MassEquality Meets with Boston Mayor, Congressman, Parade Organizers to Negotiate Full Participation in South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Affirms Commitment to Marching Only if LGBT People Can March Openly

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Cathy Renna, cathy@targetcue.com, 917-757-6123

MassEquality Meets with Boston Mayor, Congressman, Parade Organizers to Negotiate Full Participation in South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Affirms Commitment to Marching Only if LGBT People Can March Openly

Statement from Kara Coredini, Executive Director

"As we do every year, MassEquality applied to march openly in this year’s Parade. And as in prior years, that application was rejected. However, on Mayor Walsh’s urging, Parade organizers agreed to meet with MassEquality and the Mayor to discuss this year’s application.

Last night we met with Congressman Stephen Lynch, Mayor Walsh, and Parade organizer Phil Wuschke and discussed our concerns. MassEquality was joined by members of the LGBT community, one of whom marched with GLIB twenty years ago. We made it clear to the Parade organizers that we would only march if LGBT people are able to march openly and honestly.

No agreement was reached, but the conversation is ongoing. We hope that the Parade organizers will see exclusion as not only unfair, but harmful and not aligned with the many fair-minded and inclusive Bostonians – Irish or not – who participate in and enjoy this annual celebration of a community that is so vital to the city of Boston.

A parade that is truly welcoming to LGBT people would allow marchers to identify themselves as LGBT. It would not condition celebration of one identity on the silencing of another identity.

The fact that Parade organizers are willing to have a continuing conversation with MassEquality about LGBT people and the Parade is important and historic. On this tenth anniversary of marriage equality, our Country, our Commonwealth, and South Boston are very familiar with LGBT people and their families. South Boston and the Commonwealth’s other neighborhoods know that communities are healthier and families are stronger when everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Change in our Commonwealth has always been made through dialogue and story sharing. We are grateful to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for his work to ensure that this dialogue is happening.

MassEquality looks forward to the day when the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade is truly an LGBT-inclusive parade. We are hopeful that March 16, 2014 is that day.”

The South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade has a long history of banning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from participating in the parade and freely expressing themselves. That history began twenty years ago, when the Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston (GLIB) was banned from marching in the Parade because its banner contained the words “gay,” “lesbian,” and “bisexual.” 

###
MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that everyone across Massachusetts can thrive from cradle to grave without discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.