2008 Grand Marshal

The Irish Echo ran this article about the 2008 Grand Marshal, Tommy Smyth. I love this quote from Irish Consul General Niall Burgess:

"The parade is the greatest public expression of the kind of people we are, open, fun-loving, generous. Tommy Smyth is open, fun-loving and generous and he is our representative this year," Burgess said.

Um, what f&%king planet is he from? Has he not heard about the bigoted reputation of this parade and its organizers for the past 17 years?

In my experience, if you ask people about Irish people, especially queers and people of color, you will hear that many think of Irish Americans as racist, homophobic, conservative-right-wing-bigots.....not as kind, open, fun-loving, and generous. (ILIR's framing of immigration isn't helping in this area either, but I won't go into that now.)

Last year, Michael Patrick MacDonald wrote this piece about how some of us are actually annoyed and ashamed about the stereotype of the Irish bigot. While I agreed with this article, the only thing I think was missing from it was a CALL TO ACTION! Who better to stand up and challenge Irish American bigotry than other Irish Americans? We can't just sit around and hope and wait for bigots to become un-bigoted. If you're interested in being more than an arm-chair liberal, come join us on Fifth Avenue this March 17th. Or better yet, come to a meeting and help us plan this year's demo ;-)

But wait.......I almost forgot my other favorite quote from the Irish Echo article. John Dunleavy, who forever keeps preaching about the parade's importance in terms of protecting and preserving faith, values and culture (ick), also stated that the parade contributed between $125 and $150 MILLION DOLLARS to the city's economy in additional sales tax. With numbers like that, it doesn't take a genius to see that the city is making a nice profit off queer exclusion & homophobia.

(photo by Andy Humm)