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Video: Friday’s March Was Anything But a Drag

As expected, the Drag March made its way from Tompkins Square Park to the Stonewall Inn on Friday night, and The Local’s cameras were there to capture the color. Lucky Cheng’s may be on its way out, but watch our video and you’ll see drag lives on in the East Village.

‘Radical Faeries’ Celebrate Gay Activist’s Centennial

harryhay1Melvin Felix

A group of over 30 people gathered Saturday afternoon at Le Petit Versailles community garden to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of gay activist Harry Hay.

Mr. Hay, who died of lung cancer in 2002, was one of the first advocates of the concept of gay rights in the 1950s. He co-founded the Mattachine Society only to be expelled due to his Communist beliefs; later, he and others created the Radical Faeries, a spiritual society of gay men with sanctuaries around the world.

Peter Sturman, who joined the group shortly after coming out in his early twenties, said the faeries almost spoiled him to the realities of the outside world. “We go into a separate space and we get to suspend the rules of society,” he said. Read more…

Business Gains Slim from Gay Marriage

New York City Gay Pride Parade 2011, Greenwich Village, New York City - 4Vivienne GucwaSupporters of same-sex marriage during a parade last month. An anticipated spike in business for wedding planners, florists and others because of the new law has so far failed to materialize.

The legalization of same-sex marriage in New York meant many things to many people. It meant freedom to marry for lesbian and gay couples who had been waiting to do so in their home state. It meant a landmark civil rights victory for New York legislators. And to many in the wedding industry, it meant cash.

But they may have seen the dollar signs a bit too soon.

There were 659 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples who wed on Sunday, the first day that the law was put into effect, but those numbers have not led to a bump in profits.

Wedding planner Jeannie Uyanik, executive director of C&G Weddings, thought that the expectations of business owners were overblown from the outset, making the lackluster increases seem even more disappointing.

“Even before the law was enacted, there were people who were going to get married no matter what. It didn’t matter if they had to go to Canada or Amsterdam or Massachusetts: where there’s a will there’s always been a way,” Mrs. Uyanik said. “This in and of itself is not going to change the wedding industry. There’s going to be that small blip — probably of just a year — but at that point its really going to normalize.”
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Images of the Pride Parade

Adrian Fussell, Vivienne Gucwa, Heather Holland, Susan Keyloun, Tim Schreier and Guney South — all members of The Local East Village Flickr Group — share their images of the weekend’s Gay Pride Parade and the celebrations surrounding the passage of the Marriage Equality Act.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

If you’d like a chance to see your best shots appear on The Local, join The Local East Village Flickr Group.

A Rally to Back Marriage Equality

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn
Meghan Keneally Council Speaker Christine Quinn at tonight’s rally.

New York politicos gathered at Cooper Union tonight to kick off the city’s annual Gay Pride celebration, which this year is dominated by the “will they or won’t they” speculation over the State Senate’s impending vote on the Marriage Equality bill.

Though the spectacle’s Broadway-style musical numbers were lighthearted, the real focus was upstate. At last count, 31 senators publicly support the bill, falling just one vote short of the 32 needed to ensure passage. Late Wednesday night, the state assembly passed the bill — and it was the Assembly’s fourth time doing so — leaving the Senate as the final stop before the bill becomes law.

“This is finally our moment,” said Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, who organized the event. “We know this is the moment again that New York can actually call itself the Empire State.”
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5 Questions With | Natasha Dillon

Natasha DillonNatasha Dillon.

Natasha Dillon thinks she’s boring — but that’s not really the case at all.

Earlier this month, Borough President Scott Stringer announced the newly appointed selections to Community Board 3, which covers the East Village, Lower East Side and parts of Chinatown. Ms. Dillon, a 26-year-old East Villager and gay rights activist, was one of these new appointees, after previously serving on the board as a community member. And while some insist that this crop of new appointees seems rather eclectic, Ms. Dillon insists that she’s actually quite boring.

As a financial consultant, who’s currently working on a master’s degree in investment management from Pace University, Ms. Dillon seems like the average young East Village resident, except this activist and founder of a local East Village advocacy group, Queer Rising, has been arrested four times in the last year for her public actions for marriage equality in the United States. Her most recent arrest came earlier this month, after a group of Queer Rising members blocked traffic near Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan office on Third Avenue for nearly 10 minutes.

However, Ms. Dillon has a somewhat different, slightly less radical, agenda for the East Village. Serving on the economic development committee, her main concern is to bring life back to local businesses — and to the East Village.
Read more…