Our View: Boston and New York City should play it smart in the next St. Paddy’s parade
March 19, 2014
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It’s important to first state that the following opinion in no way reflects the way we feel about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
At the end of every rainbow, there is a pot of gold … and a leprechaun. So wouldn’t you expect Saint Patrick’s Day to go hand in hand with the LGBTQ community?
Well, there was no marching, hand in hand or otherwise, for the gay community in the St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York or Boston this year.
In response, Heineken, Guinness and Samuel Adams chose not to sponsor the annual St. Patrick’s Day parades. Each city’s respective mayor also chose not to participate in the parades in New York and Boston because the parade organizers refused to allow LGBTQ groups to march in the parades.
Instinctively, we felt that this was in blatant disregard to the rights of the LGBTQ community. However, we think that this decision was not necessarily made as a snub to the gay community, but was simply an attempt to preserve the purpose of the parade -— to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and Irish culture.
There are already Gay Pride parades all over the country, and the fact is, this was simply not one of them.
Despite that, public perception of the issue has generally not been in favor of the organizers of the parade. It never looks good when headlines read: “The Grotesque Ban On Gays In New York’s St Patrick’s Day Parade,” as the Daily Beast wrote, or “Boston mayor skips St. Patrick’s parade over exclusion of gay group,” as was published by Reuters.
On top of all that, it really doesn’t look like a promising event when headlines read, “Guinness pulls out of NY’s St. Patrick’s parade over ban on gays,” which was another Reuters headline. Let’s be real. How can there be a St. Patrick’s Day celebration without any beer?
Obviously, it is too late to change the minds of those who orchestrate these annual parades, something we feel will not bode well for them in years to come.
Despite their true intentions, whatever those may have been, the message that has circulated is that the LGBTQ community was excluded, and that is bad for all parties involved.
Even if only for the sake of positive press, it may have been smarter to change a policy that has supposedly always been in place.
We can understand the organizers’ decision to exclude the LGBTQ community, but we don’t have to agree with it. After all, green is a color of the rainbow too.