San Francisco had a few anti-Trump signs too, but the theme of the day was letting loose. "It's too good a day to be upset about Trump," said Richard Babb, 66, of San Francisco to Reuters.

Revelers had to pass through one of dozens of metal security detectors to get into the main plaza. "Happy Pride everyone!" a security monitor yelled to the crowd, as people cheered and saluted. "Have fun today."

Two gay cousins attended the parade dressed in tutus and unicorn headbands. "We see this as a party, not a political protest," Qiaira McPeters, 18, said. Despite that, McPeters said that she feels things for gay people have been getting worse. "Gay people are getting beat up all the time," she said.

 

Toronto, Canada

The city known as "TO" had thousands of revellers take to the streets. Toronto Pride has recently become a more political affair, with Black Lives Matter (BLM) insisting in 2016 that uniformed police officers no longer have their customary float or booths in future Pride parades. BLM shut down last year's parade until the demands were agreed to, which they eventually were.

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It's been a hot point of contention. Members of BLM Toronto argued that allowing uniformed officers at the parade could discourage marginalised communities from attending, according to The Toronto Star. Toronto's BLM has inspired NYC's chapter of BLM, who made the same demand yesterday, CBC reports.

But political inclusion was on display too, as the event was attended by the city's mayor, the province's premier, and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

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Many at Toronto Pride simply let loose and partied.

"The March seemed very safe, fun, lots of dancing in the streets and drag queens and crowds," Toronto photographer Becca Lemire told WION.  

March participants carry a massive Pride flag through the streets of downtown Toronto. Photo source: Becca Lemire photography. (Others)

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Seattle

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, the first openly gay person to hold that job, joined the parade with his husband, Michael Shiosaki. "Today we celebrate our unity," he said in a video posted on Twitter.

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Hundreds of people marched in downtown Seattle in unusually hot weather, many in skimpy outfits and carrying pink balloons. A rainbow flag was hoisted to the top of the city's iconic Space Needle.

The Seattle Police Department, which put rainbow-colored decals on their patrol cars, said a group of people blocked the parade route for about 30 minutes to hold a sit-in in honor of Charleena Lyles, the black mother slain by city police a week ago. There were no arrests, police said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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