After New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declined to participate in the city’s main St. Patrick’s Day Parade due to its refusal to allow full inclusion of LGBT people, he found an alternative—the “St. Pat’s for All” parade in Queens, held on March 2.
Just days before, the official website for St. Pat’s For All announced in a press release, “Mayor Bill de Blasio is confirmed for the inclusive St. Pat’s for All Parade on Sunday, March 2nd. Celebrations commence at 1 pm with music and remarks. Led by FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums step off is at 2 pm and follows a route from 47th Street and Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside to 58th Street in Woodside.”
Though the organizers of the more well-known parade say that everyone is welcome to participate, they refuse to allow groups or individuals to march with banners or signs that identify them as LGBT. The Queens parade was started in 2000 to give the LGBT community an event they could march in openly and proudly.
De Blasio’s decision to boycott the March 17 event makes him the first New York City mayor to be absent from it in over twenty years; the last to boycott the parade was David N. Dinkins in 1993, who declined to participate after sponsors were victorious in a court case that banned openly gay groups from participating in the parade.
According to Gay Star News, de Blasio said at the St. Pat’s For All parade, “This is a parade that celebrates inclusion. That is what the city is about. That is what has made this city strong.”
He added that sometimes, doing the right thing means making a stand to “start a positive change, even when it doesn’t seem easy.
“Over time, people [will]cling to it. They understand it’s the right way.”