St. Patrick’s Day Parade Goes It Alone

Manhattan's St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2013 (Photo by Charley Lhasa, Creative Commons license)

Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2013 (Photo by Charley Lhasa, Creative Commons license)

Irish Central has provided steady coverage of the controversy surrounding the St. Patrick’s Day Parade – this year reaching a climax with de Blasio’s refusal to participate – including a review by reporter Sheila Langan of seven other major cultural parades around the city. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade does not allow LGBT groups to march under pride banners – or any signs that would establish their sexual orientation. How do LGBT groups fare in festivities celebrating, say, the Lunar New Year Parade, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, the West Indian Parade or the Columbus Day Parade?

Much better, it seems. All seven of the other parades in question welcome LGBT groups participating – whether any had ever marched or not – most as recently as last year or a few years earlier. Among this group, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade remains the last one standing when it comes to prohibiting the open expression of LGBT pride.

Four years ago, organizers behind the largest Chinese parade initiated a change that others soon followed by inviting gay groups to join for the first time.

In February 2010, the Lunar New Year Parade, which runs through the streets of Chinatown, changed its policy and welcomed gay and lesbian groups to march. They in turn asked Irish and Indian groups to walk alongside them, offering them a chance to do what they could not in their respective official celebrations.

A few months later, organizers of the India Day Parade invited the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association to join.

To some, the participation of LBGT groups is a non-issue. In 2010, the Columbus Day Parade’s then-Chairman Lawrence Auriana summed up his stance on the presence of gay pride in his parade:

“We don’t have an issue with gays,” Auriana said, adding that he didn’t know of any gay Italian-American groups affiliated with his parade. “They’ve been with us since Roman times.”

Read the full article at Irish Central, which mentions the Celebrate Israel Parade, West Indian Day Parade, Puerto Rican Day Parade, and the German-American Steuben Parade as well, detailing some of their brief histories with opening the parade route to LGBT pride.

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