Staten Island’s Inclusive St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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Gay-Friendly St. Patrick’s Staten Island

Staten Island Welcomes a New Parade

This year, Staten Island is introducing a new St. Patrick’s Day Parade that marks a significant departure from past practices by including LGBTQ groups.

This decision follows a history of exclusion from the borough’s traditional celebrations of Irish heritage.

The Forest Avenue Parade Initiative

The initiative for this inclusive event is led by the Forest Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), as reported by the Staten Island Advance. This new parade is scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, at noon, in contrast to the older parade organized by the Ancient Order of Hibernians on March 3, which has historically excluded queer groups. The upcoming Forest Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade has received the green light from the Adams administration, highlighting Mayor Eric Adams’s commitment to inclusive city-wide celebrations.

Mayor’s Office Emphasizes Inclusion

“A spokesperson for the mayor emphasized, “From day one, Mayor Adams has been clear that celebrations in our city should be welcoming and inclusive. That is why we are thrilled to be collaborating with the Staten Island Business Outreach Center for their first-ever St Patrick’s Day parade this year where everyone interested — regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or beliefs — will be welcome to march together.”

Support from the Pride Center of Staten Island

The Pride Center of Staten Island, a key LGBTQ organization in the area, quickly backed the new parade. “We are overjoyed that the Forest Avenue BID invited us to march in the Forest Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17,” stated Carol Bullock, the executive director of the Pride Center of Staten Island. “It is wonderful to see that the BID is bringing back togetherness in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with this parade, a historical staple in the Staten Island community. We are excited to march down Forest Avenue with our Pride Center of Staten Island banner, celebrating Irish Heritage.”

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A Historic Shift for Staten Island

This inclusion marks a significant shift for Staten Island, which has been notably resistant to LGBTQ participation in its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, in contrast to other New York City boroughs. Despite a decade of LGBTQ groups being welcomed in Manhattan’s main St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Staten Island had remained an outlier until now.

Overcoming Past Hostilities

Past interactions between the Pride Center of Staten Island and the traditional parade’s organizer, Larry Cummings, have been fraught with tension. Cummings has been reported to have denied the organization’s application to march last year, stating, “You run a homosexual organization. I’m not accepting your application — now get out.”

Parade Registration and Route

For those interested in joining the Forest Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade, registration is available through Eventbrite, with the parade route spanning Forest Avenue from Hart Boulevard to Broadway. Participants are encouraged to gather at 11 a.m., ahead of the noon start.

Supportive Leadership

Staten Island Councilmember David Carr, a member of the New York City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus, has actively participated in establishing this new parade.

Carr expressed his support, stating, “The Forest Avenue BID is working hard to put together a new parade on St. Patrick’s Day that includes the entire community. Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and Irish heritage is something everyone should be able to take part in. I’m supportive of their efforts and I plan to be a part of this parade. I’ve also been helping to facilitate the permit application submission and approval with the Mayor’s office and the NYPD. I thank the Mayor and the police leadership for fast action in this matter.”

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A Message of Inclusion from GLAAD CEO

GLAAD CEO Kate Ellis, who hails from Staten Island, also shared her enthusiasm for the inclusive parade, highlighting its significance against the backdrop of increasing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. “Thanks to the local advocates in Staten Island, led by the Pride Center of Staten Island, who have fought tirelessly for inclusion, and visibility, all will be able to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day !

An inclusive St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Staten Island heartens a proud Irish-Catholic lesbian from Staten Island. With extremists pushing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and bills more than ever, the inclusion of LGBTQ people has become crucial. It’s vital for LGBTQ youth in Staten Island, and everywhere, to receive the message that they belong, are welcome, and are loved.

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