Organizers of the St. Patrick's Day Parade announced last week that one and only one gay group would be allowed to march in next year's parade, prompting activists to question why only a single group was selected. Now, those activists are applying for the 2015 parade—not that they think they'll be allowed to march.
The lone LGBT group marching next year is OUT@NBCUniversal, which represents the network's LGBT employees. The group Irish Queers argued last week:
This is a deal that was made behind closed doors between parade organizers and one of their last remaining sponsors, NBC. It allows NBC's gay employees to march, but embarrassingly has not ended the exclusion of Irish LGBT groups. The parade organizers have said, astoundingly, that we "can apply" in years to come...
We welcome this small victory, but our call remains the same -- the parade must be open to Irish LGBT groups, not "in subsequent years" but now. (We remember too well how parade organizers used fake waiting lists to bury our applications before.)
The group says that the parade wants sponsors like Guinness back; Gabby Cryan of Irish Queers said, "This is not a policy change. This is a token gesture. This is not actually including the Irish lesbian and gay, queer community in New York City."
And John Francis Mulligan of Irish Queers emphasized, "They say we are able to apply to march in 2016, and we remember this. This is the same playbook that they used in 1993, when they said ‘apply to march,’ and then there’s a waiting list. It went to the courts and there was no waiting list, and those lies were brought to the forefront then. And they’re doing the same thing again."
Still, they mailed their application. But they're also going to ask Mayor Bill de Blasio not to march in next year's parade. Last week, de Blasio said, "This is a city of inclusion. That's the values of this administration. It's the values of the people of this city. We need a truly inclusive parade. Whatever the details, this indicates progress. This is a step forward. But I need to know more before I can tell you how we're going to handle something six months from now."