By Kristen Johanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This week celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first LGBT rights protests. To conclude the festivities Sunday, a group called Philly Pride Presents marked the occasion with a colorful ceremony.
Hundreds gathered to watch the first pioneers of gay rights walk over the rainbow crosswalk at 13th & Locust streets. This was the formal dedication, that took place at the Annual Reminders Block party, held every year to remind the LGBT community of the long-time fight for gay rights.
“I have read about this, a celebration that was going to occur, but I had no idea it was going to be so big.” said Paul. “So overwhelmingly emotional for me.”
State Representative Brian Sims said this is an important moment for the neighborhood.
“What we are here celebrating, and the names you are hearing behind me being read a lot right now, are some of the first LGBT advocates in this country, that came together and said that we demand better.” said Sims.
Sims said this means much more than just colors on a crosswalk.
“I think one of the things that most of us that live in the Gayborhood know is that this isn’t just a place that are all the gay bars.” said Sims. “This is a neighborhood of families, all types of families. And the rainbow is very symbolic of all that makes up this community. So now, people will know what most of us already know, that this is a very welcoming and inclusive neighborhood.”
Philly resident and activist John James says this culminates a series of significant events for the gay community.
“Obviously something we never would have never expected back then.” said James. “It’s inconceivable.”