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28 Jun, 2010 18:57

NYC gay pride parade brings marchers from across the US

Some participants flew as much as six hours from Arkansas to take part in the 12 hour gay pride march through downtown New York City.

"It’s a different world outside of the big cities. It’s the Midwest. Still very sheltered. Still very racist. Still very homophobic," said Dan from Arkansas.

In the liberal landscape of Manhattan, Dan and Paul march amid the very eccentric hundreds of thousands parading loud and proud to be gay. They may be celebrating, but they are also still fighting for civil rights.

I’m fighting for gay marriage. The right to marry who I want to,” he said.

This annual event commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots when the homosexual community and police officers violently clashed in the streets.

But today, you have cops walking in the gay pride parade and millions watching and cheering.

My message is diversity, equality quality for all,” said one police officer.

A message that began as a courageous political movement now includes a corporate sponsorship from Delta, Thirty-five floats, and miles of barricaded photo-happy spectators.

It’s sorta of like an entertainment for mainstream people now instead of really carrying the message,” said Kooch, a gay-rights activist.

Kooch and her partner Sharon are concerned festivities could be drowning out the fight against homophobia.

I would love to see more marching, shouting, signs, chants that means something. Than the commercialism,” said Sharon.