New York City Pride Parade 2018 To Be Led By Grand Marshal Billie Jean King, Includes Celebrity Bobby Berk

Featuring tennis legend Billie Jean King and other community activists and celebrities, NYC Pride culminates in the huge parade taking place every year.

Pride March
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Featuring tennis legend Billie Jean King and other community activists and celebrities, NYC Pride culminates in the huge parade taking place every year.

Thousands of people from New York and abroad will congregate this afternoon to celebrate the focal point of NYC Pride in the form of the annual New York City Pride Parade.

This year will feature a new route for the rainbow-flag festooned parade, spanning from 7th and 5th avenues in the city, according to Newsweek. The crowd attending will be there to support the continued fight for LGBT rights and representation, to honor the memory of those activists and members of the community who have come before, and of course to see some famous figures that best represent the movement and its goals going forward.

Bearing the laurels of grand marshall this time around are the Lambda Legal Firm, a legal counsel that specializes in the representation of LGBTQ rights, activists Tyler Ford and Kenita Placide, and notable tennis legend Billie Jean King.

King has a storied career both on and off the court, having won 39 Grand Slam titles, the “Battle of the Sexes” in 1973, and the inaugural WTA Tour Championship. Billie Jean King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987 and has been an advocate for women’s rights and LGBT rights for decades.

  Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Bobby Berk is also expected to march today alongside the other public figures. Berk is famous for his role on Netflix’s Queer Eye as a design consultant, the show itself being a total reboot and repackaging of the Bravo series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy which debuted a decade and a half ago. According to People, Berk is anticipated to be officiating three weddings during the march.

The march commemorates the riots that came in direct response to a now infamous police raid of a prominent New York City gay bar – the Stonewall Inn – in June 1969. In a park opposite the street to the Stonewall Inn now rests the Stonewall National Monument as administered by the National Parks Service. The annual Pride Parade in New York City always makes a point to pay homage to the movement’s roots of resistance against bigotry, hatred, and brutality, and the history behind the Stonewall Inn raid remains at the core of the movement and their message of contemporary inclusion.

  Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The organizers of this year’s march have also stated that they wish to give due respect to “community heroes” that may not be as well known reports ESPN, such as Emma Gonzalez – a survivor of the Parkland school shooting that took place in February of this year. Gonzalez is president of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and is a member of the LGBT community herself.

Former grand marshals of the march include ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio and cast members from popular LGBT-friendly television show Orange is the New Black.