Up until now, LGBT groups were banned from participating in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, a first-term Democrat, is the first mayor in 20 years to boycott the parade for the last two years for this very reason. He did not want to attend a parade that would not permit the LGBT community to participate in it fully and openly.
But he will now that ban has been dropped. De Blasio said: “The St Patrick’s Day parade is a New York City tradition, but for years Irish LGBT New Yorkers could not show their pride. Finally, they can celebrate their heritage by marching in a parade that now represents progress and equality.”
In this year’s parade, the Lavender and Green Alliance, an organization that has been trying to overturn the ban for 25 years, anticipates having over 300 marchers this year. “Our hearts will be dancing,” said Brendan Fay, the leader of the organization.
“It wasn’t truly inclusive until it included an Irish gay group,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm, a member of both the city council’s Irish and LGBT caucuses. “This allows us to express, in full, who we really are. When you’ve been excluded for something for so long, when you finally realize your dream is coming true, it’s very emotional.”
Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with this decision. “The mayor is a disgrace who bullied everyone to having the type of parade that he wanted,” says Bill Donohue, of the Catholic League. “They are making this just an Irish parade, not a Catholic parade. It’s contemptible.”
Will you be watching the St. Patrick’s Day parade this year?