NEW YORK (AP) — Fifth Avenue became one big rainbow on Sunday, as thousands of participants waving multicolored flags made their way down the street for New York City's annual gay pride march.
Politicians including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were among those walking along a lavender line painted on the avenue from midtown Manhattan to the West Village.
The parade was one of many being held around the world, and marked the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the 1969 uprising against police raids that were a catalyst for the gay rights movement. The parade route passes The Stonewall Inn, the site of the riots.
The grand marshals of the parade included transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox, actor Jonathan Groff and Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Among the participants were cousins Yaseena Oatis, 20, and Shayna Melendez, 22, from Plainfield, New Jersey.
"We're walking to celebrate, to be embraced being who we are around people who are like us, free to express ourselves," Oatis said. "Everybody has a different story about how they came out as gay, but we're all here."
The parade took place just days after the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, striking down the statute that denied federal recognition to same-sex marriages. Since then, same-sex marriage has been legalized in seven more states, bringing the total to 19 along with Washington, D.C.