Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy were recognised under the Irish Community Support category at the Irish Diaspora Awards
Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy were honoured yesterday by President Michael D Higgins for their contributions as gay rights activists in the US.
At the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad ceremony yesterday, President Higgins acknowledged Brendan Fay, co-founder of the LGBT group called Lavender and Green Alliance and founding member of the Irish AIDS Outreach organisation.
Fay, an LGBT rights activist, created the inclusive St Pat’s For All Parade in 1999. This was an alternative to the 5th Avenue Parade which was not welcoming of LGBT people.
With fellow LGBT rights activist Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, Fay worked for numerous years to ensure that Irish gay groups had the right to march in the New York City St Patrick’s Day Parade.
Earlier this year, Fay and Walsh D’Arcy’s activism won out with 2016 marking the first year that Irish LGBT groups were able to march in the New York City St Patrick’s Day Parade.
Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy is the other co-founder of Lavender and Green Alliance.
The daughter of two Irish parents who emigrated to the US in the 1920s, Walsh D’Arcy is also a writer, social worker and community activist. Working with Fay, she created the 1999 St Pat’s For All Parade.
A one-man show by Brian Fleming inspired by the work of Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy titled ‘A Sacrilegious Lesbian And Homosexual Parade‘ is playing tonight in Dundalk’s An Táin Theatre at 8pm.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan said: “I am delighted that once again we have the opportunity to recognise some of the finest members of our diaspora for their contribution to Ireland, the Irish community abroad and Ireland’s reputation.
“In the ever-changing world we live in, this remarkable group of individuals have been a constant beacon for Ireland and the values we hold dear.”
The Minister of State for the Diaspora Joe McHugh praised the diversity of the diaspora.
“This year’s Presidential Distinguished Service Award recipients signify the breadth and richness of our diaspora,” McHugh said.
“They include those working with the most marginalised and vulnerable, those who have come the voice for those who have none.”