LGBTQ Groups Again Denied Admission to Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Carol Bullock (center), executive director of the Pride Center of Staten Island, outside Blessed Sacrament Church where St. Patrick’s Day parade registrations were set to be held

The Pride Center of Staten Island has once again been denied permission to march in Staten Island’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. The Center has been persistent in its efforts to be included in this community march, though they have been met with the same rejection as in previous years

According to Spectrum News NY 1, executive director Carol Bullock and other Center members attempted to apply for the permit to march. But when they reached the parade’s registration location, they were met with a disparaging sign reading: 

“Do [sic] to the threat of a protest by the gay pride people/politicians/and ministers of other faiths on the holy grounds of Blessed Sacrament Church the parade must move the parade sign ups to 300 Marod Rd.” [emphasis by sign author]

Upon traveling to the second location Bullock met with Parade President Larry Cummings, who denied the group permission to march, citing that the St. Patrick’s Day parade is “not a sexual identification parade.” According to Gay City News, Bullock reported that the Gay Officer’s Action League, a group for LGBTQ law enforcement personnel, was also denied. Bullock reflected that the rejection is a loss for the community and a loss for LGBTQ youth: 

“It’s disappointing. It sends a terrible message, especially to the youth who are thinking of coming out and celebrating who they are. This is the type of thing they’ll be facing. It’s sad and frustrating.”

Bullock urges people who want to support the LGBTQ community to rethink marching in the parade themselves. “This year I’m just asking people to still go and visit amazing bars and restaurants,” she said, “just don’t march in the parade.”

The Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the last parades to ban LGBTQ groups. The decades-long fight for inclusion in Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day parade ended in 2015 when NBCUniversal marched with 100 LGBTQ and ally employees. The following year, the Lavender & Green Alliance, a group for LGBTQ Irish-Americans, marched in the parade. Another northeastern city, Boston, has allowed LGBTQ groups to march in recent years (though not without controversy). 

Several lawmakers and elected officials have publicly supported  the Pride Center. Spectrum News reports that Borough President James Oddo, Congressman Max Rose, and City Councilwoman Debi Rose will be skipping the parade in solidarity. Gay City News reports that even some politicians with a poor voting record on LGBTQ issues have voiced their support, including Staten Island GOP Councilmember Steven Matteo, who said in a written statement:

“I strongly support the SI Pride Center and other LGBT organizations openly participating in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s way past time for this to become a reality.”

New Ways Ministry agrees.

Melissa Feito, New Ways Ministry, February 21, 2020

6 replies
  1. Thomas Ellison
    Thomas Ellison says:

    I grew up on Staten Island and Blessed Sacrament was my parish. New York City has a huge Pride Parade every year and, as we all know, Manhattan is the birthplace of the rights movement at the Stonewall. That said, and being Irish, I think too much is being made of this. This is a St. Patrick’s Parade. Sure lots of Irish people are gay and lots of gay people are Irish but this is mostly about being Irish.

    • Donald Maher
      Donald Maher says:

      I would guess there are any number of other not particularly Irish groups marching. I would also guess there are also any number of groups which are male/men’s groups and female/womens groups marching too. I remind the parade organizers that such groups are about sexual identity too. This is just plain old anti LGBTQ bigotry. Sad; step into the 21st century; no way to honor st Patrick a non Irish Roman Briton brought to Ireland as a slave

    DON E SIEGAL says:

    “not a sexual identification parade”

    Allowing the Pride Center of Staten Island and the Gay Officer’s Action League to march in Staten Island’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade does not make it a “sexual identification” parade. Rather, it makes it an inclusive parade that invites all Irish or Irish allies to participate. It acknowledges that the Irish community—just like any other group—includes people of different sexual and gender orientations. Parade President Larry Cummings is just plain uninformed of the need for LGBT people to live their lives in full honesty with who they are.

    The next question is: Are there any taxpayer funds used for this parade? If so, then the sponsoring organization should be charged for these services. Another is: Is it possible to put pressure on any corporate sponsors to withdraw their financial support from such a discriminatory parade.

  3. Susan H. Rohrer
    Susan H. Rohrer says:

    As a life-long Irish Catholic, I am ashamed that people of Irish ancestry would treat their fellow human beings in such a demeaning manner. We were victimized ourselves by the British, and I would expect us to have more compassion than to victimize others.

  4. vittoriotucci
    vittoriotucci says:

    Is is not time that America wakes up that the world is a diversed and
    Multiple community? The Gay, Lesbian, Trans- sexual,etc. Community is a talented and vital part of this human family!
    The bigoted and had hypocritical
    Are the cause of this problem! More Holy than Thou! Including the hypocrites in religion as well as politics- a marriage made in Hell

  5. Tracy Cohen
    Tracy Cohen says:

    It is the same old homophobic, anti-gay rhetoric and hate once,again ! What are these fools so afraid of ? Their paranoia and insecurities speak volumes here. There are gay people in every race, tribe, and ethnicity and all they are asking for is inclusion. The anti-gay Republicans and conservatives claim the parade is not about politics or sexuality, but about Irish pride and heritage. However, does anyone recall all those pro-IRA and anti-British posters in the 70’s and 80’s ? And when heterosexuals flaunt their sexuality in an egregious display, that is never a controversy. I say, let them march visibly, live and let live and get over it, already !


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