\"Brendan

Brendan Fay says it is critical to end the continuing controversy over the New York St Patrick's Day parade. Photo by: Flickr

Fifth Avenue parade standoff can be ended says LGBT Irish leader

\"Brendan

Brendan Fay says it is critical to end the continuing controversy over the New York St Patrick's Day parade. Photo by: Flickr

But standing up for himself on Fifth Avenue had immediate and far reaching  consequences. After he marched in the 1991 parade Fay was quickly dismissed from his teaching job. Instead of reacting to the firing he responded to it. He delved further into his LGBT activism and heralded the work of Irish leaders who took a principled stand on LGBT issues.

One year after the 1991 parade debacle Irish LGBT groups found themselves totally banned from participating when the National AOH directed all AOH organizations to form separate corporations to run events such as the Parade. The parade is still run today by members of the AOH under a separate corporation, St Patrick’s Day Parade Inc. The ban on Irish LGBT groups participating under their own banner has endured for over two decades.

In response to the ban, and to intemperate interviews with parade committee members in the Irish Voice who at various times compared gay Irish people to Neo Nazi's and the Klu Klux Klann, in 2000 Fay co-created the all-inclusive St. Pat's For All Parade in Queens, which echoes the words of the Irish Proclamation (which in turn echo the Declaration of Independence) that all Irish citizens are born equal. The challenge to individual consciences of the New York parade committee was laid bare.
                   
Flash forward to 2014 and Fay's group Lavender and Green may not be quite as prominent as the Irish Queers organization when it comes to the annual debate, but both will have to be a part of the discussion to find a solution.

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