The Lavender and Green Alliance, led by Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, will for the first time take part in next year’s New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade – the second LGBT group and the first ever Irish one to secure a line of march in the Fifth Avenue parade.
At a board meeting of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Inc. on Monday, a majority of members voted to include the Lavender and Green Alliance, which has been running the all-inclusive St. Pat’s for All parade in Queens since 2000, a parade that has been attended by politicians – including current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio – unhappy with the former policy of LGBT exclusion on Fifth Avenue.
Also at the board meeting, members approved a new broadcast deal with WNBC, the parade’s long-time network home.
Lavender and Green will join OUT@NBCUniversal in next year’s line of march which will focus on the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. This year OUT@NBC became the first LGBT group to march in the parade.
We won OMG!!! Irish queers will march in the NYC St Patrick’s Day parade. Only took 25 years, no biggie!! http://t.co/Et3ApKX28W— Irish Queers (@IrishQueers) September 29, 2015
“Since 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, considered the birth of Irish independence, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 17 is a special opportunity for renewed commitment to Irish values and traditions, and the Irish role in the 21st Century,” NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Inc. Chairman Dr. John Lahey said in a statement.
“We are working with the government of Ireland in this anniversary year to teach our young people the lessons of sacrifice and heroism, of love and tolerance, embodied in the Irish spirit.”
Fay received a call from Lahey on Monday night confirming the news, and said that he is “ecstatic.”
Lavender and Green issued a statement which said, “We celebrate the welcome! March 17, 2016 will be a day for hospitality and inclusion.
“As LGBT Irish Americans we thank Dr. John Lahey and the members of the board for this historic decision which reflects the feelings of most Irish Americans. With the decision we cross a historic threshold and our members will proudly march up Fifth Avenue with our banner.”