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Gay Rights Groups Excluded From NYC and Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parades

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Mar 16, 2012

An Irish LGBT advocacy group is holding a protest at New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade because the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish-American Roman Catholic fraternal organization that sponsors the event, has excluded the group from the procession, the Huffington Post reported.

Members of Irish Queers say that they plan on targeting the New York Police Department (NYPD).

"The NYC St. Patrick's Day parade, once a celebration of Irish New York, is now a 'solemn procession' of the religious right," the group says on its website. "It was redesigned so that anti-gay bigots could parade using the church's special right to discriminate. The parade officially sends an 'anti-gay message' -- and the NYPD is its biggest participant."

Even though LGBT groups are banned from participating in New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade, Irish gay activists Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D'Arcy created their own event that welcomes everyone, including members of the LGBT community, Gay City News reported.

The 13th Annual St. Pat's for All Parade was held on March 4 in Sunnyside, Queens -- a neighborhood in the western portion of the New York City borough. Former New York Mayor David Dinkins (D), who supported the Irish LGBT community when he was in office, attended the event, as did several other politicians. Sunnyside has long been known as one of the principal Irish-American enclaves in the mosaic that comprises New York City's neighborhoods. The Irish-Americans there have broadly welcomed the parade since it began, and it has become a popular secondary walk for politicians wishing to play to two of city's most powerful and visible constituencies: the Irish and the LGBT community.

Speaker of the New York City Council Christine Quinn (D) also showed her support for the Irish LGBT community a few years ago. Quinn, an open lesbian, boycotted the event because the Ancient Order of Hibernians prohibited gays from marching openly in the parade.

New York City isn't the only metropolitan to ban its LGBT citizens from the festive gathering. Organizers of Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade prohibited the gay rights organization, MassEquality, from participating in the event as well.

"The LGBT community in Massachusetts faces many issues more urgent than the ability to participate in a parade - youth homelessness, bullying, anti-transgender discrimination, HIV/AIDS, elder abuse, and more," Kara Suffredini, the organization's executive director, said in a statement. "But public rejection by parade organizers is significant in that it's emblematic of the more life-altering rejection our community members face every day."

"It is disappointing that in this climate, parade organizers would choose to reject our application to participate in Sunday's parade."


  • fleebness, 2012-03-16 16:16:48

    Next year, they should register as The Holy Fraternity Of Knitting Persons, show up in very conservative outfits, then during the parade, fling off their garments and show outrageous glitter clothing, while knitting a God Hates Bigotry scarf.

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