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Parade Of Superheroes Held To Confront Gender Stereotyping Among Children

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Parents in an Upper Manhattan neighborhood aren't letting anyone rain on their children's parade of superhero costumes.

Families took to the streets Sunday to confront stereotypes about gender that can begin early in life.

As CBS2's Steve Langford reported, a little girl's joy to dress up as Spider-Man sparked the community march of superheroes as a way to show support of a child's comfort with being whoever they want to be.

"She started coming home from school talking about not wanting to be a girl anymore because some of the boys at school say only boys can be Spider-Man," said mom Margaret Ryan.

That challenge prompted the parents of 4-year-old Ellie Evangelista to seek advice from other families, who responded with a parade through Washington Heights.

"We want to make sure Ellie knows she can be whatever she wants to be," said dad Steve Evangelista.

Ellie, the star of the parade, ultimately decided not to wear her Spider-Man costume; opting instead for a new golden ninja outfit, Langford reported.

"She still loves Spider-Man. She wants to be Spidey at home," said Steve Evangelista.

But the message on Sunday was loud and clear.

"It's great we live in a really different world these days," said Maribel Gautreaux. "Everyone should be open to be free and be themselves."

"It's 2015, things like that don't really matter and kids are allowed to wear what they want, choose to be what they want," said Ariel Ortiz.

Ellie's parents said they were humbled by the show of support.

"I'm in awe. I'm glad I'm part of this community," said Ryan.

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