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New York/San Francisco — Pride celebrations hosted by LGBTQ communities across the US at the weekend took on a tone of outrage following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion, and a wave of antitransgender legislation.
The weekend's Pride events, which included Sunday parades in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and Denver, came after fervent protests in some of the same cities since Friday, when abortion rights supporters took to the streets to decry the Supreme Court's decision to reverse the 1973 Roe v Wade judgment that legalised abortion nationwide.
LGBTQ leaders fear the ruling endangers personal freedom beyond abortion rights. In a concurring opinion, justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court might reconsider other precedents, mentioning specifically the rulings protecting the rights to contraception, same-sex intimacy and gay marriage.
“The anti-abortion playbook and the anti-LGBTQ playbook are one and the same. Both are about denying control over our bodies and making it more dangerous for us to live as we are,” Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of LGBTQ advocacy organisation Glaad, said.
Even before the Supreme Court's ruling against abortion rights, the LGBTQ community's Pride month jubilation was weighed down by a raft of Republican-backed state laws that specifically target transgender youth.
The measures enacted in several red states bar classroom discussion of gender identity, block access to healthcare to help young people transition, and restrict participation in sports.
“This march is going to have more of a serious tone than celebratory, and I don't think that's a bad thing at all,” Krystal Marx, executive director of Seattle Pride, said ahead of that city's parade, which was expecting half-a-million attendees on Sunday.
Abortion rights and transgender rights were top of mind at San Francisco's Pride parade, where people held signs that read, “Abort the Court,” “Protect trans youth,” and organisers led a chant of “Get your laws off our bodies.”
“It feels like there’s a cloud over everybody who has a uterus,” said Maya Reddick, a high school student attending San Francisco’s celebration with friends, who was holding a sign that read, “Reproductive rights are human rights.”
At New York City's Pride parade, women's health provider Planned Parenthood was the first group to kick off the march. Throngs of people dressed in rainbow colours cheered as Planned Parenthood representatives, holding pink signs that read, “Together. We fight for all”, started the parade in Manhattan around noon on Sunday.
“Everybody please scream for Planned Parenthood!” an announcer called over a loudspeaker. The crowd then began a chant of, “We won't back down!”
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.