(CNN) — Gay pride was on display in towns and cities across the United States Sunday as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people — and their supporters — marched in parades large and small to demand equality, oppose discrimination and express pride in who they are.

In New York, the parade featured participants of every age and many backgrounds. Some dressed conservatively, others were decked out in glittering fabrics and some wore next to nothing at all.

The atmosphere was festive and open, as marchers carried handmade signs with messages including, “Straight but not narrow-minded” and represented groups including the New York Gay Bloggers.

But there was no banner for St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church. Parishioners did march, but obeyed an order from New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan that they should not carry a banner with the church’s name. The banner they carried was blank.

The gay pride parade in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is considered one of the biggest events in the state — last year’s parade drew more than half a million people, according to CNN affiliate KARE.


19th century movement in Germany

At the turn of the century in Germany there was an early gay rights movement akin to today’s Gay Pride movement. Lead by Magnus  Hirschfeld , this movement sought to educate the public and to bring about the repeal of a provision of the German Criminal Code begun on the 15th May, 1871, which made homosexual acts between males a crime.