They spent decades on the sidelines every March 17 loudly protesting their exclusion from the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, and proclaimed victory last year with the inclusion of the first Irish gay group, the Lavender and Green Alliance, but the protest group called Irish Queers appears to have had enough of the Fifth Avenue march after only a year and won’t take part in 2017.
In a new post on its blog titled “Sorry not sorry! Join us this St. Patrick’s Day!,” a message from Irish Queers says the group will be “repping Irish America at a protest for immigrants’ rights, rather than at the NYC parade.”
It continues, “Irish Queers marched last year in the 2016 NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade. We were thrilled that, after 25 years of protest, we broke the ban on LGBTQ Irish groups.
“Still, it was much the same parade as before. Simply adding queers to the staid litany of religious, military, and backroom political marching groups -- without accountability for the parade bosses' past bigotry and without changing their power which dictated ‘who belongs’ in Irish community -- was a sad experience that we don’t want to repeat. “In the new era of Trump, the politics of a community that knows both immigrant hardship and white privilege matter more than ever. Irish resistance in the face of brutal power is the heritage that Irish Queers celebrate!”
A source close to the leadership of the St. Patrick’s Day parade wasn’t surprised at the latest move from Irish Queers. “For them, it was all about the protest. It was never about really wanting to march or wanting to celebrate Irish heritage,” the source told the Irish Voice.
“So this is no surprise at all. No one ever hears about them only around this time of year anyway.”
Last year around this time, Irish Queers appeared ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Fifth Avenue for a long time.
“For those of us who have spent every St. Patrick's Day for the last quarter century in battle on Fifth Avenue, the bitterness is not swept away by a single day in the sun -- but today a very cold shadow lifts, and our future St. Patrick's Days are returned to us for celebration rather than protest,” a press release from the group said.