For years, LGBT groups were not allowed to march in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parades. This changed slowly through the help of many allies of the NY LGBT community including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and companies like Guinness and NBCUniversal, which had an LGBT group that marched in the 254th NY St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2015.
Five years later, one of the boroughs of New York City, Staten Island, is still trying to keep LGBT groups in their community from marching in their annual St. Patty’s Parade. For years, the parade’s organizers have denied the Pride Center of Staten Island’s application to participate in the annual event. The reason for this denial was that the community center was not in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The head of the parade committee, Larry Cummings, explained his reasons against allowing LGBT groups to participate to the Irish Voice in 2018:
“Our parade is for Irish heritage and culture. It is not a political or sexual identification parade.”
In response to the denial of the Pride Center’s inclusion in this year’s parade, which took place on Sunday, March 1, Miss Staten Island Madison L’Insalata came out publicly as bisexual. This prompted the parade’s organizer’s to bar L’Insalata from marching in the parade.
The 23 year-old pageant queen said to CBS New York, “It’s really hurtful. Nobody likes to feel rejected from their community.”
Donning her rainbow scarf and heart sticker, L’Insalata attended the parade anyway but was prohibited from marching.
“I knew that people would talk about it, and that’s all I wanted. Because the more people that know about it the more likely it is to change,” L’Insalata said.