New York City’s 49th annual Pride March drew an estimated crowd of 2 million on Sunday to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community–and this year’s theme, “Defiantly Different,” was fitting. As the Trump administration continues its relentless assault on trans rights and throws its support behind business owners who discriminate against gay customers, the Pride March–and Pride Month as a whole–has an even more galvanized energy to it.
Fast Company was at the Pride March to capture the moment and to find out what Pride Month means to people in this current political climate.
“Every Pride [Month] to me is just a celebration of me. I celebrate myself every day anyway, but today is [about] camaraderie. Being gay is not a gender description. Being gay is just being happy and everybody celebrate that happiness.” — Jose Rivera Jr., Jackson, NJ
“Equality for everyone. It just means love for me. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, bi, straight–just togetherness and equality for everyone.” — Cara Cavallo, Jersey City, NJ
“It’s a way to come together after decades of oppression and the lack of community and the lack of symbolism. I’m a straight guy, but I’m standing here for people that I know, people that I love. That’s why I’m here.” — Dylan Blanchard, Chicago, IL
“Love is love. It means equality. It means acceptance. I think a lot of times this community has been fighting for tolerance and now they’re fighting for acceptance and it’s time. And to choose who you want to be and what type of LGBT you relate to. There’s not a certain type of gay. There’s no certain type of queer–it’s just you. I think this community just accepts you as you are.” — Hillary Smith, Bronx, NY
“It’s being open to yourself–you’re finding yourself. I’ve always been really conservative in the way I dress. For me, this is probably the most I’ve dressed like this. Pride is to be more comfortable with myself and I feel more comfortable being around people like myself. It’s a time to just be happy and have freedom within yourself.” — Todd McClain, Bronx, NY
“Pride means you’re being absolutely and completely yourself, and you’re saying fuck what society has told me. If you have people who are judgmental, fuck them because I’m going to be myself. It’s almost a political statement because you’re like, I don’t care what anyone else says–I’m going to be myself. It’s just so beautiful. Everyone’s just doing what they want and saying fuck everything else.” — Jaylan Daniels, Brooklyn, NY