Irish Queers gives it back to OUT@NBC (video)

Today, the day before the annual NYC St. Patrick's Day parade [protest], we thought we should swing by OUT@NBCUniversal's Facebook page. We're already completely appalled by OUT@NBC, the corporate gay/straight/marketing alliance that's marching in the antigay parade to the exclusion of the actual Irish queer groups who have been shoved aside for the last quarter century. But the video we found on their Facebook wall surpassed our expectations of badness.

NBC had made a sort of fake news piece where a gay NBC anchor Thomas Roberts (of Sochi boycott-violating fame) was interviewing the main OUT@NBC guy about how terrific it was that they were marching in the parade. In the video, they pretend to take on the concerns of the LGBT community about how OUT@NBC is undermining us. But they end up assuring everyone who has panned them for undermining the Irish struggle for inclusion (okay, so that's everyone, then) that they're actually doing it for us. Between the smarminess and the squirming, it would be a somewhat satisfying train wreck to watch if it weren't so totally deplorable.

OUT@NBC's video frankly exceeds the capabilities of an outraged press release in response. And OUT@NBC refuses to return our calls, so our options for reply are limited. But we're not the silent types! So you can watch the NBC puff piece here -- or you can watch Irish Queers' version below, in which we rage-eat cookies and finally get to talk smack to the stuffed shirts of OUT@NBC. Are we mad? Yeah, we are. In the American sense of the word.


Press release: At Tues. parade protest, plans to celebrate Irish LGBTQ icons, Bronx cheer for corporate sponsors

PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release
Date: March 15, 2015
Contact: Emmaia Gelman on 917-517-3627

Irish LGBTQ Protest of Exclusion Continues at 2015 NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade
Irish Queers welcome support from NYC officials & Ireland; condemn corporate sponsors.

Press Conference: Tues. March 17, 10:45am at Fifth Ave below W. 57th St.
Protest: Tues. March 17, 11am-1pm, same location.

Irish Queers and allies will protest the exclusion of Irish LGBTQ groups from the St. Patrick's Day Parade this Tuesday, March 17 at 11am. This year’s protest will feature images of cherished figures whose Irish or Irish-American and LGBTQ identities are inseparable – all of whom would be closeted or banned by the parade organizers.

Irish Queers is proud to count on the support of Mayor de Blasio and the City Council, who have again withdrawn their participation from this year’s parade, because the parade continues to marginalize and shame Irish LGBTQ people. We’re also proud of the ongoing support for inclusion coming from Ireland – gay and straight – where New York’s bigoted parade is widely regarded as an embarrassment. 

The parade committee's admission this year of the gay/straight alliance of their corporate sponsor, NBC, is not inclusion of Irish LGBTQ groups, but more exclusion. The demand has always been for Irish LGBTQ groups to march under banners that say who we are without shame – not corporate groups, marching behind an “OUT” banner that avoids mentioning “lesbian”, “gay”, “bisexual”, or “transgender.”

“There is no logic to letting OUT@NBC march except as another way to keep Irish LGBTQ groups out,” said Gaby Cryan of Irish Queers. “The parade organizers have claimed a right to discriminate against us because they’re running it as a Catholic procession. But even the Cardinal calls it ‘a celebration of all things Irish.’”

Guinness and Heineken have joined NBC in supporting the discriminatory parade while also claiming that they oppose discrimination.

“Guinness and Heineken, after dropping their sponsorship of the antigay parade for just one year, have used NBC’s trick as an excuse to resume sponsoring it. It’s totally perverse that Heineken has offered to put money into the inclusive Queens parade as well as the antigay parade. Playing both sides harms the LGBTQ community, and adds insult to injury,” said Eustacia Smith of Irish Queers.

Irish LGBTQ groups have been fighting to take our place in our community’s parade for 25 years. We hope that next year’s parade will finally see the end of discrimination – and that corporations and others who say they support inclusion will work with the Irish LGBTQ community, rather than through back room deals.



Thanks for a beautiful night.

Under a veil of snow, in a warmly lit cellar painted with murals of dancers, with full glasses, and in friendly company -- that's how Irish Queers and supporters spent last night at the Parlour.

Thanks again to Colm Tóibín, Sarah Schulman, and Charles Rice-Gonzalez for reading, storytelling, and drawing the connections between us all. Also to our surprise musical guest Susan McKeown, whose music and friendship have been part of Irish LGBTQ organizing in NYC since the beginning.

Big love to everyone who came out in the snow. It felt like family.


City Limits: Mayor de Blasio can do more than boycott

Exposing the parade organizers' sideways cuts at a religious "free speech" right to discrimination, and the NYPD and City Hall's wildly underreported support for the bigoted message of the parade... And calling on a mayor who has shown he cares about this issue to step all the way up to end the excuses.

Mayor must reckon with St. Patrick's Parade Legacies


"De Blasio's boycott alone may not be enough to end the discrimination, but he has the authority to do even more. The question of how to deal with the anti-gay parade has long been muddied by a 1993 court case refiguring it as a private, anti-gay Catholic procession. The mayor's boycott of the parade obscures another problem: City Hall has long supported the parade organizers' exclusion of Irish LGBT groups, and it hasn't stopped yet. If negotiations are underway – the mayor hasn't acknowledged them, but media reports have – then it's time to set the record straight on these two legacies. And it's time for the mayor to take the additional steps he can."

Statement on de Blasio boycott, Guinness, and NBC - March 3, 2015

Statement from Irish Queers and allies
March 3, 2015

We are heartened that Mayor Bill de Blasio gets that the inclusion of NBC’s corporate gay group in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is, as he said on Sunday, “too small a change to merit a lot of us participating who have wanted to see an inclusive parade.” To end the 24-year boycott of the parade the organizers need to include identifiable Irish LGBTQ groups—who have long been welcomed in St. Patrick’s Day parades in Ireland. We are angered but not surprised that Guinness, which had long sponsored the exclusionary parade, is back in as a sponsor after a one-year hiatus.

We are appreciative that our allies—from elected officials such as Council Speaker Melisssa Mark-Viverito and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to grassroots organizers and groups such as the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club to big LGBTQ advocacy organizations including GLAAD, the Empire State Pride Agenda, and the Anti-Violence Project—have held strong against the parade committee’s effort to divide us by admitting the NBC group.

Our message to the parade organizers is simple: Embrace your own. End the ban. Let us march with our people as who we are.

We urge Mayor de Blasio to hold fast and help end this exclusion once and for all. We will continue to boycott the parade until then and will once again protest the parade on March 17 on Fifth Avenue and W. 57th St. if a just resolution is not reached.