WorldPride 2019 is quickly approaching, and New York City will be hosting the largest Pride celebration on the planet, marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Pride Month events begin on June 1 and will end with the Pride March grand finale on June 30. Global and domestic visitors and New Yorkers will gather together as friends and family supporting parties, rallies, arts, culture, history, equality and laughter, tears and hopes as one.
The colorful anticipation of WorldPride grows more vivid and vibrant everyday. Pride in itself is a unique experience for the masses and for each individual. The journey for equality has been an empowering venture. Stonewall50 & WorldPride 2019 is themed “Millions of Moments of Pride.” It represents “the invaluable and countless experiences every person encounters during annual celebrations and commemorations around the world.”
Each year Get Out! magazine turns to Chris Frederick, Executive Director of NYC Pride, for a first-hand preview of the events surrounding Pride. On this special year of WorldPride, he certainly has this journey mapped out.
With WorldPride rapidly in our midst, are you nervous?
I think every year there is a certain amount of nervousness. I think given the nature of what we’re creating, the world is looking indirectly at these events to commemorate this really important moment. Yeah, I think it’s natural to be nervous and to want to ensure that all of these events are as amazing as they possibly can be.
This year you’re responsible for Pride Month, which I’m sure is a lot of extra work and stress. What is your own personal inspiration for all that you do for Pride?
My personal story is, I came out to my mom when I was 17. Being from rural Ohio, brought up in the countryside, I just happened to have stumbled upon the Pride March during a visit to New York with my mom when I was 17. It was kind of like that singular moment where I realized that I was part of a thing much larger than anything I ever anticipated. That singular moment is what continues to drive me in the fact that there are millions of people on the sidelines that are experiencing Pride for the first time, and the impact it leaves on a person for the rest of their lives is truly life-changing. The fact that we can create a dialogue on this sort of scale where the entire city is in this idea of love and acceptance is really what is such a driving force for me. So I think every year is different, every year has its own unique challenges, and I’m really excited to be a part of it.
Rumor has it that there will be two marches. Can you comment on that?
We are planning the best event possible. I think there are going to be other events and programs happening for that entire month of June, but we know that our event is going to be the largest and most visited. We have over 700 groups that are participating, and 150,000 different marchers at the moment that are participating. Most of our participants are from nonprofit organizations, so I think that this event is still very much community driven, with the community in mind, and we’re focused on [doing] the best we can for our diverse community.
Facebook is passing around an article stating that ABC is covering Pride for the first time. Is that correct?
I saw that. Actually, ABC has been broadcasting it since 2017. We are very happy to have them covering it for the third year in a row. I think that we have a very great relationship with them. For me it was really important to have the Pride March on television, because there are so many kids out there or people out there that don’t feel comfortable coming to Pride because they may be afraid, or they may not know anyone. To have it in people’s living room is really important, because one of Pride’s big pillars as an organization is to provide visibility on a mountainous scale. So we are really excited that ABC is continuing to be a strong partner in this regard.
Will the march be following the same route as last year?
It’s kind of the same route. It starts around 26th and 5th Avenue, it goes down 5th Avenue, goes east on 8th Street, cuts across on Christopher and then goes north on 7th and ends at 23rd and 7th.
If the media is interested in joining, what should they do?
There’s an application online. They go to worldpride.org and check out the media, which will explain how to get credentials.
I consider you the Pride leader, so if you could say anything regarding WorldPride, what would you want the world to know?
That’s a great question. At the end of the day what we’re really trying to showcase here is that you’re not alone. You have a big community behind you that loves you and supports you no matter how you identify or who you are.
Is there any one particular event that you think everyone should absolutely participate in?
We are really excited about the opening ceremony at the Barclays Center. It’s the first time that it will be done on a mass scale at the Barclays Center on June 26 with some really big names, including Chaka Khan, Whoopi Goldberg and Cyndi Lauper and more. We are really excited about it, because it is also going to be a fundraiser for three great organizations: Ali Forney Center, Immigration Equality and SAGE. So not only is it a really amazing arena show, but on a large scale we will be giving back to the community.
Is there anything else that you’d like to say that I haven’t covered?
Check out our website at worldpride.org for any information about what we are doing. Our key plan is to be giving $250,000 to other LGBT nonprofit organizations, or more depending on how we land. At a minimum we will be giving away $250,000. We are producing 25 events, and we have about 70 to 80 official partner events that are online in our calendar. We think that it’s going to be the biggest event in the history of the community, and we’re expecting about 4.5 million people.
How many usually come to New York Pride?
We usually have about 2.5 million people on any given year. There will be about 2 million more than we normally see.
I have to ask you this for Mike Todd, publisher of Get Out! Can we expect Madonna?
YES! We’re excited to be able to announce that Madonna will be performing at Pride Island Sunday and joining an amazing roster of artists at that event over the two days, including Grace Jones, Teyana Taylor, Kim Petras and more. They join a long history of legendary artists that have performed at official NYC Pride events on the pier, including Cher, Ariana Grande, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson and more. We could not think of a better artist to help close out WorldPride for this important anniversary for our community.