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. Gus Christensen
  12. Hon. Martin Connor
  13. Hon. Jon Cooper
  14. Wilson Cruz
  15. Hon. Laurie Cumbo
  16. Alan Cumming
  17. Valorie Curry
  18. Michael Czaczkes
  19. Hon. Bill de Blasio
  20. Jon Del Giorno
  21. Aries Dela Cruz
  22. Kyan Douglas
  23. Hon. Daniel Dromm
  24. James Duff
  25. Hon. Ronnie Eldridge
  26. Hon. Herman Farrell
  27. Hon. Alan Fleishman
  28. Hon. Dan Garodnick
  29. Dan Gettleman
  30. Emily Jane Goodman
  31. Hon. Mark Green
  32. Tony Hoffmann
  33. Hon. Brad Hoylman
  34. Binn Jakupi
  35. Hon. Letitia James
  36. Hon. Corey Johnson
  37. Camille Joseph
  38. Phillip Keane
  39. Greg Lambert
  40. Dodge Landesman
  41. Marc Landis
  42. Phillip McCarthy
  43. Matt McMorrow
  44. Michael Mallon
  45. Mike C. Manning
  46. Cathy Marino-Thomas
  47. Hon. Carlos Menchaca
  48. Hon. Rosie Mendez
  49. John Cameron Mitchell
  50. Donny Moss
  51. Barry Mullineaux
  52. Hon. Paul Newell
  53. Denis O'Hare
  54. Noah Pfefferbilt
  55. Josue Pierre
  56. Bob Pontarelli
  57. Billy Porter
  58. Randy Rainbow
  59. Hon. Jenifer Rajkumar
  60. Hon. Gustavo Rivera
  61. Barbara Rosen
  62. Hon. Helen Rosenthal
  63. Maer Roshan
  64. Toby Russo
  65. Bill Samuels
  66. James Sansum
  67. Scott Sartiano
  68. Hon. Arthur Schwartz
  69. Lynn Schulman
  70. Frank Selvaggi
  71. Rev. Al Sharpton
  72. Hon. Jo Anne Simon
  73. Tom Smith
  74. Marti Speranza
  75. Anne Strahle
  76. Hon. Scott Stringer
  77. Wayne Sunday
  78. Hon. Bill Thompson
  79. Hon. Matt Titone
  80. Hon. Ritchie Torres
  81. Sam Underwood
  82. Derek Walker
  83. Jessica Walter
  84. Patricia Nell Warren
  85. Wil Weder
  86. Seth Weissman
  87. Mel Wymore
  88. Emma Wolfe
  89. Hon. Keith Wright
  90. Zephyr Teachout