NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 28: Lady Gaga gives speech at Pride Live’s 2019 Stonewall Day on June 28, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
A Stonewall Day event was held in New York on Friday (June 28) to commemorate 50 years since the birth of the LGBT+ rights movement.
Celebrities and activists joined a crowd of thousands at the event supported by GLAAD to give speeches acknowledging progress and urging the community to keep fighting for full equality.
Lady Gaga took the stage in thigh high rainbow boots and a rainbow jacket and said: “This community has fought and continued to fight a war of acceptance, a war of tolerance and the most relentless bravery. You are the definition of courage.”
However, she took the opportunity to point out the issue of bi-erasure within the LGBT+ community and said that as a bisexual person she does not always feel welcomed.
She said: “I may not, to some people, be considered a part of this community, even though I like girls sometimes. I would never degrade the fight you have endured.”
Lady Gaga gives speech at Stonewall rally on June 28 2019 in New York City. (James Devaney/GC Images)
“You have the power. You are so, so powerful, and I hope you feel that power today,” she continued.
Gaga honoured the trans women who were involved in the Stonewall uprising and started the fight for LGBT+ equality, but also made clear that the violence against trans people now is not acceptable.
She said: “While we have made tremendous progress, we find ourselves at a time where attacks on the trans community are on an increasing rise each day. I will not tolerate this.”
She thanked Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera by name and said that they “ignited the fight for all of us.”
Other stars who made speeches included Alicia Keys, Donatella Versace, Conchita Wurst and Whoopi Goldberg.
Goldberg encouraged people to take physical action, rather than simply post on social media, Wurst said: “Stonewall is the ultimate symbol of a safe space. We must continue to create more safe spaces for LGBTQ people.”
Head of GLAAD: “We have a long way to go”
Head of GLAAD Sarah Kate Ellis told Billboard: “It’s a moment to look to the future — what’s on our agenda, what do we still have to do. There are 11 trans women of colour who have been murdered this year — there’s no press on that right now.
“We can still be fired in over half the states in the United States, put through conversion therapy, denied housing, and it’s still criminalised in 70 countries around the world.
“We have a long way to go, but this is a moment to pause and celebrate.”
The New York World Pride parade takes place tomorrow (Sunday June 30) and is expected to be the largest in history with around 150,000 people marching and four million spectators.