|Photo: @IvanPer4 (Ivan Pereira, AM-NY)|
Date: Feb. 17, 2015
Contact: Emmaia Gelman, 917-517-3627, email@example.com
BOYCOTT OF NYC ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE CONTINUES IN 2015
Irish and LGBTQ groups and elected officials reject parade’s discrimination; secret deal with OUT@NBC leaves in place the long-standing ban on Irish LGBTQ groups.
New York – Irish and LGBTQ community groups and elected officials today announced the renewed boycott of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2015. They pledged to uphold the boycott until Irish LGBTQ groups can march under their own banners on the same terms as other groups. Protests will also continue at the parade.
Last year, as the Mayor and the City Council joined the boycott and corporate sponsors withdrew, pressure mounted on the parade’s remaining sponsors, including NBC. In September, parade organizers revealed a backroom deal in which NBC's gay employee group, but no Irish LGBTQ groups, would be admitted to the parade in 2015.
Irish LGBTQ groups duly applied to march as well. In reply, parade organizers claimed there was “no room” for Irish LGBTQ groups in 2015, but they “could apply in future years.” But parade organizers now reiterate that Irish LGBTQ people can only march if they are not identifiable – in other words, as long as they remain invisible in the Irish community – and that no future end to the exclusion is planned. The ban on Irish LGBTQ groups remains in place, as it has since 1991.
“After 25 years of trickery and bigotry by the parade committee, no one is fooled when they say the parade is too short, or that Irish LGBTQ people just have to wait our turn behind NBC’s gay employees. They’ve always tried to sweep Irish LGBTQ people under the rug, rather than admit we’re part of the Irish community.” said J.F. Mulligan of Irish Queers. “The parade organizers haven’t suddenly stopped being anti-gay. They still seem terrified that Irish LGBTQ people exist and walk among them. They’ve tried to evade us by making this deal with a corporate gay group.”
"The Fifth Avenue St. Patrick's Day parade, unfortunately, remains non-inclusive,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “This has always been about including an Irish gay organization, not some corporate backed gay group. Until the parade is truly representative of all Irish people, I don't believe anyone should march in it. New York must do what is done in Ireland and allow Irish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to participate. It's just that simple.”
“We've boycotted the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Manhattan for a simple reason: refusing to allow Irish LGBT New Yorkers to celebrate their heritage and their identity by marching in the parade is discriminatory,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Almost all New Yorkers know that continued exclusion of Irish LGBT New York organizations from the parade is wrong. This longstanding struggle isn't solved by cloaking a little-known LGBT group under a quasi-corporate banner.”
“People who support equality must not accept anything less then full, open participation for members of the Irish LGBT community,” said Allen Roskoff, President of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club. “Full equality means participating as identifiable and proud members of the Irish LGBT community. The days of denying our existence by exclusion in the St Patrick’s Day Parade are over. This is not the time for acceptance of a gesture which is hollow, discriminatory and insulting. One must never compromise to bigotry."
"We will never march in a parade that is not fully open and inclusive of all New Yorkers. Homophobia fuels the AIDS epidemic. It isn't just a personal opinion when it's on display for millions of New Yorkers to witness. NYC has to stop rolling out the welcome wagon for bigots. This public policy – which is what it is – is wrong. The parade should be inclusive or it shouldn't exist," said Jennifer Flynn of VOCAL-NY.