the-saint-patrick39s-day-parade3

Even though it started as an Irish celebration about religion, nationality, pride and political power, St. Patrick’s Day has become a celebration for all Americans. School children happily plan to wear green on this day so they won’t get pinched, people of all nationalities and religions meet for drinks, we’ve got green cupcakes and cookies, even green beer! And everyone’s invited to march together in a parade with their fellow Americans of Irish descent…unless you happen to be gay.

We would all be aghast at a 4th of July Parade in the South that restricted black people from openly marching in it due to bigotry but some seem to be far less bothered by the bigotry of St. Patrick’s Day parades against those Americans who are gay.

Those supporting gay rights have much to be pleased with in recent years but it doesn’t “balance out” public celebrations that continue to reflect hostility and prejudice towards fellow Americans simply because of their sexual preference. The mayors in New York and Boston have declined to participate in the main parades in their cities which still cling to homophobia but other government officials are participating and lending their credibility to them.

To be clear, the policy of these parades is more, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. You can march in these parades if you’re gay (they don’t use gaydar screening) but you can’t appear to be gay or hold a sign or anything indicating you are gay or support LGBT rights.

Do those perpetuating this bigotry really have no awareness of their Irish heritage here in America,  in the UK and even within Ireland itself? When they were the ones who were treated with prejudice and disdain purely because of who they were when they were born? Do they not know their history about a time when signs and newspaper classifieds said things like, “Help Wanted – No Irish Need Apply”?

According to Wikipedia, in the 19th Century:

[The Irish] were often called “white Negroes.” Throughout Britain and the US, newspaper illustrations and hand drawings depicted a prehistoric “ape-like image” of Irish faces to bolster evolutionary racist claims that the Irish people were an “inferior race” as compared to Anglo-Saxons.

===

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli stated publicly, “The Irish hate our order, our civilization, our enterprising industry, our pure religion. This wild, reckless, indolent, uncertain and superstitious race have no sympathy with the English character. Their ideal of human felicity is an alternation of clannish broils and coarse idolatry. Their history describes an unbroken circle of bigotry and blood.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Irish_sentiment

Those who are Irish have much in common with gays when it comes to being demonized and oppressed so it is morally wrong to mostly escape being the target of prejudice then turn around and practice the same kind of prejudice towards others.

Those who use being Catholic as an excuse to act prejudicial towards gays should exhibit a bit more genuine commitment to their religion (I don’t remember Jesus saying, “The haters shall inherit the Earth”) by listening to Pope Francis whose view on gays was to say, “Who am I to judge?”

On a day when some of these same homophobes who are marching in their “No Gays Need Apply” parades will be dressed in brightly colored clothes, descend on bars in droves getting drunk and hanging all over other men then possibly end up on their knees in a toilet stall, they are hardly in a position to judge others on their behavior as being socially undesirable.

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monicaangela
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I often wonder why it is so difficult for human beings to relate to other human beings. I find it strange that we as citizens dealing with this matter in our country haven’t requested changes to the constitution that would eliminate this sort of obvious prejudice, I like a quote I once read that goes as follows:

“We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
― John E Lewis

We should all join Representative Lewis in that fight.

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Kalima
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KillgoreTrout
Member

Hey Ad. As you know, my daughter is gay, and I love her more than anything.

The organizers of these parades simply don’t want the parades to be a showcase for the gay rights movement, and I don’t blame them. It’s about, as you mentioned above, nationality and pride of heritage and a commemoration of the day Saint Patrick led the snakes out of Ireland.

I don’t see this as homophobia, or hatred toward gay people. The parade is simply not about the gay rights movement.

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pinkpantheroz
Member

KT, and Fergie1,

Thank you for condensing my rambling thoughts into a coherent message!

AdLib, It’s great that we can politely agree to disagree on a subject. wish more were here to share this amazing site.

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Fergie1
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Fergie1

KT, that is what I was trying to say, but you said it far more succinctly and I think got the point across much better than my effort.

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KillgoreTrout
Member

Oh, I don’t know Fergie, I think you made your point quite well.

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pinkpantheroz
Member

In a lighter vein, perhaps the Committee is trying to ‘Parade The Gay Away”! Oh, and by the way, my Gaydar is sure pinging on that leprechaun in your photo!

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choicelady
Member

Oh I don’t know, PPO. Looks like a guy I dated eons ago. Of course, that’s NO guarantee he wasn’t gay is it?

But he is cute as a button.

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KillgoreTrout
Member

LOL! Good one Pink!

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Fergie1
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Fergie1

Firstly indulge me by allowing me to say in no uncertain terms that I’m the furthest person from being a homophobe. I have loads of gay friends who have made my life richer in in so many ways by being some of the most wonderful friends one could ever have. If Nirek will allow me to use his excellent comment that : “I love them for who they are, not what they are.” And there lies the “two sides to every story” principle.

But as I understand this from the organisers of the New York St Patrick’s Day parade, they allow anybody to walk in the parade, but they don’t allow them to carry individual banners. Inclusion, not exclusion should always be the accepted morality of any community. No one was saying that the LGBT community could not participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Wear a rainbow colored anything but don’t make it into a venue for Gay Pride. In my humble opinion Ad, this does not compare to the analogy of being aghast at a 4th of July Parade in the South that would restrict black people from openly marching in it due to bigotry. Sorry, that’s apples and oranges in my view.

