|OMG!!!! We seriously won.|
From the beginning, our demand has been for an Irish LGBTQ contingent to march behind their own banner saying who they are, like all other contingents. Today’s decision to invite the Lavender and Green Alliance does just that!
This is a victory for the grassroots organizing, civil disobedience, and street protest of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization and its successor, Irish Queers. Protests held the line year after year where politics constantly failed. It’s also a victory for our beautiful queer and Irish community of support, stretching from New York City to Ireland and beyond.
The parade issue has never just been about LGBTQ people. Irish people’s struggles are part of our identity: challenges to religious bigotry, demands for women’s rights, Irish republicanism, and struggles against racism in New York and Ireland are irreducible parts of the Irish experience. Irish queers have often been at the forefront of those struggles. We are proud of the complexity of our lives and histories.
The desire to march and the protests against exclusion began as part of Irish queer people’s work to stem the homophobia-fueled tide of AIDS deaths, to push back on the power of the church in Ireland, and to end the pretense that Irish queers are not a central part of Irish culture and politics. Even as other battles were won, the parade’s ironclad combination of bigotry, religion, money, and city politics made it a long holdout against justice. We are tired but happy to see the end of it.
Our thanks: we’re thankful to the many ordinary New Yorkers who supported us over the last 25 years, as well as the many elected official who refused to march in the parade while we were left out. We’re thankful for David Dinkins and others who made real, tangible tries at giving Irish queer people their rightful place in the parade. And we’re grateful to and proud of the original members of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization – who were also part of ACT UP, the Lesbian Avengers, and other important queer activist forces – who laid the groundwork for this victory.
We look forward to marching up Fifth Avenue with our community!