Long Island Pride started in 1991 by winning the right to march in a Suffolk County courtroom. Thirty years later Long Island Pride, organized by the LGBT Network, will be celebrating the largest LGBT event on Long Island at one of the most iconic places and beaches in the world… Jones Beach on Sunday June 14th! Long Island Pride is the only LGBT Pride event on the beach in the Northeast and this year’s event promises to draw record crowds.
“What a difference 3 decades makes as the most visible event for Long Island’s LGBT communities will take place at the most well-known New York State beach recognized for its beauty, sand, ocean and attractions for the entire family. Long Island Pride has become a magnet not only for local families but also for thousands of tourists from around the United States and the world” said David Kilmnick, President & CEO of LGBT Network.
Long Island Pride started thirty years ago when four people, including LGBT Network CEO David Kilmnick, decided that it was time that Pride was celebrated in our own hometown. “There were a few of us who felt strongly that it was critical and important to be able to be out and proud and celebrate Pride where we live and that we should not have to go into NYC to march proudly in the streets with rainbows” said Kilmnick. The group applied to several townships across Long Island and each one turned them down. “When the Town of Huntington in writing said that only traditional parades were allowed, we fought back as this was blatant discrimination” said Kilmnick. The ACLU represented the group and Long Island Pride and, in a May 28, 1991, ruling in a federal court, Judge Leonard D. Wexler ruled that the town must provide a permit for Long Island Pride. Just over a week later on June 9, 1991 the first ever Long Island Pride parade took place along Huntington’s Main Street with several thousand spectators and a rally in the parking lot at Huntington Town Hall.
“We cannot forget the legal battle it took and the courage to stand up for all our LGBT community members, allies and families. The strength to take this cause public and fight for equality and to do so out and proud is the very foundation of Long Island Pride” said Kilmnick. “While we have come very far, we cannot forget where we came from and why Pride is very important. We made history thirty years ago, and with Long Island Pride headed to Jones Beach in 2020 we will be making history again once again,” said Kilmnick.