FINALLY, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue will mark a “day of history and hospitality,” said a leading LGBT activist who will be among the hundreds participating for the first time in the march after decades of boycotting.
Parade organizers announced earlier this month that they were lifting the long-standing ban on openly gay groups. This ends an era of acrimony that began 25 years ago, in 1991, when gay and lesbian community members marching with then-Mayor David Dinkins were mocked and doused with beer.
Brendan Fay, founder of an Irish LGBT advocacy group marching in the parade, Lavender & Green Alliance, said that day changed his life. He said he’s been arrested at least a dozen times protesting exclusion at the Manhattan parade. Fay told Newsday,
“We have been part of a movement in cultural hospitality,” adding that the parade will be “transformed as we cross a historical threshold.”
About 250 people, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and openly gay City Council members Daniel Dromm and James Van Bramer, will march behind the Lavender & Green Alliance banner. The mayor will march twice in the parade, first with NYPD and FDNY members and then with the alliance. de Blasio said,
“It’s a moment where some real healing is happening and some real progress has occurred and having watched over this last quarter century with pain . . . it’s amazing when people find a way to overcome divisions.”
The Fifth Avenue parade is the world’s largest and oldest St. Patrick’s Day march and is in its 255th year. More than 200,000 marchers will participate, including students from Long Island and government officials from Ireland.
So, it IS a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (via NBC News)