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Mercy B, Lolita Leopard and Gotham Cheer excited to represent LGBTQ+ community for younger generations at Queens Pride

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NEW YORK — Like the many colors of the rainbow, there are many talented people who perform in the annual Queens Pride Parade and Festival.

It’s not Pride without them. 

“It’s a tough time for queer people out here,” said drag queen Mercy Be. “The most important thing we can do right now is just show up loudly and proudly.”  

Multi-talented Mercy Be started playing the violin at 4 years old, never thinking 24 years later she’d be performing at the Queens Pride Festival. 

“It’s pretty much the same thing I’ve always done, except now I’m wearing a wig,” said Mercy Be. 

Each performer would agree, all their hard work practicing is worth it. 

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“These people work hours on their costumes and their performances,” said Julius Caesar, Host of Queens Pride. “They work meticulously, trying to pick the perfect song and also simultaneously represent themselves and stay true to who they are.”  

Queens Pride:

The festival is in Jackson Heights, Queens. It’s one of the most diverse communities in the world. So it’s only fitting each performer is unique. 

“I love being a role model for the younger generations that can look up to me,” said Lolita Leopard. 

Lolita Leopard is a ballroom performer and singer, who has appeared on national television, winning awards for her talents.  

“I want to be able to perform and (fans to) be able to say, ‘Hey, I can do that too,’” said Lolita Leopard. 

Then there is also the fabulous Gotham Cheer Team, a group of adult cheerleaders all a part of the LGBTQ+ community, trying to make a difference.  

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“The idea is for the adults to give back and not to just do backflips,” said Felipe Hernandez. 

Hernandez is the co-founder and says his nonprofit is all about helping to shape the younger generations. 

He wants to show them, you can be whoever you want to be. 

“You can shine with pom-poms, with glitter, with whatever you want,” said Hernandez. “However you want, we want to make sure everybody is a star.”  

Gotham Cheer had been practicing their performance every week since January.  

“It’s that instant connection of seeing yourself and vice versa, us seeing ourselves when we look at the crowds,” said Latoya Leflore, co-founder of Gotham Cheer. “I think that’s super important for not just youth, but everyone.” 

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Source: CBS

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