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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 15 August, 2020

MEP Maria Walsh condemns 'bigotry' of US St Patrick's Day parade for banning beauty queen

Madison L’Insalata publicly came out as bisexual over the weekend.

MEP MARIA WALSH has condemned the “bigotry” of St Patrick’s Day parade organisers in New York who banned an LGBTQ woman from taking part. 

Miss Staten Island Madison L’Insalata said she received a call from parade organisers telling her she had been banned from Sunday’s parade in Staten Island hours after she publicly came out as bisexual. 

The 23-year-old told the New York Post on Saturday of her plans to dress up in rainbow colours and march in support of the LGBTQ community who have been previously excluded from taking part in this parade. 

Local advocacy group Pride Centre of Staten Island said it has applied to march for decades but has always been rejected.

“Change is coming! I am proud to be a member of the LGBTQ community. I am proud to be Miss Staten Island, to have grown up on Staten Island, and to partake in this Staten Island tradition year after year. There is so much room for growth, but with all the love and support I have received today, I know change is coming,” L’Insalata posted on Instagram.

She went on to tell CNN that she didn’t see the “curveball” coming at all from organisers, “but when I heard it, I was shocked and a bit upset”. 

Despite being barred, L’Insalata showed up to the parade anyway and stood on the side-lines wearing a rainbow scarf and tiara on Sunday. 

Walsh, who is a member of the LGBT community and plans to visit the US next week in her capacity as a member of the European Parliament Delegation, said she was “furious” at the blatant discrimination. 

“Contrary to what the parade organisers seem to think, you can be Irish and be a member of the LGBT community and you can be proud to celebrate both, they are not mutually exclusive,” said Walsh. 

Forbidding people from attending an event to celebrate Irishness based on their sexuality is absolutely outrageous and needs to be consigned to history.

“I am furious to see such blatant discrimination alive and well and will make a point of raising it with representatives from the Irish-American community.”

A petition to remove parade organiser Larry Cummings has garnered almost 7,000 signatures but L’Insalata says she would rather see Cummings “come and talk to us”. 

“This whole thing has been hostile since the beginning. I want to see him talk to the LGBTQ community in a respectful way. I would love to see him allow the Pride Center to walk. It’s not about him or his personal beliefs. It’s his community.”

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Adam Daly

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