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Boston's 49th Pride Parade Celebrates LGBTQ Strides

Britany Wade, left, with sister Brianna Strange celebrate at Boston's 49th Pride Parade celebration at Copley Square. (Quincy Walters/WBUR)
Britany Wade, left, with sister Brianna Strange celebrate at Boston's 49th Pride Parade celebration at Copley Square. (Quincy Walters/WBUR)

There was sea of rainbows as several thousands gathered at Copley Plaza for Boston's 49th Pride Parade on Saturday to celebrate the LGBTQ community and remember the Stonewall riot of 1969.

Marking the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, which ushered in the modern fight for LGBTQ visibility and equality, the Pride Parade's theme was "Looking Back, Loving Forward."

Saturday was 25-year-old Brianna Strange's first Pride. She said she's never been because her family wasn't accepting of her bisexuality.

"My mom was more accepting this year, so I figured why not be who I am without hiding," Strange said. "I feel more comfortable around these people."

Ian Ruoff (center) with friends Elias Sterling (left) and Mars Drake (right) at Boston's 49th annual Pride Parade celebration. (Quincy Walters/WBUR)
Ian Ruoff (center) with friends Elias Sterling (left) and Mars Drake (right) at Boston's 49th annual Pride Parade celebration. (Quincy Walters/WBUR)

This was Ian Ruoff's second Pride. He came from New Hampshire with friends. He said despite there being more acceptance, Pride is something that still needs to exist.

"There's still a stigma about [being LGBTQ] and there are people who need to know they're accepted," he said. "It's a great convergence of community. It's a loving place and it's going to be needed for a while."

Not all at Boston Pride were there to celebrate. Three men gathered in front of the Old South Church, holding a sign that read "Turn To Jesus Or Burn."

Michael Wright said he was there "to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to every creature at the the Pride parade."

David Sigel, dressed in drag, tried to offer the men a rose, which they rejected.

Other Pride participants quarreled with the group, calling them hateful and bigoted.

"It's not being hateful. People just hate the truth," Wright said, leaning against the brick facade of the Old South Church, of which he is not a member.

Martha Schick is a congregant of the church and asked Wright not to lean against the building because it's technically private property. Schick, who identifies as a member of the LGBT community, said she and other folks from the Old South Church were marching in the parade to show their interpretation of God's message.

"Christ's love extends to everybody — not excluding people because of their gender or their sexuality — but because of their gender and sexuality," she said.

Saturday’s events cap a week of celebrations that started with the raising of a rainbow flag at Boston City Hall on May 31.

Related:

Quincy Walters Twitter Reporter
Quincy Walters is a general assignment reporter for WBUR.

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