NEW YORK (AP) – There were protests, rainbow flags, performances and everything else typical of LGBT pride parade day.
But what is normally a crowd of people on the streets of New York City, looked a little different this year, due to the social distancing measures implemented because of the coronavirus.
With the huge LGBT pride parade canceled in the city, Sunday’s performances were virtual, flags flew in empty seats, and the few protesters wore face masks.
The ravages of the virus would be aggravating in any year, but they were particularly so in this edition: the 50th anniversary of the first LGBT pride parade in New York City.
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“It’s a very good thing because the original parade started with the civil rights movement,” said Matthew Fischer as he passed a bottle of hand sanitizer gel in Foley Square. “So we are really going back to the roots of that and making sure to encompass everything that empowers people to be who they are.”
Fischer said this year it was important to show cooperation between black communities and the LGBTQ, due to the wave of protests against racism and police brutality.
Several people in the crowd at Foley Square held signs reading “All African American lives matter” with a black fist surrounded by rainbow colors. Most wore face masks, although some rejected social distancing to hug their friends. A man was holding a poster promoting free hugs.
Associated Press journalist Jim Mustian contributed to this report.