J.T., of Jericho, holds a rainbow-colored umbrella while helping to...

J.T., of Jericho, holds a rainbow-colored umbrella while helping to carry the famous Stonewall flag in the Long Island Gay Pride Parade in Huntington. (June 9, 2012) Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Undaunted by the constant threat of rain, thousands turned out in Huntington on Saturday for the Long Island Pride Parade -- a celebration of the area's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

The annual event was the first since same-sex marriage became legal in New York last June. And while the participants took the opportunity to celebrate how far they've come, many vowed to keep fighting for full equality.

"It's been a year and some people have forgotten about the need to still be out and visible and have events like this," said David Kilmnick, who heads the Long Island GLBT Services Network, the group that organized the parade. "Our work is still not done."

The event started with a high-heel race. That was followed by a parade down Main Street in Huntington. The procession ended near Heckscher Park, where the celebration continued with a festival featuring live music.

Joann Waters, 69, of the Five Towns area, said she's attended a half-dozen parades and noticed a difference this year.

"There are more young adults. They're cheering and happy, not self-conscious . . . We've come a long way," she said.

Robyn Berger-Gaston, 44, of Port Jefferson Station, has been coming to the parade since it started in 1991. "I remember the first year being very afraid of protesters," she said.

But as the event has grown, so, too, has the level of comfort.

"It's very welcoming. It's a real celebration," Berger-Gaston said.

The parade was also another opportunity to celebrate the hyphen in her last name. Berger-Gaston and her wife, Lorrie, 47, married July 24.

"I'm almost equal," Lorrie Berger-Gaston said, pointing out that federal laws still don't recognize same-sex marriage.

A number of area politicians turned out to show their support.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice marched in the parade with some Suffolk County legislators and local officials. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) and state Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) addressed the crowd.

Lavine said it's great to live in a state "where last year we finally, finally took the major step of making sure that every New Yorker has equal rights."

"This is just the beginning," he added. "Keep up the great work. You've got every right to be proud."

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