For Irish L.G.B.T.Q. New Yorkers, It’s Been a Long Way to Staten Island

This year, for the first time, every New York City borough will host a St. Patrick’s Day Parade that allows L.G.B.T.Q. groups, bringing a decades-long conflict to an end.

That milestone will be celebrated on Sunday with a new parade on Staten Island, part of a deal brokered by Mayor Eric Adams. It’s the result of decades of work by activists like Brendan Fay, an indefatigable Irish immigrant who began lobbying for the inclusion of gay marchers 34 years ago.

“There has been a huge cultural transformation that I have lived through from 1990 until today,” Mr. Fay, 65, said this week as he prepared to march in the Staten Island parade.

Still, he said, “we had no idea it would take so long.”

The new parade quickly overshadowed the borough’s traditional march, held on March 3, which officials said they believed to be the only one left in the United States that bans gay marchers. Most of New York’s elected officials, who plan to march on Sunday, have boycotted the borough’s original parade for years.

The organizers of the original parade, a private group, could not be reached for comment, but they have previously stated that they did not want the parade to contradict teachings of the Catholic Church or be used to promote “political or sexual identification agendas.”

In 2018, Larry Cummings, the main organizer of the parade, told The Irish Voice, a diaspora newspaper in New York City, “Our parade is for Irish heritage and culture.”

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