Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gay and...

This month's podcast (listen at right) tells the story of the Irish American Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Group of Boston (GLIB)'s fight in the mid 1990s to march in South Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The group's members were fighting to claim their identities as both gay, lesbian, bisexual people and Irish Americans.

The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately framed the question as a First Amendment issue, ruling that the parade organizers could control the "message" of the parade by excluding those they deemed to have a contrary message.

According to the Allied War Veteran's Council (and leader John "Wacko"Hurley), the presence of people carrying a banner saying they were both Irish and gay was contrary to the desired message of Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade.

GLIB's fight has added to our discussion about identity and community, about the right to be fully who you are and to be included. Continuing this discussion publicly - in the courts, in parades, on blogs, wherever we are - ensures that more and more people realize that there is no contradiction between being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender and being Irish, or a mother, or a son, or a teacher - or anything other than fully human.

Former GLAD employee Jacob Smith Yang discusses the St. Patrick's Day Parade case. Video is courtesy of The History Project's exhibit The Queer East

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