New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has decided to skip Monday's St. Patrick's Day parade—making him the city's first mayor to do so in decades—amid concerns that the city's LGBT population won't be allowed to make itself known at the festivities.Gay-friendly signs have been banned from the event, which typically draws 200,000 marchers and is viewed by close to 1 million spectators. Participants are also not allowed to "identify themselves as LGBT."Several popular beer manufacturing companies—including Dublin-based Guinness—have withdrawn sponsorship from the parade, in an effort to distance themselves from the controversy.The impasse between parade organizers and would-be marchers has forced the latter to find other ways to get involved. The Guardian reports: Some LGBT groups were to protest the parade along the parade route on Fifth Avenue on Monday. Others had planned to dump Guinness beer from the shelves of the Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the gay rights movement, in protest of the brewer’s plan to sponsor the parade, but that demonstration was canceled late Sunday after Guinness said in a statement that it had dropped its sponsorship.Boston's parade, which took place on Sunday, March 16, was mired in similar controversy. Mayor Martin Walsh—the city's first Irish-American leader in 20 years—sat out proceedings as organizers weren't able to iron out an agreement permitting a gay veterans group to march.
Alex Wolff is a Spring 2014 editorial intern.