This article first appeared in The Advocate.
There will be no officially recognized LGBTQ+ representation in the Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade again this year.
On Sunday two local LGBTQ+ groups, Pride Center of Staten Island and the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL), were prevented from even submitting an application to openly march in the annual event.
Carol Bullock, executive director of the Pride Center of Staten Island, told local SILive this is the fourth year her group’s application has been denied. She said LGBTQ+ groups are being specifically targeted by the parade committee.
“The second year of my attempting to apply, all of the sudden, it became bold on the first page that no political agendas or sexual identification organizations could apply,” Bullock said. “And I saw the same thing this year on the rules of the parade.”
Bullock and over a dozen supporters were waiting to submit the group’s application this past Sunday at the Blessed Sacrament Church, but Larry Cummings, the head of the parade committee, wouldn’t let her into the church basement to submit her application. A reporter from SILive who tried to follow Bullock into the church to take pictures was reportedly forcibly removed from the building by Cummings, who repeatedly yelled “get out” at the reporter.
Bullock claimed Cummings had unkind words for her as well when she tried to submit her group’s application.
“You represent a homosexual organization, get out,” Bullock claimed she was told by Cummings.
After the arrival of two officers from NYPD Community Affairs Department, Bullock again attempted to submit her applications, and was again denied. At least one of her associates at Pride Center of Staten Island pointed fingers directly at Cummings.
“And at this point, it boils down to the will of one human being,” Marcy Carr, operations and event production director at the Pride Center of Staten Island told SILive. “And in the world we live in, nothing should boil down to the will of one human being.”
City Councilman Davis Carr, a Republican who is gay, said that LGBTQ+ groups have been treated horribly by the organizers. He told SILive that he had tried to organize a meeting between the local LGBTQ+ groups, the organizers, and another local group to work something out.
"Refusing @pridecenterSI , @GOALny & others admission to the parade for yet another year is wrong on its face, and the disgusting way in which they were treated as they tried to apply only adds insult to injury. Once again, I’ll be sitting this year’s parade out," he wrote on Twitter.
New York City's mayor is also sitting the parade out over the organizers' exclusionary practices.
“This administration continues to fight alongside the LGBTQ+ community and is continuing that practice by serving all New Yorkers equally and fairly,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “My office is reviewing how we can encourage greater inclusion in all our publicly permitted events, and we remain hopeful that the organizers will allow members of the LGBTQ+ community to participate. The mayor will not participate in the parade as long as those discriminatory practices continue.”
The Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade is thought to be the only such parade to exclude LGBTQ+ groups from marching. The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan ended its two-decade ban on LGBTQ+ groups in 2014. And for the first time in its history, the Bronx’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade allowed an LGBTQ+ group to march openly last year.
Bullock and Carr indicated they will still make their presence felt at the parade, even if they aren’t officially marching. Instead, they will hand out LGBTQ+ pins and literature to spectators, and have also asked local businesses on the parade route to fly Pride rainbow flags in support of the community.