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Millions lined the streets of New York on Sunday to wave rainbow flags, celebrate the movement toward LGBTQ equality and renew calls for action in what organizers billed as the largest gay pride celebration in history.

Some 150,000 parade marchers and an estimated 4 million spectators commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising that triggered the modern LGBTQ movement, with corporate sponsorship and police protection that would have been unthinkable half a century ago.

Similar parades were being held around the world, with celebratory events in liberal democracies and growing fights for equality in other places.

North Macedonia held its first gay pride march on Saturday. In Singapore, marchers called for scrapping a law banning gay sex. In Turkey, members of Istanbul’s gay and transgender community gathered for a small rally that ended with tear gas and rubber bullets on Sunday after their annual march was banned for the fifth consecutive year.

“It’s hard for us today, but can you even imagine what some of these people went through in the past? There’s no way to thank them,” said Josh Greenblatt, 25, an actor wearing red sunglasses, a white crop top, ripped jeans and gold-heeled boots at the New York event.Greenblatt said he found his outlandish outfit “empowering,” and he had plenty of competition from revelers stripping down to the barest of essentials and celebrating New York’s legalization of toplessness for women. One woman wore a skintight rainbow dress with a rainbow afro about 2 feet (60 cm) high. A shirtless man sporting rainbow-colored wings and high white platform shoes strutted up Broadway. Rainbow onesie leotards were popular, and there were plenty of colorful wigs, patent leather, fishnets and bright makeup.

The festivities were set to conclude on Sunday night with closing ceremonies at Times Square and a waterfront concert by Madonna. Read more

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