17 March, 2006

St. Patrick's Day

Today is St. Patrick's Day. The Patron Saint of the New York Archdiocese, of which -- because I have yet to be excommunicated from the church due to my being gay -- I'm apparently still a member. In New York City (Manhattan, to be exact), they held the 245th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. Essentially, this parade converts the city from organized chaos into unorganized anarchy.

Why am I writing about this, you ask? Because of the chaos and drunken disorder that ensues after the parade, I now must leave home about an hour early in order to get into work tonight. Just check out the traffic re-routing and restrictions. Plus, the voyage into work is more perilous than it normally would be, because of all the drunk people. (You'd think that with all the drunk people I'm going to run into, one might be able to find an article about it on the 'net, but I'm coming up empty in my searches -- can anyone else out there point me to a source? <UPDATE> I can always count on my good friend, Stacey, to post something about the drunken disorderliness that otherwise is known as the St. Patrick's Day celebrations. </UPDATE>)

Plus, let's not forget the controversy surrounding the decision by the Ancient Order of Hibernians -- the organizers of the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade -- to preclude Irish gay & lesbian folk from marching in the parade and portraying their identity in any way, shape, or form. This year, of course, the controversy and confrontation is taken to a higher level — it gets worse:
March Chairman John Dunleavy ... stated, "If an Israeli group wants to march in New York, do you allow Neo-Nazis into their parade? If African Americans are marching in Harlem, do they have to let the Ku Klux Klan into their parade?"
So now, Irish gay men and lesbians marching in the parade are the equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan marching in a Black Pride parade, or Nazis marching in an Israeli Pride parade.

Do they still teach logic and ethics in schools these days? I'd really like to know how one makes the leap from how being a gay Irish American is equivalent to allowing Nazis into Jewish ceremonies or incorporating the KKK into Black society. It's really mind-boggling.

One bright note about this year's controversy: Christine C. Quinn, the out and proud New York City Council Speaker and an Irish American who happens to be gay, refused to take part in this year's parade. She refused to dignify march Chairman John dunleavy's homophobic and hateful remarks with a response. Council Speaker Quinn attempted to bring about a compromise, allowing gay and lesbian Irish Americans who wanted to participate in the march while maintaining their LGBT identity, but march organizers responded with the hateful words written above. She issued the following statement:

Unfortunately, a compromise has not been reached this year with organizers of the St. Patrick's Day Parade that would allow LGBT Irish New Yorkers to march in a way that openly celebrates our heritage and identity. Therefore, I will not be marching tomorrow.

New York City is the most diverse and welcoming place in the world -- it's a shame that for yet another year our St. Patrick's Day parade won't reflect that diversity.

I want to thank the leaders in the Irish American and LGBT communities who worked together with me to find common ground. I continue to hope -- and I firmly believe -- that someday soon Irish LGBT New Yorkers will proudly and openly march up Fifth Avenue on St. Patrick's Day.

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