Mayors

The Mayors and the Gay Pride Parade

Everyone loves a parade. Especially New York City mayors. Usually front and center—mayors march on every occasion—Veterans Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Columbus Day, Steuben Day, Puerto Rican Day, Norwegian Day (yes, in case you missed it, the 2019 Norwegian Day parade stepped off in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, on May 19).

And this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio will join an estimated 150,000 marchers when New York City hosts WorldPride and the 50th anniversary of the uprising at the Stonewall Inn which galvanized the modern gay rights movement. In the blog this week we highlight photographs depicting New York City mayors marching in the annual Gay Pride parades.

The first Gay Pride parade took place on June 28, 1970, the one year anniversary of Stonewall. There is correspondence in the Municipal Archives indicating that mayoral staff members knew about the parade, but then-Mayor John Lindsay did not participate. Nor did his successor, Abraham Beame, during his term in office from 1974 through 1977.

Mayor Edward Koch marched in the 1985 Gay Pride parade with Judge Willliam Thom, New York’s first openly gay judge. June 30, 1985. Photographer: Holland Wemple. Edward I. Koch Collection, NYC Municipal Archives.

Edward Koch was the first New York City mayor to march in the Gay Pride parade. In 1985, the New York Times reported that it was the Mayor's first “official” appearance in the march—having joined it, unannounced, as it was ending in the prior year. The poster in this image is partially cut-off—it says “Pass the Gay Rights Bill Now.” Known as Intro. 475, the bill had been first introduced in the City Council in January, 1971. It eventually would amend the Human Rights Law and extend the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on a persons’ sexual orientation. In 1986, the Council finally passed the bill and Koch signed it into law on April 2, 1986.

Mayor David Dinkins marched in the 1993 Gay Pride parade with Assembly Member Deborah Glick, the first openly gay state legislator elected in New York State. June 27, 1993. Photographer: Edward Reed. MAyor David N. Dinkins Collection, NYC Municipal Archives.

David Dinkins’ supported the LGBT community prior to his election as Mayor in 1989, and sustained his commitment throughout his mayoralty. His photographs document numerous receptions and press conferences related to LGBT events as well as the June 27, 1993 parade. “It’s not unusual for me,” Mr. Dinkins said about taking part in the parade. “I’m here every year.”

Mayor Giuliani’s photographers used color film to capture the iconic rainbow colors of the LGBT movement. June 24, 2001. Photographer: Edward Reed. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani Collection, NYC Municipal Archives.

Giuliani’s photographers recorded his participation in the 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2001 Gay Pride parades. During the 2001 march on June 24, 2001, Giuliani was joined by the then candidate-for-mayor Michael Bloomberg. The “Stonewall Car” is a 1969 Cadillac Coupe de Ville convertible. Photographer: Edward Reed. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani Collection, NYC Municipal Archives.

Mayor Bloomberg marched with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the 2008 Gay Pride parade. June 29, 2008. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Collection, NYC Municipal Archives.

The de Blasio family marches in the 2015 Pride Parade, June 28, 2015. Photographer: Rob Bennett. Two days earlier, on June 26, the U.S.  Supreme Court  held in a 5–4 decision that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all states to grant  same-sex marriages  and recognize  same-sex marriages  granted in other states.

The de Blasio family marches in the 2015 Pride Parade, June 28, 2015. Photographer: Rob Bennett. Two days earlier, on June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 5–4 decision that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all states to grant same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states.

During the 2016 Pride festivities, Mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray, with Al Sharpton and Cynthia Nixon stand before the Stonewall Inn, June 26, 2016. Photographer: Michael Appleton. On June 24, 2016, President Obama had dedicated the Stonewall National Monument as the first official National Park Service unit dedicated to telling the story of LGBT Americans. June 26, 2016

Inauguration Day

Monday begins a new year—2018— and it is also Inauguration Day in New York City. Unlike the mid-day presidential inauguration of January 20th, New York mayors traditionally begin their terms at 12:01 a.m. on January 1st. For an incoming mayor, this often means holding a private swearing-in at midnight, followed by a public ceremony the next day. For an incumbent mayor there is no need to transfer duties, but the mayor still has a swearing-in ceremony to begin the next term. Depending on weather conditions these have been large outdoor affairs or smaller indoor ones.