March On Towards Equality

I love St. Patrick’s Day.  I’m always a fan of holidays that bring people together with very little prep (I’m looking at you Christmas and Thanksgiving). Yet I was surprised to find out that in 2014, the only acceptable rainbows at the St. Patrick’s Day parades have a pot of gold at the end of them.

In New York City (the great melting pot), and Boston, parade officials have banned LGBT organizations who want to march.  Past parades have been cancelled rather than allowing LGBT groups to participate. Since both parade participants are by invitation only, the US Supreme Court ruled it was the organization’s first amendment right to dictate who they allow to march.

This year, Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade recently lifted the 20 year ban on gay organizations.  A group of gay military veterans are being allowed to walk in the parade, as long as they do not wear any clothing or hold signs that refer to sexual orientation.  Boston’s mayor, Thomas Menino stated that he would not march unless the gay veteran’s group was allowed to march.  This is not the first Boston mayor to sit out of this parade due to the parade’s objection to diversity.

Mayor Bill De Blasio is the first New York City mayor to boycott the parade and recently participated in “St. Pat’s For All Parade” in Queens. The St. Pat’s for All parade celebrates the diversity of the Irish and Irish American communities of New York. The parade welcomes all to celebrate Irish heritage and culture regardless of race, gender, creed or sexual orientation. 

What can you do?

  • Support parades such as St. Pat’s for All.
  • Create your own parade that highlights diversity.
  • If you go to the parade, order some LGBT/Irish pride stickers (below) and share them with your neighbors.
  • Write to parade organizers (NYC and Boston) to voice your objection.



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Stephanie Grocott

I am a skilled event planner and researcher. In my role as Project Specialist, I plan national conferences, manage virtual training events, conduct research, and work on development initiatives for projects such as the MLK Day of Service and Social Innovation Fund. Read more.

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