Irish Voice on IQ's bid to keep NYPD out of anti-gay parade, and McAleese refusal to join the bigots

"The news that President McAleese declined the invitation to lead the 250th St. Patrick’s Day parade has sparked a new level of controversy that should lead to a new dialogue. This is very good news for the Irish community in New York. We need to talk to one another about this issue that has divided and embarrassed us for too long now"...

Read the whole thing here. The letters page in the print edition is also an interesting read. No one there questions whether the parade is a display of anti-gay bigotry -- just whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. So far, the NYPD has voted with its feet for "good thing." But we're looking out for NYPD Commissioner Kelly's response by October 15th in case that changes.


Mary McAleese says nope to Grand Marshal invite

Irish President Mary McAleese turned down an invite to be the Grand Marshal of the NYC St. Patrick's Day parade. Irish Central, the Irish Voice's website, says it's because of the parade's explicit anti-gay stance. The comments are a good read...

IQ asks NYPD to stop marching in anti-gay parade

PRESS RELEASE - For immediate release

Date: September 22, 2010

NYC’s anti-gay St. Pat’s Parade takes another hit: As Irish President McAleese refuses to lead parade, Irish-American LGBT groups asks NYPD’s Kelly to stop uniformed cops from marching.

New York – The NYC group Irish Queers today asked NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to pull uniformed police officers from the anti-gay St. Patrick’s Day parade. In a letter to the Commissioner, the group charges that police participation is an endorsement of homophobia and a violation of LGBT communities’ right to expect equal access to police services.

The Irish Queers request comes on the same day as news of Irish president Mary McAleese’s decision to skip the parade, viewed in Irish American political circles as a refusal to endorse the parade’s discriminatory message.

The St. Patrick’s parade organizers have asserted the right to exclude LGBT people on the grounds of free speech, and have repeatedly affirmed that the parade has an explicitly anti-gay message.

Each year, thousands of uniformed NYPD officers march in the parade, comprising more than a dozen contingents. Other city uniformed personnel marching in an official capacity include the Fire Department and Emergency Services.

Parade organizers have long touted the parade as “a private religious procession” as a basis for excluding LGBT Irish groups, but have counted on strong participation from the city and its representatives.



South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association Marched in India Day Parade

For the first time in 10 years, the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association (SALGA) marched in the India Day Parade. Congrats to SALGA!

For a full article and video, check out the NY1 story here.


Colin Farrell is standing up against homophobia...and so should you!

BeLonG To is a national organisation in Ireland for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) young people, aged between 14 and 23. This press release about their STAND UP! Campaign against homophobic bullying was taken from their website.

April 8, 2010

Speaking from Los Angeles actor Colin Farrell has issued a statement in support of BeLonG To Youth Service’s STAND UP! Campaign against homophobic bullying of gay young people.
Colin recalls is memories of how his gay brother Eamon was terribly treated when they were young and growing up in Dublin.

Colin Farrell’s statement:

"I can't remember much about the years of physical and emotional abuse my brother Eamon suffered. I was very small. The thing i do remember though, quite literally, is blood on his school shirt when he came home in the afternoon. The beatings and taunting were very frequent for my him and a constant part of his school years. I didn't understand at that time the concept of 'difference'. Back then, as now, he was just my big brother. If I did understand what difference was I understood it in the most pure and unaffected childlike way. To me then, as a child, difference meant being left out. Joy and laughter came with being included, being embraced , and BELONGING to.

People are often afraid of difference. They feel that anything that causes fear, should be turned away from. My brother represented fear for so many people, but caused joy in my life. From a very young age he made me laugh with his intelligence and wit, made me aspire to his strength and goodness. He was to be embraced. To many of the students of his school however he was to be feared. He was to be turned away from. I didn't understand it then, and I still don't know. As a race we humans are united and divided by emotions. The mother and father of all emotions, the queen and king are love and fear. Love unites, it brings us closer to an understanding of the possibility of beauty amidst all the confusion and pain that life can bring. Hate is a disease. It is fear's messenger and it makes us do terrible things in a shadow of our better selves, of what we could be.

Intolerance is not genetically encoded - it is taught. It is learned at home. It is learned in the classrooms and it is learned anywhere else we gather as a group. But it is usually learned early and added onto from there. If there is nothing to feared, there is nothing to hate. If there is nothing to hate there is no pain. My brother was so forceful in standing up for who he was, and for the good that he knew wa inside of him. Many people missed out on an opportunity, not only to enjoy him, but to enjoy themselves by embracing his "difference". They missed out because they saw him as a threat - not as a testament to the kaleidoscope and diversity of this beautiful world. Bullying is torture, it is another betrayal of basic human decency and its scars reach way into the future of its survivors. But the saddest truth is that not all children survive it. It is a potentially fatal societal illness and must be respected and not feared. Respected and dealt with as a very real problem and as an adversary of a potentially harmonious world, that should have no place for bullies or bullying."

