Parades celebrating LGBTQ pride kick off in some of America’s biggest cities on Sunday amid new fears about the potential erosion of freedoms won through decades of activism. The annual marches in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and elsewhere take place just two days after one conservative justice on the Supreme Court signalled, in a ruling on abortion, that the court should reconsider the right to same-sex marriage recognised in 2015. That warning shot came after a year of legislative defeats for the LGBTQ community, including the passage of laws in some states limiting the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity with children. As anti-gay sentiments resurface, some are pushing for pride parades to return to their roots – less as blocks-long street parties but overtly civil rights marches. Fears grow online data could be weaponised against abortion seekers in US “It has gone from being a statement of advocacy and protest to being much more of a celebration of gay life,” Sean Clarkin, 67, said of New York City’s annual parade while enjoying a drink recently at Julius’s, one of the oldest gay bars in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. As he remembers things, the parade was once about defiance and pushing against an oppressive mainstream that saw gays, lesbians and transgender people as unworthy outsiders. Dan Dimant, a spokesman for Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit that organises New York City’s parade, said this year’s march will be festive, with floats and “people dancing and celebrating.” “Pride is many things to many people. And for many people, it’s a protest. And to many people, it’s a celebration. We create experiences for members of our community to experience pride and the way that resonates with them,” Dimant said. New York’s first Pride March, then called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, was held in 1970 to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion, a spontaneous street uprising triggered by a police raid on a gay bar in Manhattan. San Francisco’s first march was in 1972 and had been held every year since, except during the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. Celebrations are now global, taking place throughout the year in multiple countries, with many of the biggest parades taking place in June. One of the world’s largest, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was held June 19. In the United States, this year’s celebrations take place amid a potential crisis. In a Supreme Court ruling Friday striking down the right to abortion, Justice Clarence Thomas said in a concurring opinion that the court should also reconsider its 2015 decision legalising same-sex marriage and a 2003 decision striking down laws criminalising gay sex.