LID joined organizations and individuals from across the city in a letter urging for the continued boycott of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Manhattan until all LGBTQ groups are allowed to march. For the latest updates, be sure to visit Irish Queers.
Oct. 9, 2014
Dear Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito,
"Last year, your public boycott of the anti-gay NYC St. Patrick's Day parade finally paved the way for corporate sponsors to drop the parade. Their departure created pressure on NBC, one of the last remaining sponsors and the broadcaster of the parade, who put pressure on the parade organizers to finally end their ban on Irish LGBTQ groups.
Instead of that pressure leading to Irish LGBTQ groups taking their rightful place in the community's parade, OUT@NBCUniversal has jumped into the space it created. OUT@NBCUniversal is the gay employee/marketing group of the parade's sponsor. The Irish LGBTQ community is still excluded from the parade. The “lifting of the ban” is a sham.
Parade organizers have said that Irish LGBTQ groups may “apply” to march in future St. Patrick’s Day Parades from 2016 on, claiming that there is no room for another group in 2015. This is the same ruse they used in 1991 when they wanted to exclude the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization. When Mayor Dinkins called their bluff and offered to expand the march to allow ILGO in, the organizers came out in the open with their anti-gay reasons for excluding them. This year, when Irish LGBTQ groups applied, parade organizers quickly declared that applications were closed. In the fallout from this gay-panic response, the Catholic League also dropped out of the 2015 march, leaving the parade short of one large contingent. As before, parade organizers simply refuse to let Irish LGBTQ groups march in the newly-opened space.
State and national LGBTQ advocacy groups, as well as groups in Ireland, are supporting the demand for Irish LGBTQ groups to march openly and freely, rather than seeking to march themselves or supporting OUT@NBCUniversal's participation.
Irish LGBTQ groups have also asked OUT@NBCUniversal to withdraw from the parade until Irish LGBTQ groups are part of the parade.
We write to ask that you continue to publicly boycott the parade until Irish LGBTQ groups are accepted into the line of march, and march openly, as full and respected members of the Irish American community.
Because the parade organizers have made misleading claims like “gays are welcome to march, just not to be identified” and now “the ban is lifted, but only for NBC employees”, it's important to be clear about what constitutes inclusion. Irish LGBTQ groups must be able to march just like other contingents: with the group name on a banner identifying the contingent as Irish LGBTQ people. Last year in Boston, parade organizers tried to negotiate with an LGBTQ contingent to march under the word “equality.” But the organizers refused to allow a banner to say “LGBT” or “gay”, as if those were dirty words. So the LGBTQ group rightly declared that parade organizers were not actually willing to lift the ban, and they refused to march. New York City also cannot accept such pretenses at inclusion.
We deeply appreciate your support. Please be in touch with your response, or if we can answer any questions.
Gaby Cryan, Emmaia Gelman, & J.F. Mulligan - Irish Queers
Kate Barnhart, Executive Director - New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth
Mary E. Bartholomew, Esq.
Rev. Pat Bumgardner - Metropolitan Community Church - NY
Kailin Callaghan, Lead Organizer - Rockaway Wildfire
Fidelma Carolan, Regional Officer (N. Ireland) - UNISON
Kelly Cogswell, Author of Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger
Michael Czaczkes, President - Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn
Kara Davis, Queer Activist
Bill Dobbs, Gay Civil Libertarian
Erin M. Drinkwater, Executive Director - Brooklyn Community Pride Center
Ronnie Eldridge, Former New York City Councilmember
Jennifer Flynn, Executive Director - VOCAL-NY
Kathleen Gaul - Community Leader at TUSLA, Ireland
Emily Jane Goodman, New York State Supreme Court Justice, Ret.
Tony Hoffmann, President, Village Independent Democrats*
Stephanie Hsu, Secretary - New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA)
Andy Humm and Ann Northrop, Co-Hosts - Gay USA
Marjorie Dove Kent, Executive Director - Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
SL Korn, Queer Activist
Gareth Lee - Queer Space Collective Belfast
Bertha Lewis, Executive Director - Black Institute
Mark Libkuman, Open Flows Community Technology Cooperative
Scott Long, Human Rights Activist
Amanda Lugg, Director of Advocacy - African Services Committee
Alan Levine, Civil Rights Attorney
Father Bernárd Lynch, London, Chair of Camden LGBT Forum
Anne Maguire, ILGO
Eileen Markey, Writer
Matthew McMorrow, Manager of Government Affairs - Empire State Pride Agenda
Zenaida Mendez, President - National Organization for Women-NYS
Megan Mulholland - QUEEROCRACY
Dr Tina O'Toole, Founder member of LINC Cork - University of Limerick, Ireland
Pauline Park, Executive Director -Queens Pride House
Allen Roskoff, President - Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
Sarah Schulman, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities, City University of New York College of Staten Island
Arthur Z. Schwartz, President of Advocates for Justice and Democratic District Leader for Greenwich Village
Tom Shanahan, Civil Rights Attorney
Zephyr Teachout, former candidate for Governor, Professor Fordham Law School, and author of Corruption in America
Jay Toole -Jay’s House
Urvashi Vaid, Senior Fellow, Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, Columbia Law School*
Maxine Wolfe, Professor Emerita, City University Graduate School
Joan Wile, Author, and Founder, Grandmothers Against the War
Tim Wu, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor/Professor Columbia Law School
Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel
Lesbian Herstory Archive
MIX NYC: Queer Experimental Film Festival
Queer Nation NY
*Asterisk indicates organization listed for identification purposes only.