For the first time ever, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is lifting its ban on participation by LGBT groups. Kind of.
Previously, LGBT people could march in the parade, but only with other groups and not with banners identifying them as LGBT groups. As a result, this year some politicians and corporations refused to participate in the parade at all.
Finally, parade organizers said hey will allow OUT@NBCUniversal, the LGBT group at the network that broadcasts the parade, to march in 2015 under their own banner. Other LGBT groups can apply to march in future years, but not quite yet.
While GLAAD and others are heralding this as a positive change (which it is, in a way), the New York LGBT advocacy group Empire State Pride Agenda took a different, bolder stance. Here’s an excerpt from their statement:
The news that the organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade will allow one LGBT group – OUT at NBC Universal – to march under its own banner for the first time strikes us as disappointing and self-serving. While this development is long overdue, inviting one group to march at the exclusion of all others and continuing to refer to our vibrant community as “gay” when it is in fact lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, is a far stretch from the full inclusion we deserve. …
As New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization, we call on all leaders, community members and allies to demand that the organizers go even further. We call on them to take a bolder stand for inclusion by welcoming other groups that truly represent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Irish Americans to march in 2015.
Honestly, I have to side with ESPA on this one. Yes, it’s great that LGBT groups will be represented in some way, but only one? And one directly linked to the production of the parade? Y’all can do better.