Celebration and defiance mix at New York gay pride parade

Sonia a transgender and acid attack survivor runs a beauty salon

Sonia a transgender and acid attack survivor runs a beauty salon

Another star who made it out was tennis legend Billie Jean King, who rode atop a shiny black auto.

Swaths of Toronto will burst with colour today as LGBTQ revellers hit the streets for the Pride Parade against a backdrop of tensions between the community and the city's police force. "In 2018 ... we celebrate those organizations that have been created to support the community and continue to act as cornerstones for all of us", the heads of Pride Toronto said in a statement.

The festivities - which commemorated the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn that are credited with sparking the gay-rights movement - lived up to its history of activism, as the celebration of LGBTQ life came along with an outcry against policies promoted by President Trump, such as the attempt to ban all transgender people from serving in the military. They also spoke out against policies aimed at other communities, like immigrants and minorities.

"We still have a lot of work do to make sure these things don't happen".

Olivia Nadler, a CT resident attending her third parade, said "people that are oppressed are not going to go away, they're not going to be quiet, they're not going to be ignored". Members of Black Lives Matter interrupted the parade in 2016 and presented several demands, including uniformed officers be excluded from marching.

"It's okay to be who you are and love who you love and dress how you want to dress and do what you want to do because I think it's so important to be who you are and who you love", she said. "I'm getting emotional about it because I think it's so attractive when people are who they are".

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Elected officials, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats, were among those attending the march. "I am wearing this because of what is happening with the police and what has come to light with the Bruce McArthur charges". Placed in Hudson River Park, it has nine boulders with pieces of glass installed in them that can act as prisms and reflect rainbows in sunlight.

The atmosphere in this year's parade was much lighter than last year, when many marchers paid somber tribute to the 49 people killed in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

More than 240 contingents, including floats, groups and other participants, took part with an overall theme of "Generations of Strength".

Mike Morris, a 29-year-old nursing student who came to the parade bare-chested and in a rainbow Speedo, said the allegations against McArthur and strain between the community and police reaffirmed his desire to attend the parade.

In previous years the march started on 5th Avenue and ended on Christopher Street, in the heart of the city's gay district - but in a break with tradition the parade took a new route.

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