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NYC: Irish Queers Rally at St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Because St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers don’t allow marchers to carry pro-LGBT signs, city leaders, including new Mayor Bill de Blasio, skipped Monday’s parade down Fifth Avenue, which caused this year’s parade to again make news for its exclusionary practice. But as they have done for years, New York’s Irish Queers group protested the parade, gathering between 56th and 57th streets on the parade route. Big news broke Sunday night that longtime parade sponsor Guinness would drop its sponsorship because of the parade’s exclusion of LGBT groups. The famous Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher St.) in the village had planned to dump between ten and fifteen cases of the beer as a form of protest, but on Monday, Guinness was on sale at the bar and the mood was celebratory.

Photos by Jenna Pope for the Village Voice

Last week, organizers of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade announced that for the first time ever, they would allow an LGBT group to march in 2015. The catch is that only one group would be allowed, and it’s the LGBT employees group at NBC, a corporate sponsor of the parade.

Now, the activist group Irish Queers has called on Out@NBCUniversal to boycott the parade unless other LGBT groups are allowed to join next year. They applied to march this week, even though the parade has already said no other LGBT groups will be considered. And they’re especially mad that the first LGBT group admitted is not even an Irish group. 

Irish Queers’ Gabby Cryan said inviting OUT@NBCUniversal is just a corporate publicity stunt to bring back sponsors, including Guinness and Heineken beers, who boycotted the parade over the ban.

“This is not a policy change,” Cryan said. “This is a token gesture. This is not actually including the Irish lesbian and gay, queer community in New York City.”

Emmaia Gelman said the organizers never included other gay groups in the dialogue before making their decision.

“We call on OUT@NBCUniversal not to be pawns in this triangulation of homophobia, money and public relations,” said Gelman, also a member of Irish Queers.

Zam. Props to these folks for speaking up about something that we all knew didn’t sit quite right. 

NEW YORK (AP) — A gay group will march under its own banner for the first time in the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, organizers said Wednesday. The prohibition on identified gay groups in the centuries-old New York parade had made participation a political issue. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to march this year, and Guinness beer dropped its sponsorship.

The parade committee, in a statement made available to The Associated Press, said Wednesday that OUT@NBCUniversal, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource group at the company that broadcasts the parade, would be marching up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on March 17 under an identifying banner.

AND NOT ONE DAMN MOMENT TOO SOON.

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