From: The Villager

Irish L.G.B.T. activists accuse parade group of ‘trickery and bigotry’

By Gerard Flynn
February 19, 2015

Jeff Mulligan of Irish Queers blasted the “closed-door deal” to allow a group of L.G.B.T. NBC employees to join the parade on March 17.  Photos by Gerard Flynn

Jeff Mulligan of Irish Queers blasted the “closed-door deal” to allow a group of L.G.B.T. NBC employees to join the parade on March 17. Photos by Gerard Flynn

BY GERARD FLYNN  |  Because it falls on her brother’s birthday, local City Councilmember Rosie Mendez isn’t exactly sure what she’ll be doing this St. Patrick’s Day, when the floats and bands make their noisy way up Fifth Ave. past the cheering crowds.

But despite a recent decision by the parade committee to allow an L.G.B.T. group to march for the first time, Mendez still won’t be marching, she told reporters Tuesday on the steps of City Hall.

Last September, the parade committee announced plans for the first time to allow an L.G.B.T. group, Out@NBCUniversal, made up of members of the network that televises the parade, to participate.

That decision hasn’t won over many in the L.G.B.T. community, according to speakers at Tuesday’s press conference. Slamming the move as a cynical ploy by the organizers, they accused them of “trickery and bigotry.”

The protest included Emmai Gelman of the group Irish Queers, who are among the many who are very unhappy that the parade organizers didn’t reach out to them before deciding to allow the NBC group to join in. They  suggested that corporate sponsorship may have played a role in the parade group’s decision.

In a September interview with BuzzFeed, Irish Queers called including the NBC group a “deal made behind closed doors between parade organizers and one of their last remaining sponsors, NBC.”

Rosie Mendez, the East Village’s city councilmember, said she won’t be marching along Fifth Ave.

Rosie Mendez, the East Village’s city councilmember, said she won’t be marching along Fifth Ave.

Insufficient room is being given as this year’s reason for the continued exclusion of other L.G.B.T. groups from the parade. But Queens Councilmember Daniel Dromm — who, like Mendez, is openly gay — called on the parade committee to follow Ireland’s all-inclusive example and have a change of heart.

Veteran gay-rights activist, Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, warned elected officials that march that they would be “watched.”

“Too many elected officials are playing politics” over the parade, Roskoff declared, adding that he would be watching those who participate. He said he was “very proud of City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s decision not to attend.”

Although she was not able to attend, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer issued the following statement:

“We have boycotted the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan for a simple reason: Refusing to allow Irish L.G.B.T. New Yorkers to celebrate their heritage and their identity by marching in the parade is discriminatory.”

Officers

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

  1. Hon. Eric Adams
  2. George Arzt
  3. Lance Bass
  4. John Blair
  5. Mark Benoit
  6. Hon. Rodneyse Bichotte
  7. Hon. Jonathan Bing
  8. Robin Byrd
  9. Hon. Gale Brewer
  10. Christian Campbell
  11. Kathleen Chalfant
  12. Gus Christensen
  13. Erik Coler
  14. Debra Cooper
  15. Hon. Jon Cooper
  16. Wilson Cruz
  17. Hon. Laurie Cumbo
  18. Alan Cumming
  19. Valorie Curry
  20. Michael Czaczkes
  21. Hon. Bill de Blasio
  22. Jon Del Giorno
  23. Aries Dela Cruz
  24. Kyan Douglas
  25. Hon. Daniel Dromm
  26. James Duff
  27. Hon. Ronnie Eldridge
  28. Kathryn Erbe
  29. Hon. Herman Farrell
  30. Hon. Alan Fleishman
  31. Hon. Dan Garodnick
  32. Dan Gettleman
  33. Hon. Mark Green
  34. Robert Grunnah
  35. Tony Hoffmann
  36. Hon. Brad Hoylman
  37. Binn Jakupi
  38. Hon. Letitia James
  39. Hon. Corey Johnson
  40. Camille Joseph
  41. Phillip Keane
  42. Greg Lambert
  43. Dodge Landesman
  44. Cameron McFadden
  45. Michael Mallon
  46. Mike C. Manning
  47. Cathy Marino-Thomas
  48. Hon. Carlos Menchaca
  49. Hon. Rosie Mendez
  50. John Cameron Mitchell
  51. Donny Moss
  52. Barry Mullineaux
  53. Ali Najmi
  54. Hon. Paul Newell
  55. Hawk Newsome
  56. Hon. Yuh-Line Niou
  57. Denis O'Hare
  58. Noah Pfefferbilt
  59. Josue Pierre
  60. Bob Pontarelli
  61. Billy Porter
  62. Joe Pressley
  63. Randy Rainbow
  64. Hon. Jenifer Rajkumar
  65. Neil Reilly
  66. Hon. Gustavo Rivera
  67. Barbara Rosen
  68. Hon. Helen Rosenthal
  69. Maer Roshan
  70. Toby Russo
  71. Bill Samuels
  72. James Sansum
  73. Scott Sartiano
  74. Hon. Arthur Schwartz
  75. Lynn Schulman
  76. Hon. Rebecca Seawright
  77. Frank Selvaggi
  78. Rev. Al Sharpton
  79. Taylor Shubert
  80. Hon. Jo Anne Simon
  81. Tom Smith
  82. Marti Speranza
  83. Anne Strahle
  84. Hon. Scott Stringer
  85. Wayne Sunday
  86. Hon. Bill Thompson
  87. Hon. Matt Titone
  88. Hon. Ritchie Torres
  89. Sam Underwood
  90. Derek Walker
  91. Jessica Walter
  92. Patricia Nell Warren
  93. Wil Weder
  94. Seth Weissman
  95. Justin Westbrook-Lowery
  96. Mel Wymore
  97. Emma Wolfe
  98. Hon. Keith Wright
  99. Zephyr Teachout