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  • Writer's pictureDean Nelson, (he/him) CTC, LLD

NYC WorldPride 2019 Review

The 7th edition of WorldPride in New York City was an extraordinary month long celebration culminating with Stonewall50 - our global reflection on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Upraising and the start of the modern LGBTQ movement of Gender and Sexual Diversity.

New York pulled out all the stops with a star studded line up like pride has never witnessed before. You had artists like Lady Gaga and Madonna both sharing their gratitude to the queer community in embracing them as artists and giving them the strength to be different, to be authentic, to be themselves.

New York City welcomed over 150,000 marchers at the 50th Annual NYC Pride from 600+ parade entries which took over twelve hours to complete the 4km long route. There were over 2.5 Million spectators cheering along the parade route from 26th street down 5th avenue snaking around Christopher Street passing in front of the Stonewall Inn. The cheers and applauses was deafening at times, the streets filled with glitter, ticker tap, and a sea of Rainbows and Trans Flags. According to the mayor's office, the Big Apple welcomed over 5 Million visitors for WorldPride 2019.

Click below for my NYC WorldPride Highlight video which includes Proud Experience - LGBTQ Travel Conference, WorldPride Human Rights Conference, LGBTQ Week New Media Business Conference, WorldPride Receptions, the Pride Parade and Pride Island at Pier 97 with Madonna.

NYC WorldPride Artists

Some of the stars, celebrities and special guest appearances at NYC WorldPride 2019 included: Madonna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Cyndi Lauper, Bette Midler, Laverne Cox, Cast of Pose, Melissa Etheridge, Margaret Cho, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Porter, Mark Kanemura, Jake Shears, British singer MNEK, Austrian Eruovison Song Winner Conchita Wurst, Alicia Keys, Grace Jones, Ava Max, Kiesza, Chaka Khan, Ciara, Daya, Todrick Hall, Teyana Taylor, Kim Petras, Pabllo Vittar, Amara La Negra, Johnny Dynell, Princess Nokia, Lauren Jauregui, The Veronicas, Melanie C (Spice Girls), Sink the Pink, The Prom, Deborah Cox, Shangela, Alex Newell, Donatella Versace, Sir Richard Branson, George Takei, Leyna Bloom, Trace Lysette, RuPaul's Drag Queens including Bob the Drag Queen, Alaska Thunderfuck; NYC Queens included Lady Bunny, The BritaFilter, Ava Patron, Petra Fried and many more! Truly #MillionsOfMoments in NYC where #PrideUncontained was a totally infectious campaign that engulfed the city.

NYC WorldPride Human Rights Conference

NYC Pride’s Human Rights Conference was a gathering of activists, artists, educators, journalists, policymakers, students, and others engaged in LGBTQ human rights around the world. The two-day conference provided a unique opportunity for a global dialogue about human rights, ranging from performances to presentations, politics to policies, and activism to academics. I did have much bigger expectations for the conference and felt it was very American focused. This was not really a big surprised considering the theme was centred around Stonewall50.

Opening Keynote included:

Raquel Willis, a Black, queer, transgender activist, writer, and speaker dedicated to inspiring and elevating marginalized individuals – particularly transgender women of colour. Willis also launched Black Trans Circles, a project focused on developing the leadership of Black trans women in the South and Midwest by creating healing justice spaces to work through oppression-based trauma, incubating community organizing efforts to address anti-trans murder and violence, and elevating nuanced narratives.

Janet Mock, a writer, director and producer whose memoir, Redefining Realness, debuted on the New York Times® Best Sellers list in 2014. Born in Hawaii, Mock began her career as an editor at and has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Marie Claire, Interview and Allure. Most recently, Janet made television history as the first trans woman of colour to write, direct and produce for a series with Ryan Murphy’s FX drama Pose, which has assembled the largest cast of trans actors in series regular roles ever for a scripted series.

Tracey “Africa” Norman had become synonymous with terms like “full circle and comeback kid.” Norman’s modeling career got started all because she was in the wrong place, at the right time. She'd accidentally wandered into a model casting for the European designer Basile and, as luck would have it, got the booking. As a result, she was the first African-American transgender woman model to appear on a box of Clairol in the 1970s. Originally from Newark, New Jersey, she’s modeled and has been photographed for publications such as Essence, Vogue Italia and Harper's Bazaar India. Norman also had a magazine cover and life story spread in New York Magazine.

Harnaam Kaur - otherwise known as The Bearded Dame - is a body positivity warrior, model, world record holder, and activist. Drawing upon her battle scars and struggles as a bullied teenager, Harnaam inspires people across the globe to embrace their beauty, whatever form it comes in! This was an amazing lecture that was quite inspiring and emotional.

Some of my favourite lectures and workshops at the Human Rights conference included:

Challenging Anti-Gay Laws in the Caribbean moderated by Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

We learned about how boycotting a destination due to their discriminatory laws against the LGBTQ does not always work and may harm the local LGBTQ community more. Many of the front line employees in hospitality in these marginalized destinations are LGBTQ and this would have a direct impact on their livelihood. Another approach is to help be visible to these destinations and show the economic influence the LGBTQ community has as well as showing up and being visible so the local gay community know they are not alone. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network helps through the court systems to challenge the outdated colonial laws and provides legal and in some cases asylum assistance to those most at risk. To learn more and to donate visit:

International Family Equality Day IFED - Visibility and support for Queer Families

I was excited to reconnect with LGBTQ activist and IFED board member - Bess Hepworth (Hong Kong) and to participate in the IFED round table discussion on visibility for Queer Families and the support system that IFED is able to offer. With more countries legalizing Marriage Equality and Same-Sex adoption coupled with GenZ wanting to have their own queer families the importance of IFED is critical in helping to make those connections, support and advocate for change. To learn more visit or click here.

LGBTQ Week - New Media Business Conference hosted by Pink Banana Media

I had the honour of being one of the guest speakers at the International New Media panel at the LGBTQ Week. My co-panelists included Rafael Leick, blogger at Viaja Bi! (Brazil); and Giuseppe Giulio, Digital PR Manager & Travel Design (Italy) - we had a great discussion on some of the tools we use and how we engage our followers.

Favourite Social Media Posts from NYC WorldPride - Stonewall50

Save the Date - WorldPride 2021

Join me as we head to the stunning Nordic City of Copenhagen, Denmark - the host city for WorldPride 2021. Click here to RSVP.

BC Tour registration #2806 Personal Travel Management - departuresXdean

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