- From Colin Farrell

The STAND UP! Campaign comes from BeLonG To Youth Services, Ireland’s national youth service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender young people.


Some pictures from our protest....

All photos taken by Garry Rissman:


PRESS RELEASE: LGBT ire as NYPD Commissioner Kelly leads anti-gay St. Patrick's Parade

PRESS RELEASE – immediate release
Date: March 17, 2010
Contact: JF Mulligan 914-489-9204
Emmaia Gelman 917-517-3627


New York – Lining the side of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade with civil rights slogans and chants, the NYC-based group Irish Queers protested the famously anti-gay parade today. Protesters charged that the participation of more than a dozen uniformed NYPD and FDNY contingents, featuring tens of thousands of marching police and firefighters, is a violation of both city law and LGBT civil rights.
Parade spectators cheered the protest on, and many stopped to join in.
Since 1993, the parade’s organizers have claimed an explicitly anti-gay message in the event, and have redefined the parade as a “private religious procession.” New York City law protects LGBT people against discrimination by police, firefighters and other arms of city administration.

“The NYC St. Patrick’s parade has been a battleground where the religious right tries to erase LGBT people,” said Tierney Gleason of Irish Queers. “The historically homophobic NYPD and FDNY support that exclusion by marching in uniform, en masse in this anti-gay demonstration.”

“Anti-gay discrimination is now illegal in both Ireland and New York City. The NYPD, FDNY and Mayor Bloomberg need catch up. As city representatives, they cannot legally march until parade organizers renounce their discriminatory message,” said JF Mulligan of Irish Queers.

“For two decades, we’ve stood on the parade sidelines and watched hordes of uniformed cops, firefighters and EMTs march in a parade that has been defined in court, by its organizers, as a homophobic parade. We’ve heard them call out, as they march past, that the only way we’ll march in ‘their’ parade is in coffins,” said Emmaia Gelman of Irish Queers.

“We’ve had our permits to protest the parade mysteriously held up and denied by the NYPD, and we’ve seen the city spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cement any ‘NO’ they can legally hand out to us. When we’ve resorted to civil disobedience, we’ve experienced violent police hostility toward queers inside NYPD precincts – and toward those who challenge the parade’s hateful message. There is no remaining question about the meaning of NYPD participation in this parade,”
Gelman said.

“The police presence at the parade is a strong symbol of the antipathy we already feel from them as LGBT people,” said Eustacia Smith, a protester with Irish Queers. “Every year, the parade reminds us that, if you’re queer, it’s often safer to avoid the police than to call on them for help.”

As Irish Queers pursues a civil rights lawsuit, protest against LGBT Irish groups’ exclusion from the parade continues. “The St. Patrick's Day parade is meant to celebrate Irish American heritage in general. We will be there to visibly remind parade goers that we are a thread of Irish American culture,” said Gabrielle Cryan of Irish Queers.

A statement released yesterday by Dublin LGBT groups censured the NYC St. Patrick’s Parade Committee from abroad. “[The exclusion of LGBT people] is deeply un-Irish and something that we cannot allow to happen in the name of an event that is about celebrating Ireland's rich cultural heritage, of which the LGBT community are a corner stone here in Ireland.”

For more info: www.irishqueers.org


Dublin Pride reprehends New York City's Patrick's Day parade organisers


Dublin LGBTQ Pride has today criticised the St Patrick's Day Parade in New York City for its failure to include and allow representatives from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender groups to participate.

The exclusion of these groups from the St Patrick's Day festivities is inherently discriminatory and un-Irish, the group has claimed.

"The exclusion of any groups from celebrating our national holiday abroad is deeply discriminatory and rooted in close mindedness", said Frank Cleary, chairperson of Dublin Pride.

"This is deeply un-Irish and something that we cannot allow to happen in the name of an event that is about celebrating Ireland's rich cultural heritage, of which the LGBT community are a corner stone here in Ireland.

"Dublin Pride is calling on the organisers of the St. Patrick's Day festival in New York to cease their discrimination and to facilitate a full expression of the cultural diversity that exists in Ireland."


(Thanks for the shout-out, Dublin Pride!)

$inn Fein Hypocrisy

Once again, Gerry Adams lost his principles some where over the Atlantic between Belfast and Boston. Last weekend, Adams participated in the anti-gay St. Patrick's Day Parade in Southie and made a speech at the Clover Club which does not allow women. It should be noted than many local politicians boycott the Southie parade because of its homophobia, just as many local politicians do not go to the Clover Club because of its inherent sexism.

