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Irish Queers is proud to count on the support of Mayor de Blasio and the City Council, who have again withdrawn their participation from this year’s parade, because the parade continues to marginalize and shame Irish LGBTQ people.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.