More than 150,000 people attended Buenos Aires' 22nd annual Gay Pride Parade on Saturday.

Argentina's capital and largest city kicked off its annual parade with a group kiss. The event ended with fireworks and a cultural festival held in Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires' main square.

In July, Argentina celebrated three years of legal marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

Maria, a teacher at Mocha Celis, the world's first high school devoted to transsexuals, told the AFP: “Pride is what identifies us all. It is the last step to be recognized as a person, to be proud of yourself and know what you are. It's the best feeling you can have in your life.”

In signs and speeches, the parade made many references to Pope Francis, who in his former role as bishop of Buenos Aires opposed passage of the nation's law allowing gay couples to marry.

(Related: New pope Jorge Bergoglio once called gay marriage devil's handiwork.)

“From the pope's point of view there is no official line on the gay community,” said Norberto Lorenzo, another participant. “And we aren't very optimistic. The church doesn't recognize the status of gay people, nor gay couples, gay marriage, nor lesbians, not divorce. We knew quite well the Catholic Church wouldn't accept us. So we will continue to be Catholic and we do not deny our Catholicism or to be gay.”