St. Patricks Day Parade Bans LGBT People From Marching

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is back in New York City’s Staten Island after being canceled in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, this also means another year trying to get approval to join the parade.

Plastered in all caps, the application form declared that “THIS PARADE IS NOT TO BE USED FOR AND WILL NOT ALLOW POLITICAL OR SEXUAL IDENTIFICATION AGENDAS TO BE PROMOTED.” The 2022 organizers made clear their opposition against the LGBTQ people.

The application form also states that groups that “do not stand, in any way, in opposition to, or contradict, the Teachings and Tenets of the Catholic Church” are the only ones allowed to join the parade.

St. Patrick’s Day is the feast day corresponding with the death anniversary of St. Patrick, a Catholic missionary and bishop who was later elevated as the patron saint of Ireland. In Ireland, the event is celebrated with religious services and feasts. Irish immigrants in America turned it “into a largely secular holiday of revelry and celebration of things Irish.”

In Staten Island, every year is a struggle for approval for the LGBTQ community. Although organizers for the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade have lifted their ban on LGBTQ individuals and groups joining the parade, Staten Island remained obstinate. The organizers also ban individuals who express support for the LGBTQ and advocate organizations.

Madison L’Insalata, Miss Staten Island 2020, was banned from the parade after coming out as bisexual. Joseph Borelli, a Republican City Councilman, was also barred because of a rainbow pin on his jacket.

In a 2018 interview with an Irish-American news organization, Larry Cummings, president of the parade committee, said the parade is “Irish heritage and culture.” “It is not a political or sexual identification parade,” he added.

Carol Bullock, executive director of the Pride Center of Staten Island, went to the parade registration event with representatives from Fire Flag, presenting LGBTQ Fire Department employees and Gay Officers Action League (GOAL for the LGBTQ law enforcement officers). She said, “the minute I saw the application, I knew how it was going to go, quite frankly.” 

When Bullock handed her organization’s application for the parade, Cummings immediately told her that the application would be denied. Cummings put her application in a pile of rejected applications. The same thing happened to GOAL’s and Fire Flag’s applications.

“That made it a little more painful because you have FDNY and NYPD. People who are protecting our community, but they can’t march in a parade,” Bullock said.

The outright discrimination has caused politicians to boycott Staten Island’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Eric Adams, New York’s mayor, and Michael McMahon, Staten Island District Attorney, refused to attend the parade.

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