Until the early 1990s, most New Yorkers associated the city’s LGBTQ population with the Manhattan neighborhood Greenwich Village. The Queens Pride Parade, inaugurated in Jackson Heights in 1993 by activists Daniel Dromm and Maritza Martinez, changed this, revealing a large LGBTQ community in the city’s most diverse borough. To mark the 25th Anniversary of the Parade, The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens provides snapshots of Queens LGBTQ history in recent decades, highlighting the contributions of several prominent activists from the borough, including Queensborough Community College IT Senior Associate Larry Nelson, a member of the Queens Chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). The parade, a reflection of the borough’s ethnic and racial diversity, remains an opportunity to come out and celebrate amid cheering neighbors, festive music, and colorful floats.
The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, LaGuardia Community College/CUNY and the New York City Council, through the office of Daniel Dromm (District 25).
Ed Sederbaum, founder of the activist organization Queens Gays and Lesbians United (Q-GLU), speaks at a 1995 rally for justice for Julio Rivera, a gay Queens resident beaten to death in a Jackson Heights schoolyard in 1990. The Rivera murder, designated a hate crime, sparked a wave of LGBTQ activism in Queens in the early 1990s.
The Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride Committee prepares to march in the Queens Hispanic Parade in 1993. The committee, founded in 1992 by Daniel Dromm and Maritza Martinez, organized the parade to promote pride and awareness and fight for social justice in the wake of the 1990 murder of Julio Rivera and the 1992 rejection of the Children of the Rainbow Curriculum in local schools. Photograph by Daniel Dromm.