NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Barclays Center was home to a celebration Wednesday night as the LGBTQ community came together in pride.

Stars hit the rainbow carpet for opening night of World Pride in New York City.

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“It’s so amazing. Pride, I came out in 1985. I’ve been doing it for years,” singer and actor Billy Porter said.

“I am unbelievably grateful to be here tonight to be an openly transgender black woman living my best life,” actress Laverne Cox added.

The celebrities had a message for the world that LGBTQ rights are human rights.

Inside the arena, speakers, and performers took the stage. Whoopi Goldberg hosted the show.

“We refuse to be invisible, say it again, we refuse to be invisible!” Goldberg said.

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A packed Barclays Center enjoys the opening ceremony for World Pride in New York City. (Credit: CBS2)

It’s the first time World Pride has been held in the U.S. and New York City was chosen for a very special reason – this year is 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising – the event that became the foundation of the gay rights movement.

“Those courageous fighters of 50 years ago, are now our elders, 50 years later and they are still fighting,” Goldberg said.

“I never thought that I would be here celebrating 50 years of the uprising and being the openly gay councilmember that represents that district,” City Council speaker Corey Johnson said.

What continues to evolve is how the gay community is recognized. LGBTQ are just a few of the letters –  which stand for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer or questioning.

But pride is less about who is what, and all about community.

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“Remembering that we need to always come together and be powerful and raise our voices speak truth to power, that’s why we’re here, that’s why I love it so much,” Porter said.