Irish Queers Call NYC's St. Patrick's Day Parade Diversity Attempt a 'Publicity Stunt'

Zach Roberts for the Village Voice
Out@NBCUniversal members at the St. Patrick's Day Parade
As New York City held its 254th St. Patrick's Day Parade Tuesday, with Irish Americans and members of the Irish diaspora celebrating amid a flurry of green, members of an LGBTQ group officially marched in the parade for the first time, but not everyone was happy.

"It was basically a publicity stunt to deal with the gay problem," says Gaby Cryan, a third-generation Irish American and member of the Irish Queers, a group that's long protested the parade's exclusionary policy.

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Catholic League's Bill Donohue Seems a Little Nervous About Actually Marching in the Gay Pride Parade [Updated]

Bill Donohue, whose face always looks like that.
One-man outrage machine Bill Donohue, president and evidently the sole member of the Catholic League, has asked for and received permission from the NYC Pride March, a.k.a. the gay pride parade, to march with them in June. Donohue says he wants to hold a banner with the words "Straight Is Great." Bill Donohue has a lot of time on his hands. But we suspect he's not actually going to march in the parade. Join us, won't you, as we march resolutely down this rabbit hole of trollery?

Update, 5:30 p.m.: We're psychic! The full update's at the bottom of this post.

Donohue is well known for his opposition to gay marriage, though he'll often insist, not super convincingly, that he has nothing against gays. His request to march in the pride parade is, as you might have guessed, a response to this year's St. Patrick's Day controversy, when Mayor Bill de Blasio and a large contingent of the City Council declined to march because the St. Pat's folks don't permit openly gay people or groups to participate. Donohue argues that the St. Patrick's Day organizers have every right to exclude whatever group they wish, and is one of those calling for a boycott on Guinness to protest their decision to pull out of the parade.

Fine. Great. But Donohue's next move -- asking to participate in the pride parade, in the apparent hopes that he'd be turned down and could be outraged at the Hypocrisy of the Gays -- has not gone quite the way he expected. Now, he's in the awkward position of having to actually march in the Pride Parade. This is going to be great.

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'Drill Ass, Not Gas' and Other Messges We Heard at Pride 2012 [PHOTOS]

Steven Thrasher
"Drill, Baby, Drill" would have a different meaning here than Sarah Palin meant
Yesterday's Pride Parade was marked by extremely beautiful weather and a much more relaxed tone than last year's march, which was frantic right after Marriage Equality Act had just passed.

Although we wrote in this week's Voice feature that debate has grown limited in gay organizations, the march had a full spectrum of points expressed. In the alley where the Voice's contingent lined up, there was an Israeli group and a Palestinian supportive group queued up near each other. Yes, there were the onslaught of banks and finance companies marching which we wrote about last week, but there were groups as divergent as the anti-circumcision flank ("Dude, Where's My Foreskin?"), churches, anti-animal cruelty marchers, anti-fracking folk ("Drill Ass, Not Gas"), Occupy Wall Street, elected officials, and a surprisingly welcomed contingent of NYPD white shirts (perhaps welcomed because they held musical instruments and not battons and riot helmets).

As we waited to march with the Voice (lauded by the parade's announcer for this paper's coverage of LGBT issues going back decades, to Stonewall really), we got to watch a fair amount of the parade pass by and interviewed some of the politicians. Here are a few snapshots.

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Irish Queers Protest At St. Patrick's Day Parade

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As the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade marches up Fifth Avenue today, an annual protest will take place. The group Irish Queers will call out the NYPD's participation in the event, which they say on their website "was redesigned so that anti-gay bigots could parade using the church's special right to discriminate." Protests have been occurring for 21 years, however, Irish Queers member Emmaia Gelman said that now her group is not fighting against parade organizer's right to exclude openly gay and lesbian people from participating. "This protest about not allowing them to have it both ways," she told Runnin' Scared. "It's can't be both a religious anti-gay procession and include all the public servants."

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Occupy Oakland Protesters Arrested; Cain Endorses Gingrich; More Details In Greg Kelly Case

via @StephChuang
Chaos broke out in Oakland Saturday, after Occupy protesters tried to take over the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, in what they called "Move-in Day," a plan to turn a vacant building "social center, convergence center and headquarters." Hundreds of people were arrested, and three police officers were injured. (The New York Times and Reuters say the arrest count is around 200; The Associated Press via the New York Daily News says 300.) Police used tear gas and bean bag projectiles in the clash. Oakland wasn't the only stage for Occupy protests, though. In Washington D.C. protesters rallied outside the Alfalfa Club dinner, where President Barack Obama was in attendance. Williamsburg had it's own Occupy action last night as well. More on that later from Runnin' Scared's Leah Greenbaum. [NYT, Reuters, AP, ABC]

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Here Comes the Pride Parade, All Dressed in White

Esther Zuckerman
Christine Quinn
At this year's Pride March the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps added a surprise number, trombone player Jeff Nordahl told us before the parade started: a "wedding medley." Right after the purple and white clad band marched away from their station between Madison and 5th Avenues on 40th Street to begin their part of the parade a woman stopped us. She had noticed.

"The band that just took off, they were doing the 'Wedding March,' it was just so touching," said Janet Green, who was heading down 5th Ave. with Continuum Health Partners.

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Reminder: Gay Pride Parade At Noon

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C.S. Muncy
Today's Pride parade starts today at noon. After the state's passing of gay marriage, this one should be big. We will be in our usual Sunday position -- blogging -- but grab a rainbow flag and a flask and get out there. There are oiled-up gyrating men to ogle! The march starts at 36th and 5th and wends its way down to Christopher and Greenwich Streets. The Voice will be hanging out at the end of the route, so drop by for some contests and prizes! More info here.


84th Thanksgiving Day Parade Will Be As Cheesy As Usual

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Charlie Brown will have a few new friends to hang out with as he floats down Sixth Avenue this Thanksgiving. Macy's has announced the lineup for this year's parade, which will include performances by Kanye West, Jessica Simpson, and Gladys Knight, helium-filled versions of Po from Kung-Fu Panda and the Kool-Aid Man (huh?), and a new Dora the Explorer float.

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