‘Unapologetically Us’ – NYC Pride Announces 2022 Campaign & Calendar

Ph: NYC Pride

This week, Instinct Magazine was invited to attend NYC Pride’s annual fundraising event, a swanky soiree held this year at the Lighthouse in Chelsea Pier 61 along New York City’s famed West Side Highway.

Seen amid the fabulous crowd and ruling the red carpet were many special guests; among them, RuPaul’s Drag Race favorite, Monique Heart, and the remarkable transgender wonder, TS Madison. Both Heart and Madison have had a stellar career climb over the past year, with TS landing her network TV show on Fox TV and basking in the success of her hilarious scene-stealing performance in the cult film Zola. Heart became an international breakout name after Drag Race and Drag Race Allstars,  ultimately landing an unscripted comedic fashion series show on Amazon.

The incomparable TS Madison.

The guests were all dressed to impress, sipping cocktails, catching up with old friends, and cruising new ones. We were treated to NYC Pride’s graphic campaign debut for 2022. Julian Gavino, Sicily Sierra, B. Hawk Snipes, and Kirill Kabachenko are the queer, trans, BIPOC members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community featured in this year’s campaign. Photographer Mike Ruiz shot it with the official makeup sponsor YSL Beauté supporting the campaign this year.

L-R Twin DJs Coco and Breezy, Monique Hart, Friend
– Ph: Andrew Werner, Hot model rocking a fab lapel pin by fleurdpins

As June 2022 approaches, NYC Pride is poised to reset the organization’s advocacy efforts beginning with its iconic week of Pride celebrations. This year’s theme is “Unapologetically Us,” and it speaks volumes about the resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community and how we shall no longer suppress who we are to make others feel comfortable.

That said, the new direction of NYC Pride is one of love, inclusion, and diversity, as many of us are now remerging and reconnecting to the world deadly after two years of the pandemic and quarantined isolation.

Brilliant Recording Artist & Activist Milla Jam

NYC Pride has faced past scrutiny from BIPOC, who claimed that the organization’s efforts over the decades became increasingly elitist, catering to a wealthy white male demographic. In my years of covering Pride events, I noticed many of the week’s events came with very hefty ticket prices. That works great for fundraising, but simultaneously, it isolates many of the younger, minority members of the LGBTQIA who may not be able to affords to attend the events.

Instinct’s own, handsome contributing writer, Rahmel Reid hit the Red Carpet



Under its new direction, NYC Pride has named Sandra Pérez as Executive Director. She is the first female ever to hold that position. During last night’s festivities, Perez delivered a riveting speech addressing concerns that have segregated our community rather than unify it and acknowledged a commitment to amplifying NYCPride’s philanthropic impact all year round — not just in June:

Perez, who was appointed Executive Director of NYC Pride in November 2021, explained, “Our community has been through tremendous hardships over the past few years, beginning with the pandemic, and continuing with a reckoning with social justice, threats to our democracy, and more recently armed conflict overseas.”

She added: “Compounding these struggles is the onslaught of legislation around the country that directly targets LGBTQIA+ individuals. In spite of these challenges and attacks, we are here to tell the country and the world: we will not be erased. We will stand together to face these attacks on our LGBTQIA+ siblings across the country and around the world. We will continue to love and live our truth and be our full and complete selves – and we are not going to apologize for it.”

Sandra Perez (Seated) and the NYCPride Team pose for a pic

There was definitely a feeling of optimism and hope amid the crowd last night as we countdown to our first significant, full-scale NYC Pride season since Stonewall 50, right before the pandemic began in 2019. And as far as NYC Pride walking the walk when it comes to more inclusivity and visibility of the trans community, they made the surprise announcement —with the help of a drum line band, that TS Madison has been named the 2022 Pride Parade Grand Marshall.

Come on, June! I can’t wait to celebrate Pride, once again —unapologetically me! 


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