Gay-Irish group Lavender and Green Alliance marks a new era by joining New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day’s Parade for the first time.
The parade organizers broadened the line-up to include activists who protested the ban for years. There were approximately 200,000 marchers following the Fifth Avenue route, while onlookers bordered them, forming a sea of green.
Brendan Fay, the founder of the Lavender and Green Alliance, talked about the cheerful moment, which they achieved after a 25-year-long battle.
“I never thought I’d see the day when I could march up Fifth Avenue in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade with my husband,” Fay said.
“When we started in 1991, after getting arrested so many times for protesting the parade, wow, what a moment this is.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the people following the parade route were cheerful. They applauded as the group walked by with their green and lavender sashes, and rainbow flags.
Anna Silver, who came from New Jersey along with three friends, said that they love New York City, the parade and the idea of being Irish for a day. They were wearing bright green T-shirts with green ties and stovepipe hats, says The Washington Post.
“I’m part Irish on my mother’s side, but today I’m totally Irish,” she said.
The parade was also joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who marched with the police and the fire departments. He joined the parade in solidarity with the alliance.
“People will be able to express their pride, their pride as Irish-Americans, their pride as LGBT Americans, and their pride as New Yorkers,” he said.
Yesterday’s parade gave tribute to the centennial of Ireland’s Easter Rising against British rule. Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell of Maine, who negotiated the Northern Ireland peace accord, was the grand marshal of the parade.
However, not everything went by with flying colours. Some veteran parade participants have criticised the entrance of gay delegations.
The St. Patrick’s Day’s parade was also broadcast live in Ireland and the United Kingdom for the first time.