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Parties and protests mark the climax of LGBTQ+ Pride month in NYC, San Francisco and beyond

AP

NEW YORK (AP) — The month-long celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride reaches its exuberant grand finale Sunday, bringing rainbow-clad revelers to the streets for parades in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and elsewhere around the world.

The extensive festivities will function as both joyful parties and political protests, as participants recognize the community’s achievements while raising awareness of recent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, such as the ban on transgender healthcare, passed by Republican-led states.

This year, tensions surrounding the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip are also reflected in the celebrations, revealing divisions within a community that often sees eye-to-eye on political issues.

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Already this month, pro-Palestinian activists disrupted Pride parades in Boston, Denver and Philadelphia. Several groups participating in Sunday’s demonstrations said they were trying to focus on the victims of the Gaza war, sparking opposition from supporters of Israel.

“There is certainly a larger presence at the protests at Pride events this year,” said Sandra Pérez, executive director of NYC Pride. “But we were born out of a protest.”

The first Gay Pride march took place in New York City in 1970 to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising, a riot that began with a police raid on a gay bar in Manhattan.

In addition to the NYC Pride March, the largest in the country, the city will also host the Queer Liberation March on Sunday, an activist event that was created five years ago when concerns arose that the more mainstream parade had become too commercial.

Another of the world’s largest Pride celebrations begins in San Francisco on Sunday. Additional parades are planned in Chicago, Minneapolis and Seattle.

In addition to concerns about the protests, federal authorities warned that foreign terrorist organizations and their supporters could target the parades and adjacent venues. Heavy security is expected at all events.

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