An LGBT group marched under its own banner for the first time ever, but was it just window dressing for NBC, the parade's official TV broadcaster?
Irish Queers, along with other LGBT organizations and allies, protested the exclusion of Irish LGBT groups from the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Tuesday. This year’s protest, like last year, had the support of Mayor de Blasio and the City Council, who again withdrew their participation from the parade. Why? Because the parade organizers continue to marginalize and dishonor Irish LGBT people.
Although the parade committee permitted one LGBT group to march—OUT@NBC, the television network’s gay-straight alliance—this gesture has been widely viewed as lip service to the parade’s corporate sponsor, not actual inclusion.
“There is no logic to letting OUT@NBC march except as another way to keep Irish LGBTQ groups out,” said Gaby Cryan of Irish Queers. “The parade organizers have claimed a right to discriminate against us because they’re running it as a Catholic procession. But even the Cardinal calls it ‘a celebration of all things Irish.’”
Global beer brands Guinness and Heineken joined NBC in supporting the bigoted parade while also claiming that they’re pro-LGBT and against discrimination.
“Guinness and Heineken, after dropping their sponsorship of the antigay parade for just one year, have used NBC’s trick as an excuse to resume sponsoring it. It’s totally perverse that Heineken has offered to put money into the inclusive Queens parade as well as the antigay parade. Playing both sides harms the LGBTQ community, and adds insult to injury,” said Eustacia Smith of Irish Queers.
Maybe next year the parade organizers will come to their senses finally and let all LGBT groups march in celebration of all things Irish.