Gay Pride in the Outer Boroughs

Fringe benefits on the city's fringes

Tod Roulette, a Harlem-based gallery owner who relocated to Mott Haven two years ago, hopes this year will mark a turning point. "Don't forget, the South Bronx is still emerging economically from the devastation of decades of political and cultural neglect," he says. "We are a large community with a lot of complexity and particularities—not just sexual issues. Not every borough has to be a microcosm of Chelsea." The Bronx has been struggling to establish its own unique celebration, Winter adds.

This year's incarnation of Bronx Pride ditched the highly visible parade route down the Grand Concourse and considered various parks before finally landing in Barretto Point, an out-of-the-way patch nestled between a landfill and a proposed city jail in Hunts Point. Since its return, Bronx Pride has experienced the same permit lag as Staten Island; last year, the Parks Department shut it down early. And both years' Pride events lacked participation by most of the borough's political figures.

"What happened last year clearly was nothing short of discrimination," Winters complains. "We were trying to hand out health information, and they acted like we were a wild bacchanal. Certainly, there were mistakes made on both sides, but the overall tone was discriminatory and Parks officials were nasty."

Pride month in New York kicked off at the Queens Pride festival.
Jake Price
Pride month in New York kicked off at the Queens Pride festival.

In the end, it all comes back to footwear: "About two weeks before last year's celebration took place," Winters remembers, "we were pulled into a meeting by the Parks Department. They were having sod issues—they didn't want any table legs or high heels."

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