History Made As LGBT Group Marches Behind Their Own Banner In NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

For the first time in the 255 year history of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, LGBTs were allowed to walk in the parade behind their own banner.

NBC New York reports:

For years, organizers said gay people could participate but couldn’t carry signs or buttons celebrating their sexual identities. Organizers said they didn’t want to divert focus from honoring Irish heritage.

Mayor de Blasio marched with the Lavender and Green Alliance, marking the first time he had participated in the festivities as mayor. He boycotted the parade his first two years in office because the march excluded gay and lesbian advocacy groups.

“Today everyone is celebrating together,” de Blasio said. “The city is at peace and unified.”

Gov. Cuomo and the entire New York City Council also joined in the parade and were watched by more than 2 million spectators who lined Fifth Avenue from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown to the 79th Street Transverse in Central Park.

Included in the festivities were DOMA plaintiff Edith Windsor and Irish activist Brendan Fay.

Irish Queers react to news of one gay group allowed to march in NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

“We welcome this cracking of the veneer of hate, but so far Irish LGBT groups are still not able to march in our community’s parades. The fight continues.

“This is a deal that was made behind closed doors between parade organizers and one of their last remaining sponsors, NBC. It allows NBC’s gay employees to march, but embarrassingly has not ended the exclusion of Irish LGBT groups. The parade organizers have said, astoundingly, that we “can apply” in years to come.

“To the extent that parade organizers have changed their tune, it’s the result of Irish Queers’ many years of organizing, which led to last year’s refusal to march by Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and others, and Mayor de Blasio, the withdrawal of major corporate sponsors and escalating criticism of uniformed city workers marching in the Parade.

“We welcome this small victory, but our call remains the same — the parade must be open to Irish LGBT groups, not “in subsequent years” but now.” – Irish Queers react to news of NBCUniversal group to be allowed to march in upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC.