June 16 Rally Kicks Off Pride Week

PHOTOS BY DONNA ACETO | Heritage of Pride opened LGBT Pride Week on June 16 with the annual rally, this year at the East River Bandshell on the Lower East Side.

Jai Rodriquez, whose credits include Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” “Rent” on Broadway, and the Off-Broadway show “Zanna, Don't!,” hosted.

Performers included reggae artist Nhojj, the first black man to win an OUTMusic Award;

Nikki Thomas, an East Village singer who had the crowd on their feet for “Don’t Stop Believing”;

guitarist and singer Justin Utley, a survivor of Mormon ex-gay conversion therapy;

and Beverly McClellan, who moved the crowd with her Janis Joplin-esque voice.

Speakers included Rabbi Rachel Weiss from Congregation Beit Simchat Torah;

and Queer Rising activist Jake Goodman, who spoke about the challenges facing homeless LGBT youth.