The LGBT Network held its annual Long Island Pride Parade on Sunday on Main Street in Huntington. NewsdayTV's Steve Langford reports. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez

Cloudy skies didn’t dim the rainbow of colors or the joyful mood in Huntington on Sunday at the 34th annual Long Island Pride parade and festival.

More than 100 groups marched down Main Street, waving flags and dancing to music as the crowd cheered them.

Organizers said it was the highest number of  marching groups the parade has ever had.

“I think so many more people across Long Island are coming out to march because it's really important that we get out and show our strength in numbers,” said David Kilmnick, founder and president of the Hauppauge-based LGBT Network, which sponsors the event. “(It’s) really important in this particular time when LGBTQ communities are under attack to make sure we don't face that here at home.”

Spectators on Main Street in Huntington cheer on the Hauppauge-based...

Spectators on Main Street in Huntington cheer on the Hauppauge-based LGBT Network's annual Long Island Pride Parade & Festival on Sunday. Credit: Rick Kopstein

The marchers represented a diversity of support ranging from churches, Jewish groups, libraries, teachers unions, students and LGBTQ organizations to the Suffolk County Police Department, the Boy Scouts of America and the New York Islanders.

One of the parade’s grand marshals was Suffolk County police Det. Sgt. Tamika Mays, a 14-year veteran of the force and president of its LGBTQ Society.

“It's an amazing feeling for them to acknowledge me. … I feel very blessed today,” she said. “The Suffolk County Police Department is all about the community… I'm here representing the police department, Suffolk County Police LGBTQ Society, and my family and friends.”

Naomi Moskowitz, wrapped in a Pride flag, offered people rainbow stickers to wear on their clothes, before hopping on her motorcycle and leading off the parade.

“Visibility is really important to me because it shows the younger generation that it is safe to come out and be who they are,” said Moskowitz, of Lynbrook. “Allies need to do their part in making sure that the children around them feel safe and that they're trusted."

She noted studies have found there are benefits if an LGBTQ child has even one supportive adult in their life.

Moskowitz also said the parade brings home a message of unity.

“The world is so divided right now in so many ways, and everybody needs to come together and show a lot of love,” she said.

Ali Williams, her wife, Sandra Rodriguez, and their toddler daughter Paloma had a front-row view of the parade as they stood on Main Street.

“I just feel really excited and have a lot of promise for the future because it wasn't always this way,” said Williams, who lives in Babylon. “I feel extremely fortunate to be able to live authentically and truly with my family on Long Island.”

Williams said she feels fortunate that their daughter is growing up at a time of more acceptance for the LGBTQ community.

“It's really important to me that we all continue to champion that and move it forward,” she said.

Jordan Gonzalez, of Mastic Beach, who watched with his brother and friends from the side of Main Street, said he was heartened by the display of pride.

“I'm glad, especially on Long Island because I know it's very conservative out here, that there's a space and that people will show support,” he said. “Even if you're not gay or transgender, there is a community out here. There aren't that many spaces. So it's a breath of fresh air, I would say.”

Kilmnick emphasized that being part of a movement is a marathon and not a sprint.

“There's still a long way to go,” he said. “But events like Long Island Pride, when you see 105 groups marching that represent the great diversity we have here on the Island, is truly special and is going to help us achieve that goal.”

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