On June 5, Queens Community House (QCH) marched with tens of thousands of people at the 30th annual Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights. QCH was led by Generation Q and the Queens Center for Gay Seniors (QCGS), two QCH LGBTQ programs for youth and older adults respectively.
The Queens Pride Parade returned after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The parade is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ celebrations in New York City.
QCH has been marching at the parade for years, so plenty of staff, program participants, and supporters of the organization were excited to be able to attend in-person this year.
For several program participants of Generation Q, an LGBTQ after-school youth center, they are new to the program and this was the first Queens Pride Parade they attended. “Some of our youth never had the opportunity to experience a Pride March, and have never before had a chance to see the support that exists across the borough of Queens,” said Lindsey Duel, QCH Director of Generation Q. “The impact of Queens Pride returning in-person is immeasurable for the youth of our program.”
As for the program participants of QCGS, an LGBTQ older adult center, the pandemic has been especially difficult for them. Many of the program participants have struggled with losses of loved ones, fear of COVID-19, isolation, and adjusting to remote/online activities. “I wasn’t sure I would make it through this because I have deeply missed my friends, who are actually my family,” said a QCGS participant. “Thankfully QCGS made sure to keep us all together with classes online, and by checking in with us through phone calls.”
“As nervous as I was to come out in a crowd,” the QCGS participant continued, “I felt as protected as much as I could be, and I needed to see my friends, hug them, and laugh the day away during ride Sunday.”
“After a 2-year hiatus that was filled with uneasiness, loneliness, fear, and isolation; we are so happy to be able to get together again for our in-person parades and marches,” said Chynna Pitlock, QCH Director of QCGS. “Everyone was so excited to come together and celebrate love, life, and continuing the fight for equal rights, and justice.”
The Queens Pride Parade aligns with QCH’s focus on providing intergenerational opportunities for the Queens community. “There is something uniquely special about seeing the Generation Q youth march alongside the older adults at QCGS, something that we are lucky to experience being a part of QCH,” said Duel.