CULTURE

Here’s How New York City Celebrated a Different Kind of Pride March This Year

The 2020 Pride march in New York City was unlike the parades we’ve seen in past years: no big-name corporate sponsors, not a gussied-up float with celebrities waving rainbow flags in sight. Instead, it was a demonstration called the Queer Liberation March for Black Lives and Against Police Brutality, with thousands walking through the streets of Lower Manhattan, cheering for queer life. It seemed more fitting for this moment, when the United States is in the midst of a mass movement against racism and police brutality, supporting Black Lives Matter. Although the official Pride march has its rightful place in the cultural canon as a way to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community annually, it’s worth noting that this year’s guerilla approach feels more apt—not only against the current societal backdrop, but also given Pride’s roots in protest, resistance, and rebellion. (Signs around the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street reminded passersby that the first Pride march was a riot, and Black trans women led it in the 1960s.) Photographer Andrew Tess attended the rally on Sunday, and took Polaroids of the attendees—who were no less joyful and peaceful than they have been in past years of Pride. In the late afternoon, there was a sudden rush of police presence in the West Village, where demonstrators ended their route at Washington Square Park. According to a report from Gothamist, police officers saw people doing graffiti, and rushed into the crowd to make arrests, pushing people using their nightsticks. Protesters attempted to shield the graffiti artists, and the police responded by pepper spraying more than 10 people in an attempt to clear the crowd. The officers eventually left the march, which promptly turned into a dance party once they’d departed.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Photograph by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Atlas Rose, @atlasrosephoto photographed by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Jeremy Moineau, @jeremymoineau photographed by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Bassem Saad, @bascheme photographed by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Photograph by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Photograph by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Richie Shazam, @richieshazam photographed by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. José Lapaz-Rodríguez, @josextravajr photographed by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Photograph by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Rify Royalty @rify_royalty, and Nicky Doll (Karlize) @thenickydoll photographed by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Paul Simon @notpaulsimon, and @wiederhoeft_ photographed by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Photograph by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Carlos Motta @carlosalejandromotta, and Tony Jackson @jarthy photographed by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Marti Cummings @marticummings photographed by Andrew Tess for W magazine.

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The queer community and allies alike gather in New York City on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 for the Queer Liberation March, a protest aimed at defending the lives of Black people and ending police brutality. Photograph by Andrew Tess for W magazine.