The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a staple of the celebration of Irish pride for New Yorkers, so it’s understandable that some groups are still unsatisfied with the event’s limited idea of inclusion.
Last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to march in the parade because the organizers wouldn’t allow gay or lesbian groups to participate. A few months later, in September, the organizers changed their policy.
Yet how much has actually changed?
The only openly gay group to march in today’s parade was Out@NBCUniversal, consisting of NBC employees, according to The New York Times. The implications here don’t bode well; NBC airs the parade on television.
It’s great that NBC may be embracing their employees and letting them express their pride, but what about everyone else?
“A lot of people feel, I think rightfully, that that is too small a change to merit a lot of us participating who have wanted to see an inclusive parade,” Mayor de Blasio said earlier this month.
“This is only significant in that it’s a backroom deal between NBC and the parade’s organizers. There’s no transparency about how this decision was made; no one ever responded to our application to march; and Out@NBC Universal isn’t even an Irish group,” John Francis Mulligan, chairman of advocacy group Irish Queers, said.
Irish Queers held a press conference and protest before the parade started, with a rainbow flag proclaiming, “Let Irish gays march!”
Parade attendees seem divided on the issue. Some believe in equality being a precedent no matter what, while others think the debate overshadows the fact that this holiday is about Irish pride.