St. Patrick’s Day: The Parade of Bigots

(image via twitter nowthisnews)


Count me among those who love St. Patrick’s Day. Each year the city becomes a sea of green, and people are having a great time (sometimes too great of a time!). Americans with Irish ancestry have much to celebrate both personally and in our contribution to America over the last two hundred years.

However, increasingly the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York has become a gathering place and platform for those who hate gays. Privately run and financed by sponsors and given credibility by media, the parade has become a haven for those who want to express openly their hatred of LGBT Americans.

St-patricks-paradeFor more than two decades, the battle has waged between those who love human rights and the aging parade organizers, and little progress has been made — though the conflict appears to be getting worse.

All you have to do is apply the classic test to see the injustice of this green march down Fifth Avenue.

Can you imagine the reaction in New York City if there was a major parade down the legendary boulevard that forbid African-Americans or Jewish Americans from marching in it?

Do you really believe for a second that Ford Motor Company would think it would be a good idea to sponsor such a gathering?

Do you believe that NBC (coming out of Sochi) would show the parade live on television and be a sponsor of the event?

Can you imagine the outrage if the Police Chief of New York City would march in a parade that banned African-Americans and Jewish Americans?

Really? We know the answer to those questions.

Mayor De Blasio deserves praise for being the first New York Mayor to refuse to pass St. Patrick’s Cathedral and celebrate the exclusion of LGBT Americans.

BrattonHowever, what about the Mayor’s new Police Chief William Bratton walking proudly in the parade? When challenged, he said he was walking to honor 9/11 first responders. Really, Chief Bratton? Do you think we don't see that you're excusing bigotry by hiding behind the victims of 9/11? I can think of at least 100 ways to honor those victims without endorsing the exclusionary hate this parade now represents.

The Mayor should have had a talk with the Chief. Just how much should the LGBT community now trust the new Police Chief after his marching yesterday? His presence in the parade sends a powerful message to our community of his disdain for our rights.

Boston is struggling with the same issue. The parade organizers in Boston allowed Scott Lively, who supports the death penalty for LGBT folks, to march. Mr. Lively just praised President Putin as a hero for his suppression of homosexuals. The same committee was unable to reach agreement with the LGBT community to allow them to march and the mayor of the city boycotted it.

There should be no more patience for corporations such as Ford Motor Company and NBC over their support of this march that has come to symbolize hatred toward the LGBT community. New York’s Police Chief needs to understand that with this one walk down Fifth Avenue, he left the rest of us disgusted and distrustful of his leadership.


  1. Howard B says

    Chief Bratton should have been asked how he would feel knowing that the gay first responders who gave their lives on 9/11 would have been denied the right to march in the parade?

  2. john says

    While I disagree with the exclusion of the LGBT community from marching in the parade, Im sure that the organizers fear it will transform into a PRIDE parade instead of a ST PATRICKS DAY parade.
    I firmly believe that their position is not based on homophobia, but on the fact that so many activits and origaniztions want to participate. The fear is that the LGBT community will somehow take it over and it will lose it true purpose. That fear is then supported by the true homophobes like Mr. Lively.

  3. KURT says

    LET’S NOT FORGET THAT HENRY FORD Was an open and vocal supporter of Faschism and AntiSemitism in the 30’s. Apparently nothing has changed in the Ford Motor Co.

  4. anon says

    The people who organize the parade want to make the strong political claim that they represent ALL the Irish in NYC. If you want the political support of the Irish vote you have to go through them. This is pure power politics. Any rival group is going to have to organize their own parade.

  5. Neil says

    Parades are barbaric. Bratton was one of the best police chiefs LA ever had. People don’t “get over” homophobia. Total acceptance is not reality.

  6. VP says

    “They have come to believe in their exceptionalism and their sense of being the chosen ones. That they can decide the destinies of the world, that it is only them who can be right” Vladimir Putin 3/18

  7. says

    It’s been a trying few months. I keep thinking of that line from The Normal Heart, about “nobody cares that we’re dying.”

    Right. We can’t have gays in the parade, but let’s allow a man whose bigotry is DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the persecution, attacks and DEATHS of gay people.

