Gay Or Irish? Parade Organizers Force Choice

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“Buy some corned beef,” my local butcher smiled this morning. “Today, everybody’s Irish.”

Well, apparently not everybody. In New York City–home to 2 million Irish-Americans, half as many as in all of Ireland–organizers of the huge Fifth Avenue parade have once again banned Irish-American gay groups from marching. And so the city’s most powerful Irish-American politician, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, is boycotting the parade.

As every Irish person, gay and straight, should. Unless, of course, hatred, exclusion, and obsession with others’ private lives is truly what it means to be Irish.

How anti-Irish is being gay? Last year, John Dunleavy, a leader of the Roman Catholic group behind the parade, actually compared the exclusion of gays to barring the Ku Klux Klan from marching in Harlem, or Nazis from joining an Israeli parade. I guess he forgot to add, ‘like inviting child molesters to a cub scout camp.’

In one sentence Dunleavy managed to insult every living person. He should be barred from singing or hearing Danny Boy for the rest of his pathetic, frightened life.

Today, if anyone tells you they’re proud to be Irish, ask them why. People typically say it’s the culture—the music, food, lust for life, melancholy attachment to a rugged land, an old-world spirituality, a tradition of surviving. Throw in some red hair and a couple of pints.

My butcher told me that even though I’m Jewish and have never set foot on the Emerald Isle, today I’m Irish. Well, no thanks. I’m with Christine Quinn. Who, by the way, is marching as a lesbian in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland, sporting a shamrock and pink triangle.

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