Estimated 500,000 turn-up for Paris Pride hours after Lady Gaga thrills New York

Rainbow flags fly at a bar in Stonewall on 26 June 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
Rainbow flags fly at a bar in Stonewall on 26 June 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. AFP/Spencer Platt

Authorities are expecting hundreds of thousands of people to celebrate Gay Pride in Paris on Saturday. A march from Montparnasse to Republique will begin at 2pm when the temperature is expected to reach 37 degrees celcius.


Every year since 1981 revellers have celebrated 'Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride'. This year's festival comes off the back of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo's pledge to make the city the world's "gay capital".

Pubs, gay and straight alike, filled up ahead of a 5.5-kilometre march from Montparnasse in the south to Republic in the north of the city. Although temperatures are lower than they have been during this record-breaking week, party-goers are being reminded to drink sufficient amonts of water.

The focus of the march through Paris this year is the right for lesbian couples to receive vitro fertalisation (IVF). Under current law, technologies such as IVF and artificial insemination are restricted to heterosexual couples and surrogacy is illegal.

Single women and lesbian couples who want to freeze their eggs or undergo other forms of fertility treatment are forced to seek medical assistance in nearby countries such as Spain and Belgium, which have less restrictive laws. Such trips are often prohibitively expensive and don’t always end in success.

But all this could soon change. The government of French President Emmanuel Macron, campaigned partly on the promise to legalise medically assisted reproduction for all women.

Pride Paris 2019: Paris marks 50 years since Stonewell

Lady Gaga's wows Stonewall crowd

Gay Pride celebrations are taking place in cities across Asia, Europe and North and South America this weekend and next.

New York hosts one of the largest such events globally, but with this year marking the 50th anniversary of the police crack down on the LGBT community in Stonewall, authorities expect an additional two to three million visitors to attend.

Lady Gaga delighted crowds on Friday by making a surprise appearance at a celebration commemorating the Stonewall riots anniverasry, a gay rights watershed moment.






"I really, really hope you celebrate every inch of who you are today," said the pop superstar, long beloved by the LGBTQ community, at the bash in Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

"You were born this way and you are superstars," she shouted to applause, referencing the title of her 2011 hit "Born This Way" that became a gay rights anthem.

The June 1969 riots, sparked by repeated police raids on the Stonewall Inn -- a well-known gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village -- proved to be a turning point in the LGBTQ community's struggle for civil rights.

"I look at the older generation and how you have fought to create a safe, more tolerant space for our youth," said Gaga, clad in thigh-high glittering rainbow platform boots, denim booty shorts with rainbow fringe and a rainbow jacket over a black bandeau bra.

"It used to be unheard of to even come out of the closet," the 33-year-old continued, saying that today many children "are aware of their ability to discover and name their own sexual identities; their own gender identities. They are finding themselves and they are not as afraid."

"You did that! You created that space," she said.

Stonewall Day comes before a weekend featuring concerts by Madonna and Grace Jones, winding up with a giant World Pride Parade on Fifth Avenue. It will be the sixth edition of World Pride, which began in Rome in 2000 and brought together droves of people from across the world.

Oppressive adminstration

Amid Friday's festive atmosphere -- featuring rainbow flags, drag queens and performances from stars including Alicia Keys, along with appearances by Donatella Versace, Chelsea Clinton and Whoopi Goldberg -- Gaga pointed to challenges that persist.

"Attacks on the trans community are on an increasing rise each day," she said. "I will not tolerate this -- I know neither will you."

Admonishing Donald Trump's White House as an "extremely oppressive administration," the artist encouraged her audience to "love each other, raise your voice, and, my gosh, vote. Don't forget to vote!"

"If we keep injecting the world with this message of unity and passion, imagine where we'll be in another 50 years from today."

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