After an LGBTI group was banned from Staten Island St Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday (3 March) but locals fought back without breaking a sweat.
Pride Centre of Staten Island (PCSI) is the New York City borough’s largest LGBTI organization.
But since 2011, it has been consistently denied access to St Patrick’s Day parade.
As a result, Staten Island’s 55th parade will be the only not fully LGBTI inclusive.
Last year, parade president Larry Cummings told the Irish Central the group was denied them a space as it is ‘not a political or sexual identification parade.’
Painting the town green
Local LGBTI have rallied in a show of support.
Young Democrats of Richmond County organized the Rainbow Run initiative.
This involved runners sprinted in colors of the Pride flag across Forest Avenue moments before the main St Patrick’s parade.
Rainbow runner raced in the order of the strips of the Pride flag | Picture: Twitter (@RainbowRunSI)
This was part of the Forest Avenue Mile run in conjunction with the parade.
Speaking to Silive, KC Hankins, vice president of the Young Democrats of Richmond County said: ‘As a queer, Irish Staten Islander, I am so saddened by the Pride Center of Staten Island being denied entry to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
‘We ran with pride this year to show the organizers we are here, we are proud and we will march as equal members of the community.’
‘Celebrate their whole selves’
In a statement, Rainbow Run said: ‘We believe that all Staten Islanders deserve to proudly participate and celebrate there whole selves.’
Additionally, just under 20 businesses on the parade’s route on Forest Avenue displayed rainbow flag signs in their windows to show their support.
‘Way past time’
Meanwhile, several politicians across the 11th district took to Twitter to announce they would boycott the parade.
Staten Island borough president Jimmy Oddo tweeted that he would not be marching.
He wrote: ‘I wanted to, and thought I could reconcile my call for inclusion with still marching, but internally I cannot.’
Democratic congressman Max Rose also tweeted his support: ‘I struggled with how to support our LGBTQ community while still honoring our Island’s rich Irish heritage.
‘But for me I cannot march while the Pride Center Staten Island is still excluded.’
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said it was ‘way past time’ that the group be allowed to march.
What about the other boroughs?
However, New York as a whole is doing well, LGBTI-rights wise.
It kicked off 2019 by offering a gender non-binary option on birth certificates.
The third-gender option, for people who do not identify as either male of female, came into effect on 1 January.
St Patricks Day falls on 17 March, with the main St Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan on 16 March.
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