Mayor de Blasio drew a line in the sand when he marched through Sunnyside, Queens, last week in the gay-friendly ‘St. Pat’s for All’ parade. Posing for pictures with the manly Irish drag queen known as Panti Bliss, who rocked false eyelashes, lipstick and enough foundation makeup to support a three-story building, the mayor could not hide a horrified expression plastered on his face that screamed silently: “Help me!”
NY POST (via CreepingSharia) If you thought Hizzoner’s public stand alongside New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals would bring him fans or a coveted spot next to transvestite Lady Bunny at this summer’s NYC Gay Pride March, you’d be mistaken. De Blasio would be lucky to nab a stool in a Greenwich Village gay bar.
De Blasio announced last month that he’s boycotting the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, set to run up Fifth Avenue March 17, in solidarity with homosexuals, who are prohibited from carrying banners, waving signs or wearing lapel pins that identify their sexual persuasions. Public Advocate Letitia James will be a no-show. Any City Council member who dares march won’t wave a city government sign, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito decreed. Guess what — no one cheered.
De Blasio didn’t win any love in the gay community when he gave his blessing to city workers in uniform, including cops and firefighters, plus Police Commissioner William Bratton, to participate in the festivities. He maintains they have a constitutional right to free expression. “We’re angry. Frustrated would be a better word,’’ Emmaia Gelman, an organizer for the group Irish Queers, told me. Gelman said her outfit is considering suing the city, claiming parade rules violate city human-rights laws.
The mayor also angered members of the city’s Irish-Catholic community who see his boycott as no less than an expression of intolerance. “De Blasio, he has no respect for diversity,’’ William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, told me.
“I really find this very scary. I’ve been kicked by lesbians in the street!” In the mid-1990s, Donohue said, he was physically attacked while taking pictures of lesbians assembling in front of the Mid-Manhattan Library on Fifth Avenue on the morning of the parade. “You’re dealing with people who are fascist.”
Let me clear up one misconception. Gays are not banned from this parade. Everyone, whether Irish, Jewish, Hindu or pansexual, is welcome to attend the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the nation’s largest. The event dates to 1762, when the British still ran this country, New York was more than a century away from acquiring five boroughs, and people still friended each other in person.
All can attend — provided they don’t carry signs identifying themselves as gay. Or straight. Or vegan, neo-Nazi or pro-gun, to name just a few categories. Civic groups and colleges can carry signs.
So the mayor’s stubborn insistence on skipping the parade (he also did so while serving as public advocate from 2010 to 2013) has nothing to do with gay exclusion. It has everything to do with de Blasio’s lack of respect for people with whom he disagrees. If the parade opens up to groups whose members identify themselves by bedroom activities, then how can parade organizers justify stopping skinheads, abortion foes or members of the North American Man/Boy Love Association from waving banners?
The parade “is a celebration of Irish heritage and culture — nothing more, nothing less,” Hilary Beirne, executive secretary of NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which organizes the event, last month told The Wall Street Journal. “There’s another parade in New York City that celebrates being gay and being lesbian, and that’s the Gay Pride Parade,’’ Beirne said.
Things have been quiet along the parade route since Mayor David Dinkins skipped the event back in 1993. Mayor Michael Bloomberg marched throughout his 12 years in office. Mayor Rudy Giuliani did so for eight years. (Both of whom were hated by Muslims, even though Bloomberg supported the Ground Zero Victory mosque)
The question of who has a right to wave banners appeared settled in 1995. That’s when US Supreme Court justices voted unanimously, 9-0, that Boston parade organizers, including those who run the nation’s second-largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade after New York’s, have a First Amendment right to invite or exclude any group from events that, like this city’s parade, are considered private.