New Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade to welcome LGBTQ groups

Advocates and members of the Pride Center of Staten Island stand together in 2022 after applying unsuccessfully to march in the borough's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Advocates and members of the Pride Center of Staten Island stand together in 2022 after applying unsuccessfully to march in the borough’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Donna Aceto


Staten Island will have a new and inclusive St. Patrick’s Parade this year, paving the way for LGBTQ groups to participate in the annual event after years of rejection from the borough’s celebration of Irish heritage and culture.

The Forest Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) is behind the new march, according to the Staten Island Advance, and it will take place separately from the existing parade hosted by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The LGBTQ-friendly parade is slated to take place at noon on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, while the usual exclusionary one hosted by the Ancient Order of Hibernians — which outright bans queer groups — will be held on March 3, according to the Staten Island Advance.

The LGBTQ-friendly parade, which will be called the Forest Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade, has been approved by the Adams administration. Mayor Eric Adams previously refused to attend Staten Island’s anti-LGBTQ parade.

“From day one, Mayor Adams has been clear that celebrations in our city should be welcoming and inclusive,” a spokesperson for the mayor said in a written statement. “That is why we are thrilled to be collaborating with the Staten Island Business Outreach Center for their first-ever St Patrick’s Day parade this year where everyone interested — regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or beliefs — will be welcome to march together.”

The Pride Center of Staten Island, an LGBTQ organization in the borough, swiftly expressed support for the new event.

“We are overjoyed that the Forest Avenue BID invited us to march in the Forest Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17,” the Pride Center of Staten Island’s executive director, Carol Bullock, said in a written statement. “It is wonderful to see that the BID is bringing back togetherness in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with this parade, a historical staple in the Staten Island community. We are excited to march down Forest Avenue with our Pride Center of Staten Island banner, celebrating Irish Heritage.”

Compared to the LGBTQ-friendly St. Pat’s for All Parade in Queens, Staten Island has, until this point, stood out as a major exception in New York City. The city’s main St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan has also allowed LGBTQ groups to participate for the last decade.

The Pride Center of Staten Island has long faced hostility from the organizer of the existing parade, Larry Cummings, who aggressively rejected the organization’s efforts to apply last year. The LGBTQ group tried unsuccessfully to submit an application every year.

“You run a homosexual organization,” Cummings allegedly told Bullock last year. “I’m not accepting your application — now get out.”

Those seeking to sign up for the new march can register via Eventbrite. The Forest Avenue BID did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Join us for the Forest Ave St. Patrick’s Day Parade! We are bringing the Spirit of this Staten Island staple back to our community,” the Eventbrite page notes. “Everyone is invited to celebrate the spirit of Irish Heritage. No Entry Fee. Registration is required.”

The parade will proceed along Forest Avenue from Hart Boulevard to Broadway. While the event begins at noon, organizers are asking participants to assemble at 11 a.m.

Staten Island Councilmember David Carr, a member of the New York City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus, said he has been involved in the campaign to establish the new parade.

“The Forest Avenue BID is working hard to put together a new parade on St. Patrick’s Day that includes the entire community,” Carr told Gay City News in a written statement. “Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and Irish heritage is something everyone should be able to take part in. I’m supportive of their efforts and I plan to be a part of this parade. I’ve also been helping to facilitate the permit application submission and approval with the Mayor’s office and the NYPD. I thank the Mayor and the police leadership for fast action in this matter.”

GLAAD CEO Kate Ellis, a Staten Island native, looks forward to welcoming the new parade to her home borough.

“Thanks to the local advocates in Staten Island, led by the Pride Center of Staten Island, who have fought tirelessly for inclusion, and visibility, all will be able to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!” Ellis said in a written statement. “As a proud Irish-Catholic lesbian from Staten Island, I am heartened to see that Staten Island will have an inclusive St. Patrick’s Day Parade. At a time when extremists are working overtime to push anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and anti-LGBTQ bills, it is more important now than ever that LGBTQ people are included. LGBTQ youth in Staten Island, and everywhere, must hear this message: you belong, you are welcome, you are loved.”