STATEN ISLAND (PIX11) — Staten Island’s annual St Patrick’s Day Parade rolled down the North Shore on Sunday, attracting thousands of people from all over. However, the ongoing ban of LGBTQ+ groups from being able to march in the parade cast a shadow on the celebration.
Thousands of people lined up along the parade route on Sunday to take in the sights and sounds of one of Staten Island’s oldest traditions. But just like in past years, LGBTQ+ groups also spoke out.
For at least a decade, the Pride Center of Staten Island and other LGBTQ+ groups said they have not been allowed to participate in the parade and march with their banners.
The LGBTQ+ groups call it unfair and discriminatory, especially since LGBTQ+ groups are allowed to march in larger St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York City and around the world.
“Let me be very clear. This is discriminatory and vile. The acts of a few small number of individuals continue to give our entire borough a black eye,” said Carol Bullock, the executive director of the Pride Center of Staten Island.
In protest over the exclusion, the group organized its own event called the Rainbow Run. The group ran along Forest Avenue an hour before the parade started.
Mayor Eric Adams joined the Pride Center of Staten Island and other local leaders at the Rainbow Run to show solidarity with the community and protest their exclusion.
“This administration continues to fight alongside the LGBTQ+ community … My office is reviewing how we can encourage greater inclusion in all our publicly permitted events,” an Adams administration spokesperson said. “The mayor will not participate in the parade as long as those discriminatory practices continue.”
The Pride Center of Staten Island is calling for an end to public funding for the parade until it includes all groups.