There are two major St Patrick’s Day parades in this country, New York and Boston. These parades are organized by private fundraising organizations which continue to exclude participation by openly LGBT people and groups. In Boston it’s the Allied War Veteran’s (sic) Council; in NYC, the Ancient Order of Hibernians. These groups try to hide their bigotry behind the skirts of “religion” and “veterans”.
Because there are no Irish gays, no gay Catholics, no gay veterans, right?
In 2014, though, this anti-gay bias has only been amplified by the lens of… 21st century morality and equality. Politicians in New York and Massachusetts have shunned the bigots’ parades – including the mayors of New York City and Boston. But now, the Allied This and Ancient That have suffered an even more grievous injury: ALL OF THEIR BEER SPONSORS HAVE PULLED OUT! That’s right. Heineken. Sam Adams. And – sure and begorra! – now GUINNESS has taken its creamy stoutness and gone home.
It’s sad, for so many reasons. Having pride in your Irish heritage is a wonderful thing. The Irish have contributed so much to American culture. Millions of Irish came to this country in waves of immigration from the early 1800s through the 1920s. And the Irish who came to this country seeking a better life met with the same hatreds that are directed at immigrants from Mexico today. It was ugly. And it persisted up until WWII. I saw it in my own family. My German grandparents had very little love for my Irish grandparents. So, I always wonder how people who have been so horribly mistreated and disrespected can have such short memories about how that felt. If you’re Irish and you think your proud heritage gives you the moral right to discriminate against others… you have forgotten your own history. The East Cost parade-makers should pay a visit to the Windy City.
Chicago has a great Irish-American celebration, including a green river and the gays. Imagine! Or, maybe they would like to see how they do it in Dublin. You know, the folks who invented being Irish? Yup. Shamrocks. Leprechauns. And gays. Oh my!
I salute the politicians and the sponsors who have decided not to participate in what has become a symbol of anti-gay bigotry in Boston and New York. To be sure, there’s little or no risk to pols or the ex-sponsors, given the strong majority support for equal treatment of LGBT Americans. But if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. And Ford Motor Company is the only remaining major sponsor left. I wonder what Ford is waiting for? For as long as they sponsor these bigots, there won’t be any Ford in my future.
So, here’s wishing a Happy St Patrick’s Day to my Irish friends and family. I raise a Guinness to your health! And a Heineken! And a Sam Adams!
Day 070 #100happydays