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An Exuberant Strut of Brooklyn’s Diversity Pride was all about love, acceptance, and smiles in Park Slope BY PAUL SCHINDLER

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t was a Saturday evening love fest in Brooklyn. In a June 8 twilight parade down Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue that drew thousands and lasted for hours, the crowd — both activists and elected officials marching and spectators lining the sidewalk for the event’s 15-block stretch — emphasized over and over again that love, acceptance, and diversity were the key words defining LGBTQ Pride in the city’s most populous borough. And if the evening was centered on queer pride, it was also a celebration of pride in the special qualities of Brooklyn and of New York City as whole. For spectator Rosin Kaplan, who grew up in Park Slope, moved elsewhere, including San Francisco and, most recently for five years, New Orleans, moving back to the Flatbush side of Prospect Park three years ago was a welcome coming home. “I would say one of the reasons I’m back in New York is that I didn’t want to have any more anxiety about being gay,” Kaplan said. “After so many years of being stressed about it as an adult, it’s really nice to be older and be like really gay in a really gay city. I mean this city is so gay. It’s so relaxing. It’s normal here to be gay.” Kaplan and her business partner in a T-shirt company, Sasha Rose, who was visiting for 10 days from New Orleans, had spent the afternoon vending their T-shirts at the Pride Festival, and said they were ready to sleep once the parade wrapped up. “We want to be ready to go to Riis Beach tomorrow and be gay there,” Kaplan said. Jeremy Aviles, who was visiting from Orlando, Florida, with a friend, also voiced wonder at the exuberance he came upon at Brooklyn Pride. “It’s amazing, it’s wild for sure, and it’s all about love from what I’m seeing,” he said. Becca Farsace and Allison Talum are a couple who just moved in together in an apartment around the corner from Fifth Avenue after each lived in a different part of the borough. “This is our first time coming,” Farsace said of Brooklyn Pride. “We’re new to the neighborhood but not to Brooklyn. I really dig the community here and it feels smaller and not as commercialized.” Both she and Talum pointed to the large number of families in attendance with their small children. “One thing that’s great is that Park Slope is a real family sort of neighborhood, and I really appreciate that everybody is bringing their kids

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DONNA ACETO

Drag artist Desmond Is Amazing, one of the parade’s grand marshals.

DONNA ACETO

The Dykes on Bikes had their traditional lead position in the parade.

out and seeing the community for what it is, a very loving and accepting neighborhood,” Talum said. City Comptroller Scott Stringer, marching with his wife and two young boys, also pointed to the joys families can find at Brooklyn Pride. “Since Max and Miles were literally born they’ve been going to Pride in Manhattan, but this is the first time they’ve been out at night at Brooklyn Pride,” the comptroller said. “So it’s learning experience, it’s a teaching moment, but it’s great to march with your family… It’s why we raise kids in the city because they get the education of a lifetime, the way I did. And

they’re going to be better for it. Borough President Eric Adams said the Brooklyn event perfectly captures a half century of LGBTQ traditions that have grown up since the Stonewall riots in 1969. “It actually says that the spirit of Harvey Milk, who died in San Francisco, continues to cascade here in Brooklyn with a large parade,” Adams said, before boasting, “It proves that Brooklyn is ground zero for Gay Pride.” Carlos Menchaca, the first out gay member of the City Council elected from Brooklyn, also

➤ BROOKLYN PRIDE, continued on p.23 June 20 - June 26, 2019 | GayCityNews.nyc

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