It wasn’t the luck of the LGBT Irish this year that led to their inclusion in New York’s St. Patrick’s Parade. Their invitation to march was due to marriage equality and greater acceptance of LGBT people, as well as changed attitudes of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish Catholic fraternal group that helped organize the event.
LGBT Groups Have Waited 22 Years to March
What a difference a year makes! Just last year, the only LGBT group that was allowed to participate in the march down Fifth Avenue was out@nbc, a gay division of NBC television.
Mayors Traditionally March
The 1990 St. Patrick’s Parade is credited with the onset of divisiveness among pro- and anti-gay group inclusions in the Parade. A year later, Mayor Dinkins marched, as most mayors have done, in the parade. But he was greeted with jeers and thrown beer cans.
Mayor Bill de Blasio last year choose not to lead the marchers, whose numbers can easily reach 2,000. De Blasio has protested the lack of Irish LGBT groups since he has been Mayor of New York City.
However, this year, he proudly, on a sixty degree day, marched along with the LGBT associations that included The Lavender and Green Alliance, a three hundred-member Irish LGBT affiliation with its own banner. Same-sex spouses walked hand-in-hand. Ubiquitous Edie Windsor, a lesbian, who, in 2010, challenged the existing Defense of Marriage Act that banned federal recognition of same-sex marriage and its benefits, walked purposefully down Fifth Avenue under the banner of The Lavender and Green Alliance. (Windsor won her case against the U.S. Supreme Court (Windsor v. United States)).
How refreshing for the St. Patrick’s Parade to be open to all of Irish identity and represent their contributions to New York and the world. How great for viewers to see a peaceful parade and not a demonstration!