My family has experienced discrimination first hand in Ireland where businesses in Dublin had signs which said “no Catholics need apply”. Who would have thought that was possible in supposedly Catholic Ireland. I am abhorred by discrimination, believe me. But I also feel that in this instance it is either a St. Patrick’s Day Parade which is used to celebrate Ireland or just call it a Generic Parade where political agendas, PR marketing exercises, and anything else you want to throw in, is the order of the day.
Oh and btw, I’m not what one would call a practising Catholic.

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pinkpantheroz
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AdLib, I find myself a bit torn about this. Firstly, I’m Irish and hetero and am proud of both. I think I see where the organizing committee are coming from – The St. Patrick’s day Parade is a celebration of our Irish heritage and Culture. It is open, as they say to all to participate. The one thing they baulk at is the Parade becoming yet another graphic display of Gay Pride. Now, I don’t have any problem whatever with Gay Pride, Mardi Gras or anything, but I do see their point about keeping the Parade about St. Patrick and Irish pride. ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is not anything, I feel, that would justify the Beer Companies to withold sponsorship. I feel it was done for purely marketing reasons.
Now, before you all hit the snarl button, I want you to know that I have, on many occasions, been subjected to both religous and ethnic discrimination both in Ireland and here in Australia. I know the feeling about being scorned and ostracised. So I sympathise with gays on that level, but I understand the Committees’ stand as well.
I probably haven’t voiced this very well, and hope you get what I’m trying to say.

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Kalima
Admin

So if you are gay you have no right to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in public?

In a country where groundbreaking steps for gay equality and same sex marriage are making headlines around the world, this blatant contradiction of rights is mind boggling.

Good for the mayor of NY and the Guinness company for pulling out of the parade and taking a stand. This is an embarrassment to the long tradition and those who made the decision should hang their heads in shame. If the reason as you say is because they are Catholic, then I hang my head in shame because for so many of us, this is not who we are, and they don’t speak for us.

Great article and thanks for calling out the bigots and homophobs.

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Fergie1
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Fergie1

With respect Kalima, I don’t think that they are saying :” if you are gay you have no right to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in public?”

You absolutley correct when you say that as a Catholic, this is not who we are and they don’t speak for us if that is the ludicrous and appalling reason they are using. That is not the view of this Catholic. (admittedly Idon’t agree with or practice many of the man made views of the religion that I identify with!).

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Kalima
Admin

Hello Fergie, nice to see you again, and I hope you are feeling better?

I haven’t followed this story as closely as some but believe that banning the LGBT community because you presume they will do something to embarrass the parade is exactly like banning AA because you presume that they will carry guns and shoot someone. Therefore it’s a presumption that they will all be punished for collectively, and I believe it’s wrong and is indeed prejudice whether they realise it or not.

As a 9 year old German girl being beaten up at a U.K. school and on the way home from school almost every week, I know at lot about discrimination and phobias too.

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Fergie1
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Fergie1

Hi Kalima, always nice to see you and thank you for your good wishes on the health front. Nothing sorted on that yet. I don’t see the ortho guy again until the end of May and see what the outcome/decision is! Who knows – I don’t think they do!!

Re Ad’s article. I haven’t read a WHOLE lot about it either. Of course I heard from our friends in Ireland who sent us their lovely wishes for St. Patrick’s Day. They said that the Parade in Dublin was excellent and had become more sophisicated.

Anyway, I wrote more of my thoughts above, so no point repeating (it’s not far to go back up 🙂 ).

I hope that you are keeping as well as possible yourself. I could be doing more to advance my cause – like walking more!!

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Kalima
Admin

Fingers tighty crossed that this will all be over for you soon.

I’m up and down so far this year, with the downs beating the ups, but life goes on and Spring is on the way so there is that to look forward to. Thanks for asking.

Left a greeting for all of our Irish friends on MB on Sunday.

Take care and feel better soon.

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kesmarn
Admin

Well said, AdLib! As I was driving today I heard on NPR that the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin does NOT prohibit gay individuals or groups from participating!

Maybe the U.S. should take a clue from the “auld country” and lighten up a bit. After all St. Pat was only rumored to have a reluctance to being around snakes. I don’t think he ever mentioned word one about LGBT folks! 😀

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KillgoreTrout
Member

Het kes. Gay people weren’t restricted from participating. The ban was against any gay pride movement participation. They just didn’t want the St. Paddy’s day parade to turn into something that had no pertinence to Saint Patrick’s Day.

The organizers didn’t want this to be politicized, that’s all. I don’t blame them for that.

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Nirek
Member

Ad, thanks for this article.
I’m not gay but if I were I would be proud and want everyone to understand that being gay is just like being Irish (which I am). When the Mayor refused to march in a parade that excluded gays I thought , there is a man standing on his convictions!

Let me say also that there are Irish folks who are also gay. They are not gay and not Irish. There are gays of every religion, race, nationality (even though some say they don’t have gays), and creed!

Some of my best friends are gay. I love them for who they are not for what they are.

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