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

Leaders of Staten Island LGBTQ+ groups seek admission to the parade

LGBTQ+ organizations have once again been denied entrance to march in Staten Island’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, following a pattern of exclusion the parade has exhibited for several years, despite other celebrations of the holiday having removed such barriers.

The Pride Center of Staten Island and the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) are two LGBTQ+ groups which were denied entrance, along with local State Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, a Staten Island resident with Irish heritage.

This year, the denial was done angrily, according to Carol Bullock, executive director of The Pride Center of Staten Island, who attended the parade’s registration event on February 12th. A crowd of supporters, including members of GOAL and Scarcella-Spanton, accompanied Bullock. The event’s organizer, Larry Cummings, immediately antagonized the crowd. Bullock told Gay City News:

“‘As soon as I walked in the door, a gentleman stopped everyone and Larry Cummings came up the steps and started engaging with the people outside…He was not nice. And then one of the reporters tried to come in where I was and he (Cummings) pushed him out.’ At that point, Bullock said, Cummings looked at her and said, ‘You run a homosexual organization. I’m not accepting your application — now get out.’”

After this encounter, Cummings closed and locked the door of the registration event. Representatives for GOAL were able to submit their application, which was then rejected. Bullock, however, had to enter the building with a police lieutenant escort to submit The Pride Center’s application.

Local news commentator Tom Wrobleski observed in SI Live:

“Organizers have said that they exclude LGBTQ+ people from marching openly because homosexuality is against the teachings of the Catholic Church. They forget that (the LGBTQ+ community) are allowed to march openly in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the one that steps off in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan… They forget that Pope Francis has said ‘who am I to judge?’ when it came to homosexuality.”

Excluding LGBTQ+ parade contingents have resulted in the Staten Island Community Board voting 24-0 to stop providing public funds for the parade.

Additionally, the parade’s annual “political brunch,” typically held prior to parade festivities, has been canceled because the event’s organizers want to be in “solidarity with the LGBTQ+ groups excluded by the parade’s organizers.”

Per Irish CentralMichael McMahon, district attorney for Richmond County, explained the cancellation in an open letter. Referring to parade organizers as “bullies” and “mean-spirited,” McMahon offered a strong statement of inclusion:

“I dare say that the true Irish Spirit of St. Patrick is to ensure that no child of God, whether they identify as Irish, LGBTQ, or any other way, is oppressed, excluded, or otherwise treated unfairly because of who they are.”

Anushah Sajwani (she/her), New Ways Ministry, March 2, 2023

1 reply
  1. Mary Cullen
    Mary Cullen says:

    So much for following the Pope’s message of welcoming the LGBTQ community. For a holiday that gets dispensation to eating meat on Friday, I think they can allow dispensation to allowing Irish LGBTQ folks and let them participate.


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