Since Catholicism is an important aspect of Irish-American identity there is a tension between being Irish-American and being LGBT, since Catholicism is against homosexuality. The Chicago St. Patricks Day parade, the second largest, LGBT groups were allowed to march in the 1990s (Compton). However, change came less easy in other major St. Patrick’s Day Parades, like the one in New York City. In terms of the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade, the largest in the country, the Ancient Order of the Hibernians who sponsor the parade received an application from the Irish Gay and Lesbian Organization to participate in the 1991 St. Patrick’s Day Parade (Marston). This application was denied resulting in a years-long battle over whether or not Irish LGBT groups would be allowed to march in the parade under their own banner. This battle resulted in multiple court cases, and LGBT people being arrested at almost every New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade until the ban was lifted (Marston).
However, the situation for LGBT Irish-Americans is improving. In 2015 Ireland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage via popular vote (Compton). In addition to that, that same year New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade allowed their first LGBT organization to march in the parade, Out@NBCUniversal, this lifted the ban on LGBT groups marching in the parade (Schlossberg).
Compton, Julie. “Fighting Irish: Battle for LGBTQ Inclusion in St. Patrick’s Day Parades Continues.” NBC News. Last updated March 13, 2018. https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/fighting-irish-battle-lgbtq-inclusion-st-patrick-s-day-parades-n856181.
Marston, Sallie A. “Making Difference: Conflict Over Irish Identity in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade.” Political Geography 21. no. 3. March 2002. Accessed November 10, 2018. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0962629801000518
Schlossberg, Tatiana. “St. Patrick’s Day Parade Includes First Gay Group, But Dismay Remains.” New York Times. March 17, 2015.
“Irish LGBT Rainbow Flag.” Wikimedia Commons. Last updated February 1, 2012. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Irish_LGBT_rainbow_flag.png