PROTEST PLANNED AT NYC ST. PATRICK'S PARADE, AS LGBT GROUPS CALL ON COMMISSIONER KELLY TO PULL NYPD CONTINGENTS OUT OF ANTI-GAY MARCH.
Protest: Thursday 3/17, 11am-1pm, Fifth Ave. between 56th & 57th Streets.
New York – Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists today announced plans to protest NYPD participation in the New York City St. Patrick's Parade, which takes place this Thursday. The parade is touted by organizers as an explicitly “anti-gay, Catholic” event, and has been defined in court as a “private, religious procession” in order to preserve the right to exclude LGBT marchers. Protesters, organized by the group Irish Queers, contend that NYPD participation in such a parade is a violation of New York City's human rights code.
“Year after year, we watch thousands of uniformed NYPD participate in this anti-gay march. It reinforces everything LGBT people already fear about police: we're not safe with them, they haven't rejected discrimination, and they won't object when someone else discriminates,” said J.F. Mulligan, who plans to protest with Irish Queers.
“The very public anti-gay message that the police and the parade are sending makes us increasingly unsafe. This is the bigotry that tells thugs that it's fine to go to bash and kill queers, and alienates queer kids to the point where they commit suicide,” said Gaby Cryan of Irish Queers. “They're representing the city when they wear that uniform – and they're saying very clearly that the city is not for us.”
In advance of the parade, a group of eleven LGBT community organizations delivered a letter to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly calling for the full withdrawal of uniformed officers from the anti-gay march. Commissioner Kelly failed to respond to a similar request made last September.
The letter to Kelly connected participation in the anti-gay parade to “...ongoing problems of homophobic police departmental culture – including, at times, directly threatening or violent messages – visited on LGBT people by officers in environments where police control physical or cultural space,” and “...concerns that police are willing to treat homophobia in immigrant and religious community spaces as 'normal' or 'acceptable,' and are therefore unavailable to LGBT people in those zones.”
The letter, delivered earlier today, is signed by Irish Queers, ACT UP-NY, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, Metropolitan Community Church of NY, the NY Association for Gender Rights Advocacy, OUTlaw (Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law), Queerocracy, Queers for Economic Justice and SALGA-NYC, Serving the Desi Queer Community, as well as the LGBT Advisory Committee to the NYPD. Full text is at www.irishqueers.org.