The first Irish LGBT group walked in the 255th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17.
The group was the Lavender and Green Alliance, founded by Brendan Fay, and was the first LGBT group to walk the parade in 25 years, according to CNN.
Fay got very emotional during the event. He said they heard plenty of cheers and described it as “an extraordinary moment.” He also said that the moment was “very profound. There were a lot of tears, a lot of joy.”
Fay has fought for many years to achieve the rights to walk in the parade, which includes getting arrested and losing jobs. He said it was “long, long waited for.”
Also participating in the parade were gay rights activist Edie Windsor and Mayor Bill de Blasio. The mayor ended a boycott of participating in the parade since he was first elected in 2014.
The mayor said it was a day of celebration. He said, “Today, the city is at peace, and the city is unified, and we all feel tremendous pride in all of the people who brought us together.”
However, many people weren’t happy about having an LGBT group in the parade, reported the New York Post. One woman argued the parade was about focusing on the Irish and had nothing to do with LGBT, saying she didn’t believe they should be a part of the parade.
“It’s about Irish history and Irish pride. There is no reason for them to be here,” said Christine Dowling, 46. Dowling also commented that having a LGBT group in the parade “makes no sense” and argued since they had “their own parade,” it didn’t have anything “to do with Irish history.”
In addition, people against de Blasio had something to say.
54-year-old Yonkers resident Dennis Funn, who carried a sign telling the mayor to return to his home, didn’t feel de Blasio should be using Irish New Yorkers for politics. He commented that “the Irish have no use for him” and criticized how the mayor was doing in his role, adding “we don’t want his politics.”