Drag queens and dignitaries shared Fifth Avenue in the annual Gay Pride parade known as much for its politics as its revelry. Gays also marched in parades in San Francisco, Chicago and Atlanta.
New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) and Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) marched in New York, but Clinton's new Republican rival, Rep. Rick Lazio, campaigned upstate instead.
Political victories were celebrated as activists pointed to passage of a hate-crimes bill in Albany and a Vermont law that allows civil unions between homosexuals.
"It's a tremendously significant year," said lesbian activist and former White House aide Virginia Apuzzo, one of the Heritage of Pride Parade's grand marshals. "The changes have been dazzling."
Supporters of Clinton shouted "You look gorgeous" and "We love you" as the first lady joined the parade accompanied by state and local officials. She marched 20 paces behind a man in a pink tutu and a skater wearing nothing but a thong. She gave the thumbs-up sign and clapped her hands to the disco music.
The parade, which commemorates the 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn credited with sparking the modern gay rights movement, was led by Stonewall veterans in drag riding behind a rainbow of balloons stretched across Fifth Avenue.
There were gay "Star Trek" fans, AIDS activists and church groups singing gospel music. There also were scattered protesters, including Joseph Garber of Brooklyn, who held a sign that said, "Sodomy is a crime."
San Francisco's 30th annual Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Parade, replete with dancing "nuns," all-male cheerleading squads and drag queens in stilettos, attracted hundreds of thousands of revelers, who marched from the waterfront to city hall for a seven-hour party.
Police said the parade had proceeded peacefully and that they knew of no counter-demonstrations.
In Chicago, thousands of revelers lined the streets of the city's North Side for the 31st annual Gay Pride parade. The parade attracted more than 200 entries, including floats, bands and marchers representing local businesses and civic groups.