Does Pittsburgh Permit LGBTQ Groups in St. Patrick’s Day Parade?

I’ve been trying to get an answer on this for weeks with no luck.

Does The Irish Society for Education & Charity permit LGBTQ groups and organizations to march in the Pittsburgh parade with signage? I can’t get anyone to talk with me about this. stpatt

Tonight, tv news told me that the City of Pittsburgh will be paying for a portion of the police details used to provide security during the 2014 celebration. Obviously, that would be a problem if the parade did discriminate and put the City in the position of potentially using public funds to oppress LGBTQ residents.

So I reached out to the Mayor’s office for clarity. I hope to have a response.

In Boston, organizers have banned LGBTQ groups (they say “gay”) for over 20 years. They recently reversed that decision, but said participants from the state LGBTQ equality group could not wear shirts or carry signs with the word “gay” or similar words. They resisted and talks fell apart. Boston’s Mayor will boycott the parade.

In NYC, group are permitted to join but also without signage. So most participate in an alternative parade, including Mayor  deBlasio.

Photo: New York Times
Photo: New York Times

So what is the big deal?

The various parade organizers hide behind language like “family event” and “Irish traditions” and “Catholic Church” to obfuscate their discrimination.

The problem is that there are plenty of LGBTQ Irish American and LGBTQ Irish people in Ireland and around the world. It paints an antiquated John Wayne/Maureen O’Hara nostalgia for an Ireland that never existed and certainly doesn’t exist now.

So the parade is a private event and has the freedom to discriminate. That doesn’t mean the City of Pittsburgh should financially support that discrimination. To do so knocks another chunk out of the wall of municipal equality here in Western Pennsylvania.

So let’s find out the rules. If the Mayors of Boston and New York can be allies, there’s no reason to expect less in Pittsburgh.


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