One Equal World

New York City Ends Its LGBT Ban on St. Patrick’s Parade

Posted on: September 11, 2014

LGBT inclusiveness is an issue that has been historically fraught within St. Patrick’s Day celebrations throughout the country. In recent years, gay and lesbian participants have been outright banned from parades and other festivities, a blatant act of discrimination that came to a head last year in New York and other major cities.Saint-Patrick's-Day-Parade

In a recent statement to the Associated Press, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade committee said, “change of tone and expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community in our continuing effort to keep the parade above politics.” For the first time ever, an openly gay group will march in the 2015 parade under their own banner.

The change comes months after Mayor Bill de Blasio boycotted the 2014 event because the exclusion of LGBT groups. In the past, LGBT groups have been allowed to participate in the parade so long as they are not identified as an LGBT group.

Irish Central offers an explanation: “In a historic move aimed at defusing the storm that erupted this year over the exclusion of gay banners in the march, the addition of a banner identifying gay NBC staffers is a compromise forged at the insistence of several New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee members, including Dr. John Lahey, president of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, and Francis X. Comerford, chief revenue officer for NBC-owned TV stations. NBC, the long-time broadcast home of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, was prepared to drop its coverage unless a compromise that resulted in the inclusion of a gay group was brokered.”

Many are very happy with the decision, including Mayor de Blasio who calls this progress. According to one statement, organizers have worked diligently to keep politics out of the parade in order to preserve it as a single and unified cultural event that has paradoxically ended up politicizing the annual celebration.

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