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. Erik Bottcher
  9. Robin Byrd
  10. Hon. Gale Brewer
  11. Christian Campbell
  12. Gus Christensen
  13. Hon. Martin Connor
  14. Hon. Jon Cooper
  15. Wilson Cruz
  16. Hon. Laurie Cumbo
  17. Alan Cumming
  18. Valorie Curry
  19. Michael Czaczkes
  20. Hon. Bill de Blasio
  21. Jon Del Giorno
  22. Aries Dela Cruz
  23. Kyan Douglas
  24. Hon. Daniel Dromm
  25. James Duff
  26. Hon. Ronnie Eldridge
  27. Hon. Rafael Espinal
  28. Hon. Herman Farrell
  29. Hon. Alan Fleishman
  30. Hon. Dan Garodnick
  31. Dan Gettleman
  32. Jason Goldman
  33. Emily Jane Goodman
  34. Hon. Mark Green
  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. Phillip McCarthy
  45. Matt McMorrow
  46. Michael Mallon
  47. Mike C. Manning
  48. David Mansur
  49. Cathy Marino-Thomas
  50. Troy Masters
  51. Hon. Carlos Menchaca
  52. Hon. Rosie Mendez
  53. John Cameron Mitchell
  54. Donny Moss
  55. Barry Mullineaux
  56. Hon. Paul Newell
  57. Denis O'Hare
  58. America Olivo
  59. Noah Pfefferbilt
  60. Josue Pierre
  61. Bob Pontarelli
  62. Billy Porter
  63. Hon. Keith Powers
  64. Randy Rainbow
  65. Hon. Jenifer Rajkumar
  66. Hon. Gustavo Rivera
  67. Hon. Helen Rosenthal
  68. Maer Roshan
  69. Toby Russo
  70. Bill Samuels
  71. James Sansum
  72. Scott Sartiano
  73. Hon. Arthur Schwartz
  74. Lynn Schulman
  75. Frank Selvaggi
  76. Rev. Al Sharpton
  77. Hon. Jo Anne Simon
  78. Tom Smith
  79. Anne Strahle
  80. Hon. Scott Stringer
  81. Wayne Sunday
  82. Hon. Bill Thompson
  83. JD Thompson
  84. Bjorn Thorstad
  85. Hon. Matt Titone
  86. Hon. Ritchie Torres
  87. Sam Underwood
  88. Jessica Walter
  89. Patricia Nell Warren
  90. Wil Weder
  91. Seth Weissman
  92. Mel Wymore
  93. Emma Wolfe
  94. Hon. Keith Wright
  95. Zephyr Teachout