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Youth Express Themselves At New York Pride Event

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's the last weekend of Pride Month, a month to celebrate the history and contributions of LGBTQ Americans. In New York City today, some festivities were focused on kids, especially the family-friendly Youth Pride event.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Yes, Youth Pride. How're we doing today?

(CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: No, honey. I said, how're we doing today?

MARTIN: NPR's Neda Ulaby was there speaking with attendees, like siblings Wyatt and Elliott McDaniel, who identify as transgender. They've come from Syracuse, Ind., to celebrate.

WYATT MCDANIEL: I think it's kind of a unique experience to come here with a family because, like, a lot of people - maybe, like, they're in college, and they're all coming when they're friends. So it's kind of, like, interesting that like something like this can be a family event, too.

ELLIOTT MCDANIEL: Just, there's not many people like us from where we're from. So down here, it's a lot better, I guess.

MARTIN: Sixteen-year-old Lily Esdailes from New Jersey was cringing a bit at her parents, who were not holding back their enthusiasm or their dance moves.

LILY ESDAILES: Everyone gets to be themselves for one day, and I love being able to experience that and not having to hide yourself at all - being able to just express yourself in a way that we normally can't with all the dancing and music and everything.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: Wouldn't it be more fun without your parents?

LILY: No comment.

ZION WILEY: I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm really glad that I came.

ULABY: Sixteen-year-old Zion Wiley dressed conservatively in jeans and a T-shirt. But mom Natasha Wiley made up for it with rainbow stickers on her cheeks and a Pride flag sticking out of her hair.

NATASHA WILEY: We're not from New York. We're from Dallas. And, you know, there's a totally different way of being in Dallas, in the South particularly. Our hometown is a very small town - one red light, you know? That kind of place.

And we've planned this trip, you know, around Youth Pride because I want him to have at least one weekend where he could just be completely free - you know, not have to worry about - and he can wear what he wants to wear. He can be how he wants to be. I just want that for him.

ZION: I'm not really, like, very out about it, as I'd like to. But here, I feel I can - like, I can let loose a little bit.

N. WILEY: He's such a good boy, and I love him so much, and I'm so proud of him.

(SOUNDBITE OF ALBERTO COSTAS' "THE VISION OF THE VISITOR (NANDO PUIG REMIX)")

MARTIN: Thanks to NPR's Neda Ulaby for those voices from Youth Pride in New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF ALBERTO COSTAS' "THE VISION OF THE VISITOR (NANDO PUIG REMIX)") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: June 30, 2019 at 12:00 AM EDT
We incorrectly say siblings Wyatt and Elliott McDaniel traveled from Syracuse, Ind., to celebrate Youth Pride in New York. They came from Syracuse, N.Y.

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