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Announcement :: GLBT/Queer
Irish Republican Socialists say, Boycott NYC St Pats Parade
17 Mar 2006
By IRSCNA

The sectarian Ancient Order of Hibernains continue to embarass the Irish American community with their medieval bigotry. We call on all progressive and especially Irish people to not support their reactionary homophobic policies.
15 March 2006
Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America

Boycott the New York City Saint Patrick's Day Parade

On behalf of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement, the Irish
Republican Socialist Committees of North America issue the following
statement about the continued exclusion of Irish and Irish Americans
who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered from the annual Saint
Patrick's Day parade in New York City and endorse the call for a
boycott of the parade.

The New York City Saint Patrick's Day parade is the largest
Irish-themed parade held in the United States every year. The parade
organisers have repeatedly barred Irish and Irish Americans who are
gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered from marching in the parade
under their own banner. The parade is organised by the Ancient Order
of Hibernians, a sectarian and reactionary organisation which believes
it has a right to decide who can and can't celebrate their Irish
heritage in public on Saint Patrick's Day in New York City. The first
St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City was held in 1762 and was
organised by Irish Protestants as a public protest to fight widespread
discrimination against Irish people.

We endorse the call of the Irish Queers organisation for a boycott of
the parade. Irish Queers will hold a sideline protest and picket on
the east side of Fifth Avenue at 57th Street beginning at 10:30 am on
March 17th. We call on everyone who supports equal rights for sexual
minorities, and anyone who opposes sectarian organisations like the
AOH hijacking a parade that is supposed to be about expressing pride
in Irish heritage to boycott the parade and participate in this
protest. We especially call on republicans and republican socialists
to stand in solidarity with Irish or Irish Americans who are being
discriminated against by a group of bigots.

This is nothing new for the New York City parade, which has also
historically excluded people of color, women, and people in
wheelchairs until resistance forced the AOH to change those policies.
In the early 1980s, activists protesting the British government's
policy of criminalising republican and republican socialist prisoners
of war were attacked and forcibly removed from the parade. In 1991,
the AOH physically ejected supporters of political prisoner Joe
Doherty for wearing sashes in support of the campaign to free him.
Members of the Bloody Sunday Campaign attempting to draw attention to
the thirteen unarmed civilians murdered at a civil rights protest in
the North of Ireland were also banned from participating. Activists
opposing the imprisonment of Bernadette Devlin McAliskey's daughter
Roisin were thrown out for handing out roses to call attention to her
case.

For over thirty years, the Irish Republican Socialist Party has
supported equality for gays and lesbians, beginning with the party's
first Ard-Fheis (convention) in 1975, when it became one of the first
parties in Ireland to support gay rights. The IRSP became the first
party in Ireland to explicitly include bisexuals and transgendered
people in the equality statement passed at its 2000 Ard-Fheis, which
stated, "The IRSP affirms its commitment to full equality for gays,
lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people."

In conclusion, we stand with Irish Queers in saying that Saint
Patrick's Day in New York City should be a celebration for all people
of Irish descent, not just those who are heterosexual Catholics.
Catholic, Protestant, or Dissenter; heterosexual, gay, lesbian,
bisexual, or transgendered; we all have a right to express pride in
our Irish heritage and this is what the New York City Saint Patrick's
Day parade should celebrate, the diversity of the Irish and Irish
Americans instead of a narrow minded and exclusionary definition of
who is Irish.

###

Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America
PO Box 8266
Austin TX 78713-8266
USA
irscna (at) irsm.org
http://www.irscna.org/
http://www.irsm.org/irsm.html

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