'We need to stand together:' Long Island Pride parade returns to Huntington
The Long Island LGBTQ community gathered Sunday for Long Island's biggest Pride parade.
The 33rd annual Long Island Pride Parade and Festival started more than three decades ago in Huntington – and it returned there for the first time in eight years.
“This Long Island Pride celebration truly brings together all segments of Long Island's community. We need to stand together... so, no matter where anyone lives on Long Island, they know that they are supported, and they know that they're going to be safe,” said Dave Kilmnick, president of the LGBT Network.
The parade ended at Heckscher Park, where a festival and concert was held, hosted by News 12 Long Island’s own Erin Colton.
Many who attended the event said it has more meaning this year. A recent report from the American Civil Liberties Union says there are nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills being introduced throughout the country this year.
"We're very upset about that nationally at the American Academy of Pediatrics. We understand that gender affirming care is health care, it's mental health care," said the Academy's Dr. Eve Meltzer-Krief.
"Pride matters more than ever... we show our strength, we show our unity, we show our visibility," Kilmnick said.
Some supporters of the LGBTQ+ community at the event said that although New York was not identified as one of the states that are aggressive in advancing anti-LGBTQ+ laws, they hope the state will actively push progressive legislation that supports the community.