QueerSpace in Belfast sent us photos, along with this write-up from a civil service union magazine...

St Paddy’s Day (Belfast, 2006)

What has St Patrick got to do with LGBT rights? Not a lot really until big bad homophobia came along and stamped all over the shamrock.

It’s a crying shame that for 14 years LGBT people have been banned from

taking part in the St Patrick day’s parade in New York City. This infringement of their civil liberties is the work of the New York City Authorities egged on by the Ancient order of Hibernians in America (AOHA).

For decades the American Hibs have claimed to be concerned about Civil Rights in Northern Ireland yet they are eager to violate the Civil Rights of Irish people in America.

The AOH are hardly on the cutting edge of liberation, the parade has also historically excluded people of colour, women and people in wheelchairs… until resistance forced the AOH to change those policies.

Today people of every religion (and none) are welcome to join in the parade while LGBT people are specifically forbidden.

This years New York parade was no different, Chief Marshall John Dunleavy of the Ancient Order of Homophobes likened the notion of gays marching under their own banner to Nazis wanting to march in a Jewish parade or the Ku Klux Klan insisting on joining a black demonstration.

Add to this the shameful silence from the Irish nationalist parties, from Sinn Fein to the PDs, they are all happy to march in a parade which won't acknowledge gays as part of the Irish nation.

Question: Why can’t all Irish people enjoy St Patrick’s Day?
Answer: Homophobia

Contrast the New York homophobia with what happened in Belfast.

Behind the scenes organisers from the Belfast Pride Committee gave their skills & energy to help out with the St Patrick’s Day parade and everyone benefited. LGBT people made a significant & colourful contribution.

Queer Activists were warmly welcomed as they carried a huge 40 ft rainbow flag through Belfast City centre, they were even helped by people from New York City (Sadly something they have never been able to do at home)

The Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association handed out leaflets to raise awareness of the discrimination that Irish people in New York suffer.


When will the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America realise that they are so out of touch with life in modern Ireland?

For further information about this struggle check out