Tebben Gill Lopez/ The Mirror

While hundreds of thousands of spectators flocked to New York City on Monday to celebrate at the St. Patrick’s Day parade, I sat in my room staring at a computer screen, confused.

A parade meant to celebrate Irish and Irish-American cultures has become a stage of exclusion as organizers refused to allow LGBT groups to openly march in the event.

In a country ever more accepting of gay rights than at any other moment in our 238-year history, exclusion of this kind is just unacceptable. While Chicago dyes their river green for their famous parade, New York City and Boston are seeing some of their biggest supporters pull their sponsorships, and rightly so.

And what was the justification for not allowing LGBT war veterans to openly march as LGBT war veterans?

Nothing but a weak statement put out by the otherwise unknown organizers stating they would “… not allow anyone to express harmful or inappropriate messages,” and that, “This was a decision we made for the good of this parade.”

But there is nothing harmful or inappropriate about being proud of who you are.

Members of the LGBT community have no more choice in their sexual orientation than an Irish person has in his or heritage. If the organizers wished to make a decision for the good of the parade, they would not have excluded a few proud Irish people who happen to be a part of the LGBT community, especially when they’re war veterans.

For a day lost in drinking, wearing green and eating corned beef and cabbage, let’s not forget that the essential meaning of St. Patrick’s Day lies in the celebration of Irish and Irish-American cultures.

Cultures rooted deep in their immigration to our country in which our immigrant ancestors were discriminated against and alienated in much the same way as society has done to the LGBT community.

Society has come a long way since being Irish meant you were a different race, and being gay meant you had chosen to sin against God.

However, every time we allow an exclusion like this to go by unnoticed, we are taking dangerous steps in the wrong direction.

What’s more disgraceful is the two cities who have led the way in progressive thinking and social policy for as long as I can remember, now have more restrictions on LGBT members’ right to march in their St. Patrick’s Day parade than in Dublin and Galway.

It’s appalling that at a parade where spectators dress like leprechauns, dye their hair green and are openly intoxicated, the organizers of these parades have deemed a rainbow-colored flag as too ridiculous for participation.

We all must support the leadership of mayors Bill de Blasio (New York City) and Marty Walsh (Boston) who joined Heineken, Sam Adams and Guinness in boycotting their cities’ parades this past Monday, after organizers refused to allow LGBT groups the right to openly march in the celebrations.

Every year, Fairfield marches in the NYC parade. As a university that prides itself in the value of “men and women for others,” it is truly disappointing that we did not stand with the LGBT community and boycott this parade.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.