WorldPride In New York City
SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:
WorldPride is officially underway. Around 4 million people are partying and parading in New York City this weekend. Here's a taste of the scene at Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn last night.
(SOUNDBITE OF RALLY)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: When we say happy, you say pride. Happy.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Pride.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Happy.
UNIDENTIFED CROWD: Pride.
MCCAMMON: The most famous gay bar in New York was the site of a rally featuring dozens of performers and speakers. And joining us now from right outside the Stonewall Inn is NPR's Neda Ulaby. Hi, Neda.
NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: Hey, Sarah. Happy Pride.
MCCAMMON: Happy Pride. So I'm guessing they're preparing for another big day there in the village. For someone who's never seen the Stonewall Inn, describe what it's like.
ULABY: Yeah, well it's - I got to tell you, it is a kind of dumpy little bar for a place that has such incredible import in our national consciousness and that left such a mark on history. I am looking right now at a unassuming brick storefront with a kind of boring, beige stucco second floor. It's surrounded by, you know, chi-chi shops. You know, we're in Greenwich Village, which in 1969 was probably a pretty grotty place but right now is super fancy. It's kind of amazing to be sitting here and thinking about that this is the place where, in 1969, LGBT people rose up famously against police brutality and oppression.
MCCAMMON: So kind of a dive but a very beloved and important dive. This is a big anniversary - right? - for the Stonewall Inn?
ULABY: This is the big 50 for the Stonewall riots. And, you know, the Stonewall riots are, of course, credited with kicking off the modern movement for LGBT rights, although it should be noted that it was not the first time that ever happened. There were also uprisings in San Francisco and Los Angeles and a lot of other places.
MCCAMMON: So, Neda, millions of people are there in New York for WorldPride, marking this important weekend. What else is everyone up to?
ULABY: I will be a little bit shocked, Sarah, if there is a mimosa left in Manhattan at the end of this weekend. There are drag brunches, there are dances, there are exhibitions. And you name your LGBT icon and she or he is performing - mostly she's - Madonna, Lady Gaga, Grace Jones, Melissa Etheridge, they are all playing. Lady Gaga actually popped up right here in front of the Stonewall the other day. On Sunday, there's a giant parade. That's the one that is going to sort of take up a lot of the attention, but there are other marches as well. There's the Dyke March that's happening today that's been going on for about 20 years, and that one has a little bit of a whiff of anarchy about it. And then tomorrow there is the Queer Liberation March, which is very much a reaction against the corporatization of the big parade, which is sponsored by Comcast and MasterCard and about a hundred other corporations. And the Queer Liberation March makes a giant point of no corporate floats and no police.
MCCAMMON: Now, of course, this is a celebration, but there are lots of people there this weekend. Are there any worries about security and safety, for example?
ULABY: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, there have been failed attacks on Pride parades in the United States and abroad, including one very recently in West Hollywood. They're putting thousands of officers, both uniformed and plainclothes, on the street. There are bomb-sniffing dogs. There are heavy weapons teams. There's surveillance for unauthorized drones. And, you know, again it's just kind of hard not to think that this all started with Stonewall as an uprising against the police. And now many of the officers working this weekend will themselves be LGBT and the millions of people who are here to celebrate are going to be counting on the police, the same police that used to harass gay people to keep them safe.
MCCAMMON: That's NPR's Neda Ulaby reporting from the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Thanks so much, Neda.
ULABY: Thank you, Sarah. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.