Because Ireland was an oppressed colony for centuries, declaring itself a Republic in 2016, and finally gaining Home Rule from England in 1920.
Because thousands starved in the Potato Famine when there was food enough to feed them.
Because they arrived in this country as immigrants, and found NINA: No Irish Need Apply.
Because the Irish started marching on St. Patrick’s Day in New York City in 1762.
Because gays and lesbians came from Ireland to escape the bigotry of their government and the Catholic Church.
Because Mayor David Dinkins invited gays and lesbians to march with him in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade 1991, and spectators cursed and threw cans of beer.
Because Mayor Dinkins boycotted the parade in 1992.
Because more than 100 gays and lesbians were arrested at the start of the parade in 1993, and for several years afterward, including then-City Council Member Tom Duane, and future CMs Danny Dromm and Jimmy van Bramer, along with Irish immigrant and activist Brendan Fay.
Because Brendan Fay started St. Pat’s for All in Queens in 2000: an inclusive parade that lets anyone who wants to march from Sunnyside to Woodside the first Sunday every March.
Because then-First Lady Hillary Clinton marched in the first parade, helping push disability activist Anastasia Somoza in her wheelchair.
Because so many city and state electeds and candidates add an O’ to their name come to Sunnyside and Woodside, and every Mayor (except the current one) has marched in St. Pat’s for All.
Because there are still protesters at St. Pat’s for All every year, carrying signs calling it “A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade.” (Irish musician and playwright Brian Fleming used it for the title of his solo show about St. Pat’s for All.)
Because State Senator Tom Duane led the winning fight for marriage equality in New York State in 2011.
Because the “Queen of Ireland,” Panti Bliss, rode in a red convertible in St. Pat’s for All in 2014.
Because the Republic of Ireland enshrined marriage equality in its Constitution in 2015.
Because Irish Consul-General, Barbara Jones negotiated with the Ancient Order of Hibernians and gay activists to get the gays into the Fifth Avenue Parade in 2015.
Because the Lavender and Green Alliance marched in the Fifth Avenue parade in 2016.
Because Tom Duane told me before the Fifth Avenue Parade in 2018: “never give up the franchise.”
Because Brooklyn’s St. Patrick’s Day parade let the gays march in 2019.
Because a few weeks after the 2020 St. Pat’s for All parade, Northern Irish immigrant and activist Tarlach MacNiallais, was one of the earliest COVID deaths in New York City.
Because they still won’t let the gays march in Staten Island.
Because Malachy McCourt gets his ass out there every year, and he’s 91.
Below, see some photos from the March 17 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan. You can also read our coverage of St. Pat’s for All here.