A Colorful Movement on Behalf of Human Rights: The Lavender Line—Coming Out in Queens

Published: November 17, 2017

The Lavender Line, a symbol of the original gay liberation movement, got its name because it was the color of the line painted down the center of the street for the inaugural Queens Pride Parade route in 1993. It is now also the name of the current exhibition celebrating 25 years of gay pride in Queens at the QCC Art Gallery Loggia. The show opened on November 15 and will run through January 17, 2018.

Among the speakers at the opening for The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens was New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm, Founder, Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee. He remarked that, “It’s an honor and a privilege to be here this evening. Queensborough is near and dear to my heart and I want to give special thanks to President Call and to Dr. Richard Lieberman, Director of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, for helping history come alive.”

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, broadened the appreciation for and awareness of the growing LGBTQ community in the city’s most diverse borough. To mark the 25th Anniversary of the Parade, The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens exhibit provides snapshots of Queens LGBTQ history over 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 annual 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 opening closed with a performance by Susan Agin, Artistic Director, QPAC who sang True Colors by Cyndi Lauper.

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).

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