Press was also barred from his speech at the Clover Club. He subsequently told the Irish Times:

"Obviously, I'm against exclusion, I'm for inclusivity. I made that point. I'm sorry you weren't allowed in, you should have been allowed in."

We think that his position is not obvious, and that he failed miserably to make his point. The best way to make the point would be refusing to attend. But that would jeopoardize the whole point of his trip, which is to raise funds from wealthy, right-wing, Irish American men wouldn't it?


From the blog of Gerry Adams....

There has been controversy around some of the parades, particularly those in New York and Boston because they refuse to allow gay and lesbian groups to participate. $inn Féin long ago made clear our opposition to exclusion. Our policy in support of gay and lesbian rights is long standing. However, we are not prepared to exclude ourselves from opportunitie$ to promote the peace process and $inn Féin’s objective of Irish unity.

This pathetic explanation tells us what we already know....LGBT people are not part of the "we" or the "our." If SF truly valued LGBT people, we would be part of the "we."


2010 St. Patrick's Day Protest Press Advisory

Date: March 15, 2010
Contact: Emmaia Gelman 917-517-3627



At annual protest against anti-gay NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Irish Queers announce intention to file lawsuit barring uniformed NYPD and FDNY from marching in 2011 and future years.


Irish Queers, NYC-based group that has organized protest against the explicit homophobia of the NYC St. Patrick’s Parade over the past two decades. IQ is joined by representatives from the NYC lesbian, gay, bi and trans community, and other civil rights supporters.


March 17, 2010 at 11am


Fifth Avenue at 57th Street (West side of the Avenue)

More info:

“For 20 years, the NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade has been a battleground where the religious right has tried to erase and exclude LGBT people,” said Tierney Gleason of Irish Queers. “Historically homophobic institutions like the NYPD and FDNY have happily supported that exclusion by marching in uniform and en masse in this anti-gay demonstration.”

“Fortunately, anti-gay discrimination is now illegal in both Ireland and New York City. The NYPD, FDNY and Mayor Bloomberg need to do some catching up. As city representatives, they cannot legally march in the parade until the organizers renounce the homophobic exclusion of LGBT Irish groups,” said JF Mulligan of Irish Queers.

New York City law protects LGBT people against discrimination by police, firefighters and other arms of city administration. The organizers of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day have affirmed, over and over, that their parade carries an explicitly anti-gay religious message. Irish Queers has long asserted that participation by uniformed members of the NYPD and FDNY, as well as New York City mayors and other officials, is a violation of city law.

Deepening the link between the NYPD and the parade organizers’ message, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly will lead this year’s parade as Grand Marshal.

Irish Queers meet year-round as members of both Irish and queer communities. IQ, which evolved out of the Irish Lesbian & Gay Organization, works for immigrant justice, Northern Ireland self-determination, anti-racism and other issues.


Irish American LGBT Group Marching in Buffalo

Outspoken for Equality will be the first LGBT organization to march in Buffalo's "Old Neighborhood" St. Patrick's Day Parade. For more info, read this posting from Outcome (Buffalo's Gay Newspaper) and this interview with Kitty Lambert, one of the organizers.


Annual Parade Protest

Please join us at our annual protest on March 17th on Fifth Avenue @ 57th street (on the west side) from 11am - 12pm.

For more information, send us an e-mail.


Looking for LGBT Law Students

Irish Queers is looking for LGBT law students to help us with research for a new angle to challenge LGBT exclusion from the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade. Please e-mail us if you would like to get involved. We promise.........it *will* be worth it.


From EDGE Boston: St. Patrick’s Day: NOT a great day to be Irish if you’re LGBT

"Private organizations, they said (Supreme Court), are protected under the First Amendment - even those that take up a large city’s main street for a day, cause traffic congestion, leave large amounts of refuse, include every public figure and huge contingents of public workers, and entail huge cost overruns for local police departments."

According to this article in EDGE Boston, there are only 3 Irish/St. Patrick's Day Parades that welcome our community - San Francisco's St. Patrick's Day Parade, Key West's St. Patrick's Day Parade, and St. Pat's for All in Queens.

Click here to read the full article about the history of LGBT exclusion from St. Patrick's Day parades in Boston and New York.


To cut costs, city wants parades reduced by 25%......after St. Patrick's Day

This NY Times article says it all, especially the last paragraph.

LGBTQ Contingent in the Lunar New Year Parade

For the first time ever, an LGBTQ contingent marched in the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown. Very exciting! Congrats to the everyone that marched, and an extra-special congrats to the organizing team, Lunar New Year For All.

To read the NY Daily News article and watch the video footage, click here.

Please take the poll featured next to the article about Irish/Irish American LGBTQ people marching in the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade. (Although it is annoying that NY Daily News is turning this historic moment for Asian/Asian American LGBTQ folks turns back on to questions about St. Patrick's Day.)