IrishCentral can exclusively reveal that Pandora Panti Bliss, the Irish celebrity drag queen more commonly known as Panti, will march in the all-inclusive St. Pat’s for All parade in Sunnyside/Woodside Queens on Sunday, March 2.
Panti, whose recent speech at the Abbey Theater in Dublin (see below) became an Internet sensation that caught the eye of celebrities like Madonna and tennis star Martina Navratilova, will participate at the invitation of the Queens St. Pat’s for All parade committee which is co-chaired by Irish community activists Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy.
Arriving in New York on Friday, February 28, Panti is scheduled to participate in the annual St. Pat’s For All Fundraiser event at the Irish Arts Center in Hell’s Kitchen. Doors open at 6 p.m., with a 7 p.m. showtime. It is understood she will reprise the “Noble Call” speech she gave at the Abbey.
Rory O’Neill, the 45-year-old performer behind Panti, will be welcomed at City Hall a day after the Queens parade at the invitation of Irish American City Council Member Danny Dromm. Details of the invite were being worked on as the Irish Voice went to press on Tuesday.
Panti first made international headlines after an interview he gave on RTE One’s Saturday Night Show to host Brendan O’Connor was accused of being defamatory.
O'Neill reportedly received a series of solicitors letters from Irish Times columnist Breda O'Brien, as well as from David Quinn, Patricia Casey, and John Murray, all of the conservative Catholic organization the Iona Institute.
Although the religiously inspired organization has a long history of taking anti-gay stances, the four members objected to the suggestion that their organization and they themselves could be motivated by homophobia.
But instead of silencing O’Neill, who owns the popular bar and nightspot Pantibar in Dublin, the legal actions resulted in a massive international debate about gay rights and religious organizations that work to prevent their legal equality. Panti’s Abbey speech received over one million views and within three days and was translated into every major European language, as well as Chinese and Japanese.
The St. Pat’s for All parade assembles at 1 p.m. on March 2 at Skillman Avenue and 47th Street in Sunnyside, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will be in attendance. The parade steps off at 2 p.m.
Here's a video of Panti's "Noble Call" speech at the Abbey Theatre, in Dublin: