Brighton Beach Pride Returns to the Boardwalk
RUSA LGBT leads fi fth annual march along Brooklyn’s southern coast
BY MATT TRACY
A dedicated bunch braved
the elements in southern
Brooklyn on May 30
and marched along the
Riegelmann Boardwalk to commemorate
the fi fth annual edition
of Brighton Beach Pride.
The march, which was held virtually
last year due to the pandemic,
returned to its usual format: It
kicked off in Coney Island and proceeded
east on the mostly-deserted
boardwalk on a wet and rainy Sunday
afternoon. RUSA LGBT, a Russian
LGBTQ organization based in
the area, led the march and concluded
the event with a brief rally
on the boardwalk.
Some marchers held Rainbow
Flags, Trans Flags, and Russian
Flags, while others held signs in
Russian and English with messages
such as “You Can’t Legislate Trans
People Away,” My Identity Is Real,”
and “Address Asylum Backlog.”
Drummers provided the street
beat under the intermittent rainfall
as marchers broke out in chants
like “Trans lives matter,” “Black
lives matter,” and “Homophobia
has got to go.” They also denounced
Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
In previous years, the march
drew some curious looks from
some of the spectators who encountered
the march — though there
have also been supporters clapping
along. This time around, with
the boardwalk largely emptied out,
some of the few onlookers recorded
video on their phones and others
stopped to watch. As usual, people
also applauded in solidarity.
“Brighton Beach is changing
very slowly, but they know we are
here,” lead organizer Lyosha Gorshkov
told Gay City News.
After fi ve years of Brighton
Beach Pride, Gorshkov believes
locals are starting to realize that
there is indeed a queer presence in
“They know we exist,” he said.
“All of a sudden, homophobia has
been exposed in Brighton Beach —
and that’s the major achievement.”
Others who participated in the
march conveyed the signifi cance of
Brighton Beach Pride — especially
given that it focuses on the experience
of queer immigrants, including
those who have been driven from
their home countries because of their
sexual orientation or gender identity.
“I know how hard it is for LGBTQI
people in Russia,” said one attendee
named Poulina, who lives in Queens.
“I was so glad to fi nd out that there
are Russians who live here in New
York. I feel like the weather wouldn’t
stop anyone anyway.”
A marcher by the name of Anna,
who hails from Russia but has lived
in the United States for eight years,
was wrapped in a Rainbow Flag.
“I’m really happy to be here with
RUSA LGBT,” Anna said. “Despite
the weather, to see how many people
are here — it shows it is very
important to fi ght for our rights,
especially in Brighton Beach.
The concluding rally featured
multiple speakers who delivered remarks
in both English and Russian.
Yelena Goltsman, another lead organizer
of the annual festivities, stood
up on a boardwalk bench and said-
The annual Brighton Beach Pride March takes place on the Riegelmann Boardwalk along Brooklyn’s
Yelena Goltsman speaks to the crowd at the rally in Brighton Beach.
Lyosha Gorshkov, speaking to the crowd at the rally, tells folks to “stay together — and let’s get united.”
➤ BRIGHTON BEACH PRIDE, continued on p.5
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