    A “family parade” – celebrating a day celebrated by BINGE DRINKING.

    The shame that was Sochi; “let’s not boycott, it’ll send a stronger message if we show up and defy the hate”

    Well, people showed up. Nobody defied anything. There was no Jesse Owens moment. I’m particularly ashamed of the Canadian athletes, who fawned over Putin like schoolgirls at a late-90s Backstreet Boys meet-and-greet. Nobody said a thing. Nobody made even a gesture of defiance of hatred and celebration of diversity and freedom.

    At the paralympics, two Ukranians, upon accepting their medals, chose to hold their hands *over* the medals, covering them, in effect “taking no glory” in their win. A small statement, but more than anything done at the Other Olympics.

    All the “well, they’ve trained hard, its’ about their sport.” Hogwash.

    i remember Surya Bonaly giving a legit “F-you” to not just the olympic judges, but the olympics in general, when she executed her illegal backflip on ice, landed on ONE blade, and finished her routine with her back to the judges. For her, a statement meant more than a possible medal.

    And yes – St. Pats. And nobody cares that gays are being discriminated against. Nobody cares. Kudos to all the companies that pulled funding – they’re on the right side of history. And shame on all the others who turned a blind eye to hatred.

    What we permit, we promote.

  8. Adam says

    Maybe I’m not understanding why we’re all outraged over this… And before you get your flamethrowers ready, understand that I am gay, a progressive liberal, and an atheist. I just don’t understand the outrage.

    The parades (and the day) are largely about Irish identity and they were started by poor immigrants as a way to form community because they themselves were relegated to 2nd class status. Why are we wanting to participate as LGBT veterans? What does that have to do with being Irish? And what does it get us by trying to force our way in to these parades in such a public manner? Is it going to make people on the fence welcome us with open arms? It just seems to me that this is the wrong battle where the “win” gains us little but costs us a lot.

    Now if you think I’m dead wrong on this, please explain. I’ve already said I could very well be not understanding a key piece of the puzzle so please hold off on the torches and pitchforks for now.

  9. says

    Adam, what if they said “well, traditionally there were no black people who were Irish, so we’d like to keep that tradition and keep them out of our parade.”

    here’s what you’re not understanding – gay people are discriminated against in society. this might be news to you. but we’re disciminated against. LGBT people were banned from marching in the St Pats parade in Boston, yet Scott Lively was invited to march – Scott Lively who is on trial for crimes against Humanity as is a big reason gay people are being killed in Uganda and Russia. you may no be aware of this.

    what does being an “LGBT Veteran” have to do with anything. It has to do with everything once you’re told that since you’re gay you can’t be a part of it. This may come as a shock to you, but some people who are gay or lesbian or transgendered or bisexual are also IRISH.

    yes i know. this is undoubtedly blowing your mind right now.

    When they say “you can join, but you can’t let people know that you’re gay” an intelligent person puts it together that they discriminate against and dislike gay people. This is why many people remain closeted in life. When they deny us our personhood. WHen they demand we remain invisible.

    hope that made it clearer for you. i”m not sure i can dumb it down any more.

    btw -nothing about St Pats has to do with being irish anymore.

  10. MickleSt says

    Adam, these protests started when the parade’s organizers refused to allow an IRISH lesbian-gay group to participate.

    Meanwhile, I was one of the protestors yesterday. We finished up our demonstration when the Guatemalan group was passing us as they marched in the official parade route. With a big shamrock on their banner. But Guatemalan.

  11. stevenj says

    Adam……Every year the SF Lesbian Gay Freedom Day Marching Band marches in parades large and small including the Chinese New Years parade and the St Patricks Day parade. Chinese and Irish identity have not been compromised by their inclusion.

  12. MaryM says

    St Patrick’s Day is a day about Irish identity. The organisers of this parade are NOT Irish. They are Amertican. Do not slander Ireland with this fascism.

    The NYPD are homophobic scum.

  13. dixichuk says

    Wow. Banning gay identification in the parade brought exponentially more attention to homophobia than if the organizers had simply included a couple of gay groups without censor. Thanks, St. Patrick’s Day bigots.

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