LGBT pride to parade through Jackson Heights

Laura Martinez marches along 37th Avenue in a previous parade.
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This year’s 21st annual Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival will pack a special punch as it makes it way down 37th Avenue.

Openly gay professional boxer Orlando Cruz was named a grand marshal for the festivities, scheduled for this Sunday at noon, in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities throughout the borough and beyond. He came out to the athletic community in 2012, making him one of the first professional athletes to do so.

“I am proud to be who I am — a Puerto Rican and gay,” said Cruz, a former Olympian and fourth-ranked featherweight. “I am honored to be grand marshal in the Queens Pride Parade and I hope that the young people watching and marching in the parade are also proud of who they are.”

The parade organizers also chose advocacy group PRYDE/Make the Road as a grand marshal because of its involvement in public policy issues. Its members range in age from 14 to more than 50 and work to empower LGBTQ communities in Brooklyn and Queens through the LGBTQ Justice Project.

The Queens Pride Parade will begin at 85th Street and 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights and end at 75th Street. Each year the route features a large display of vibrant and booming floats filled with more than 40,000 enthusiastic and proud participants.

Emcees Marcus Woolen and Candy Samples will also be hosting a reviewing stand in front of the Jackson Heights Post Office for Queenie Awards, which are given to groups based on the ingenuity of their displays.

More than 100 vendors will set up shop along 37th Road and 75th Street, and two stages will feature entertainment throughout the day. The events will conclude with a performance by Bronx musician George LaMond, who has received several awards for his more than 20-year singing career.

Queens Pride will also deliver different events surrounding the parade and festival, with a May 30 kick-off party at Studio Square, at 35-33 36th St. in Long Island City, at 6 p.m. The event was planned in conjunction with Brooklyn Pride, New York City Pride, Out Astoria and Pride Alliance of Long Island and requests a $10 donation at the door to benefit the Ali Forney Center, which provides housing and social services for LGBTQ youth throughout the city.

The parade is sponsored by the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee and also includes local youth and social groups in its goal to engage the community on issues important to the LGBTQ community. The committee also hosts an annual film series and a Winter Pride Dinner.

For more information on the Queens Pride Parade, visit or e-mail

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 11:20 pm, May 30, 2013
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