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Grand Marshals Ian McKellen & Derek Jacobi Are NYC Pride Virgins

ian mckellen derek jacobi nyc pride

Vicious virgins.

It's probably been a while since you could call Sirs Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi virgins but the 76-year-old thespians and stars of PBS' Vicious are about to break their NYC Pride hymens when they make their debut at today's parade as its grand marshalls.

Related | Ian McKellen & Derek Jacobi Return for Vicious

Though McKellen has been publicly out since 1988 and is a staunch advocate of LGBT rights, he's never been to the annual event commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Riots -- the spark of the modern day gay civil rights movement.

He and Jacobi met at the University of Cambridge in the 1950s and bonded over their shared love of acting and other men.

"We knew we were both gay," Sir Derek told The New York Times, "but we didn't call it gay."

Their friendship has seen them through the decriminalization of homosexuality in the UK, as well as the anti-gay Section 28 bill -- which banned authorities from "promoting homosexuality" -- to England's legalization of same-sex marriage. Having lived through times of such immense change, McKellen can't help but see their involvement in today's event as a statement in itself.

"That's what we're doing by being here and waving," Sir Ian said. "We don't have to be reading out a long list of demands."

NYC Pride is expected to draw record numbers in light of the Supreme Court's decision to declare marriage equality the law of the land.

So as Sir Ian told Sir Derek when wondering what lay ahead for their inaugural Pride: "You may be in for a very, very happy weekend."

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