By: Judy Randall
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Under a canopy of rainbow-colored balloons, several hundred gay and lesbian Staten Islanders and their supporters kicked off the borough’s sixth annual LGBT Pride Parade and festival in St. George yesterday with a clear message: We are one of you.
“We are here to say we are your friends, your neighbors,” said spectator Brian Hagan of New Brighton. “We sit next to you on the bus, in church. We are part of the diversity of the city.”
That sentiment was echoed by parade organizer and director of the Island’s LGBT center, Marianne Brennick.
“This is all about visibility,” said Ms. Brennick. “This is about promoting respect and acceptance and reducing bigotry and hatred. We are among you. We are not to be feared. We are your co-workers, we patronize your businesses, we live on your block.”
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