LGBT-friendly St. Pat’s For All parade will march down Sunnyside this Sunday

Photo courtesy of St. Pat's For All

The 17th annual St. Pat’s For All parade in Sunnyside, which began in 2000 to provide Irish-Americans in the LGBT community with an outlet to celebrate their heritage, will take place on March 6 this year.

The parade was co-founded by Brendan Fay, a human rights activist and filmmaker who is originally from Drogheda, Ireland, and now lives in Astoria. Fay organized the parade as an alternative to the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, which has historically barred LGBT groups from having a float or marching under their own banner.

The event will begin at 1 p.m., with the march procession starting at 2 p.m. at 43rd Street and Skillman Avenue. It will end on 58th Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

Grand marshals Loretta Brennan Glucksman and Colum McCann will make opening remarks. Glucksman works with several nonprofits to foster and promote Irish heritage such as The American Ireland Fund and serves on the boards of The National Gallery of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin.

McCann, who was born in Dublin, Ireland, is an award-winning author.

On March 4, the group will host the St. Pat’s For All concert at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan. The concert, which helps raise the approximately $15,000 it takes to run the parade, will feature hip-hop, other dance, traditional Irish music, poetry, and Irish stars such as Brian Fleming and Irish Opera Singer Karl Scully. The Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance will also perform. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. on March 4.

Fay also co-founded the  Lavender & Green Alliance, an Irish LGBT organization that offers cultural and educational programs that share and celebrate the history of those in the LGBT community, according to its website.

Last year, the group Out@NBC, a group made up of LGBT employees working at NBC, was the first LGBT group allowed to march in the New York City parade. Some, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, said that move did not go far enough. In September 2015, the board of the parade voted to allow Lavender & Green Alliance to take part.

“Our participation [in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade] will coincide with the parade’s marking of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, considered to be the birth of Irish Independence,” the group’s website read. “We are delighted and proud to be part of this momentous occasion.”

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