Title

Countering exclusion: the 'St. Pats for all' parade

Publication Date

2008

Journal

Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography

Volume

15

Issue

2

First Page

153

Last Page

167

Abstract

The St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City has historically been a crucial site for annually reproducing narratives of Irishness through a very public performative ritual taking place on Fifth Avenue. However, in recent years controversy has surrounded this event, associated with the organizers’ decision to ban self-identifying Irish homosexuals, a decision supported by the US Supreme Court. In response, a ‘counter-parade’ now takes place in the neighboring borough of Queens, which is beginning to mount a serious challenge to the more established ritual. Billed as the first all-inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parade in the city’s history, this ‘St. Pats for All’ parade articulates a very different narrative of Irishness than that paraded on Fifth Avenue. In this article I seek to examine this alternative event and the contested identity politics associated with Irishness in New York City, focusing primarily on the axes of nationalism and sexuality, and the role played by public space.

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