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Exhibit celebrating 25 years of Queens Pride opens at LaGuardia Community College

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Photo gallery

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City Councilman Daniel Dromm contributes his papers and artifacts from the last 25 years to help create the Lavender Line exhibit at LaGuardia Community College.
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City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (c.) is flanked by City Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer (l.) and Daniel Dromm (r.), two trailblazers of the borough’s LGBTQ civil rights movement.
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A photo exhibit showcasing 25 years of the Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights opens ay LaGuardia Community College.
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LaGuardia Community College students were amazed at the history on display at the opening of The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens.
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City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer points to a photo of himself marching in the Lavender Line back in 1993 at the inaugural Queens Pride Parade.
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A photo from 1993 shows Danny Dromm (c.) marching in the first Queens Pride Parade years before he won a seat in the City Council.

Hundreds of LaGuardia Community College students stood shoulder to shoulder with the trailblazers of the borough’s LGBTQ civil rights movement Monday afternoon for the opening of a new exhibit called “The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens” located in the college’s historic Hall of Flags in Joseph Shenker Hall.

Curators from the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives drew from the personal files of City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), who started the Queens Pride Parade — the first LGBTQ-rights parade to take place in one of New York City’s outer boroughs.

The inaugural parade in 1993 drew only 10,000 marchers, but when it steps off on its 25th anniversary parade in June, it will likely have closer to 50,000, as it is now the second largest pride event in the city each year.

“Having an exhibit like this, having the parade that we have in Jackson Heights fights back against our worst enemy — invisibili­ty,” Dromm said. “Fighting back against invisibility is still the biggest obstacle facing the LGBTQ community.”

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) also contributed materials from his archive, having marched in the first Queens Pride Parade in 1993 as a representative of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Alliance that he began while a student attending St. John’s University.

“There was something deeply special about marching in Queens in the borough I grew up in,” Van Bramer said. “This parade in Queens saved lives. There is no doubt in my mind that there are people living amongst us today, young LGBT folks who were thinking of committing suicide and didn’t think they could be loved. But they went to this parade and saw all of these proud openly gay (people) and it changed their lives forever.”

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) attended the opening of “The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens” and he grew emotional as he walked the hallway, reading the captions on all of the photos and remembering back to when he was 16 and was captain of his high school football team 25 miles north of Boston.

“I came out because I was so despondent and clinically depressed and suicidal that I felt if I did not talk about it, if I did not talk about how I was feeling, if I did not verbalize the identity struggle I was going through, that I wasn’t going to survive,” Johnson recalled. “As soon as I came out, I tried to understand the history; the people who came before me; what laid the foundation. I learned about the struggles the community faced.”

When he moved to New York City, he became friends with Dromm and Van Bramer when they were community organizers “before they made history as the first gay elected officials from Queens.” Johnson said the exhibit is not just about LGBT history, but the history of the city and America.

“I stand on the shoulders of the folks whose photos are hanging on these walls,” Johnson said. “It’s our job to continue to tell our stories and inspire young people to know their history and amplify the voices of the people that have made this happen. This exhibit is beautiful.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

Posted 12:00 am, March 30, 2018
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Reader feedback

ThINK from Queens says:
Queens Pride, WHAT DAMN PRIDE. So many neighborhoods look like third world countries with filth & garbage everywhere. Nice homes torn down replaced by third world country cheap apartments complete with balconies used as storage and hanging clothes off of, most lawns completely cemented over, tons of homeless hotel shelters. PLEASE, more like QUEENS CRAP. This borough was destroyed thanks to prostitute elected officials like Melinda Katz, hack do nothing community boards, a lefty progressive mayor whose goal is to destroy every good neighborhood in Queens and the slob people coming in by droves and filling up illegal conversions with 20-30 people.

QUEENS PRIDELESS. Look at photos of Queens just 20 years ago, let alone 30-40 years ago and compare it to the over developed garbage dump it is now.
March 30, 7:40 am
The Filth of Forest Hills from Forest Hills says:
You mean pride, like the problematic homeless hotel (Comfort Inn - Kew Gardens) for single men, many who panhandle and drink right out on the Skid Row of Forest Hills (78 Ave to 82nd Street).

You mean pride like the filth and litter that litters Queens Blvd.

You mean the garbage dumped and the graffiti inside the Austin Street Pedestrian walkway.

That kind of pride, while hack Queens BP Melinda Katz, who lives in the area NEVER talks about those issues as well as the Forest Hills hack city council hack, Karen Koslowitz.

Shove your Queens Pride, there is no such thing. I mean have any of you walked around Queens in the past 10 years. SE Queens, Jamaica, Richmond Hill, parts of Forest Hills, Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside, Sunny side and the completely over-developed and totally overpriced LIC.

NO PRIDE is more like it.

https://thefilthofforesthillsqueens.wordpress.com/
March 30, 9:28 am
Joey from Whitestone says:
There is no pride. It’s. No laws. It’s a third world country. With all it’s garbage
March 30, 10:52 pm
Queens NO PRIDE from Queens says:
Want to see Queens Crap, I mean Queens Pride look here:

https://cleanupjamaicaqueens.wordpress.com/

There is no such thing as Queens Pride, because there is NO PRIDE, lots of Queens Third World Crap, but Queens Pride, they disappeared years and years ago, thanks to pandering do nothing elected officials and do nothing city agencies like DOB that never enforces quality of life issues.
March 31, 4:53 pm
Queens NO PRIDE for YEARS from Queens says:
Really, you had to the audacity to put up this article knowing that you would actually have to go back at least 25 years to see some Queens Pride. Since then it has been the invasion of third world crap, garbage and filth, not too mention 20-30 people to a one family house, 2 garbage cans overflowing with mounds of trash, the cementing over off all grass, trees and anything green. Watch any documentary about third world countries (India, Bangladesh, Yemen, most of the middle east, etc and you will see a mirror image of Queens as far as shoddy apartments, garbage and filth.
March 31, 5:03 pm

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