The organizers of the Dominican Day Parade paid special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and six LGBTQ Dominican-Americans at the 37th annual march on August 11.
The annual event on the second Sunday of August features tens of thousands of marchers as well as untold numbers of revelers who line Sixth Avenue in Midtown, where folks gather to celebrate Dominican culture in the summer heat. At this year’s parade, there was a unique focus on LGBTQ rights.
LGBTQ ambassadors recognized at the August 11 parade were Chanel López, an activist who serves as a transgender community liaison at the city Commission on Human Rights; Elvin García, an out gay former City Council candidate who fell short in his 2017 campaign against homophobic lawmaker Ruben Diaz, Sr.; Samy Nemir-Olivares, who co-founded Queeramisú, which is focused on bolstering representation of LGBTQ people of color in government and advocacy; Deivis Ventura, the first out gay man to run for Congress in the Dominican Republic; activist Genesis Aquino; and beauty consultant Chachita Rubio.
An LGBTQ contingent marched together at the parade alongside former Wally Brewster, the out gay former US ambassador to the Dominican Republic, and out lesbian activist Dr. Jacqueline Jiménez Polanco.
“We marched for the LGBT people in the Dominican Republic who are yet to see fulfilled their constitutional rights of human dignity and the right for equality,” Nemir-Olivares said in a written statement.
López, the first trans woman to be recognized at the parade, was proud to play a role in the festivities and said the recognition “was a great statement and example of solidarity and support to respect dignity and promotion of human rights.”
Others acknowledged the impact that the LGBTQ theme could have on folks back in the Dominican Republic. García stressed that the parade represented an important moment for queer young people in the island nation and for those who were on hand at the family-friendly event.
“The most powerful outcome of this moment is that LGBT youth in the Dominican Republic were able to see members of their own community embraced in America’s largest city, home to almost 900,000 Dominicans, as the positive role models that they are for the Dominican diaspora in New York City,” he said.
Among others who stood with the community at the parade included former Brooklyn City Councilmember Diana Reyna, who became the first Dominican-American woman elected to public office in the state. She conveyed a message of solidarity with the queer Dominican community.
“One of the most profound statements was people calling from the Dominican Republic reaching out and saying how proud they are that we as a parade are commemorating, identifying and making sure that we are acknowledging our civil rights liberties,” she said.