Bittersweet: what's been won, and what has not

Irish Queers are delighted that the parade's ban is ended, and look forward to joining the Irish LGBTQ contingent on Fifth Avenue. We've always held that our struggle is against bigotry, though, and all the celebrating and political fist-bumping is turning that on its head.

The mayor stood yesterday surrounded by Irish Americans and announced that New York City is a beacon of inclusion. It is better now for Irish queers. But in New York City, racist police killings are still the subject of constant protest. Homeless people are being swept off of streets in gentrifying neighborhoods by police cars draped in pink "breast cancer awareness" ribbons, no less. Gentrification is causing deaths and destroying communities literally every minute.

So yes, we successfully pushed the Parade Committee into ending a policy that was embarrassing them. But to paint the city "inclusive" with that small brush is to conveniently forget what's really happening here, and to use Irish LGBTQ people as your tool.

The mayor's press conference showed just how much can be papered over with a victory.

Some claimed the victory was won by putting the kettle on. Decades of protest and pressure didn't do it, just queers and bigots talking lovingly to each other.

A Parade Committee member lauded the end of the ban with deluded, Islamophobic nonsense about how "our Judeo-Christian beliefs" are what ended the ban, and "the West is about inclusion!" No one on the mayor's stage uttered a word of objection. (Update: we've been asked to note that attendees on that stage who objected felt unable to interrupt the Mayor's press conference to say so. The Mayor did not object.)

Nor are we allowed any accounting for the still-sitting members of the parade committee who enthusiastically supported the parade throughout its ban on Irish LGBTQ groups, and dismissed and degraded the protests. But we're supposed to stay grateful and quiet in case we upset the new "unity."

We fought 25 years for this victory. We don't want it misused. The NYC Irish community still has its progressives and it still has its bigots. NYC has its moments of inclusion, and its deep traditions of violent exclusion. We gladly celebrate the end of the parade's ban on Irish LGBTQ marchers. We don't agree to forget what hasn't ended.

(Originally posted 3/4/16)