For the first time, an Irish LGBTQ group is to march in the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York City, after organisers lifted their gay ban amid backlash.
Irish LGBT group Lavender and Green Alliance will be allowed march in the 2016 parade carrying a banner down Fifth Avenue.
“This is a victory for the grassroots organising, civil disobedience, and street protest of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organisation and its successor, Irish Queers”, the group says in a statement.
Organisers of the New York city St Patricks Day parade have come under fire over the past several years for placing a ban on LGBT groups marching in the event.
Former chairman John Dunleavy was quoted as saying in reference to LGBT groups taking part, “The parade represents our faith, our heritage and our culture, nothing more and nothing less. So we’re going to keep to that, and anybody who wants to mix that up is going to have a problem next year.”
In 2014, Mayor Bill DeBlasio publicly boycotted the parade along with Guinness withdrawing their sponsorship.
In an effort to regain support, organisers agreed to let an LGBT employee group from NBC to march – however many said that the “solution” was not satisfactory.
“From the beginning, our demand has been for an Irish LGBTQ contingent to march behind their own banner saying who they are, like all other contingents. Today’s decision to invite the Lavender and Green Alliance does just that,” read the statement.
“It’s also a victory for our beautiful queer and Irish community of support, stretching from New York City to Ireland and beyond.
“We look forward to marching up Fifth Avenue with our community.”