Monday, March 17, 2014

Green Beer and Homophobia

I can't say that I'm a socially active person. I think I have a pretty level moral compass, I'm just not all that vocal about it. Sure, I bitch about things as much as the next guy, but I'm more likely to rant about brewery hypocrisy, than say, some one's civil rights being trampled on.

On a different, and yet somehow related note—I love a parade.

Here's how those two points come together. Boston, home to perhaps the country's oldest St, Patrick's Day Parade and, New York City, home of arguably the biggest and most well-known Irish-themed parade in the country, have banned gay and lesbian activists from marching in their respective parades.

That sounds like a bit of a dick move, to me.

Yeah, yeah, I get the parade is supposed to be about "Irish-ness" not sexuality, or whatever, but how many other political and social organizations are allowed to march? Here's what really gets me. Isn't the whole point of a St. Patrick's Day parade to celebrate a people who have suffered centuries of oppression? Isn't it a public display of a group overcoming the odds and succeeding despite intolerance? Who better emulates that, in this day and age than the LGBT community? Besides, what difference does it make if you're a boy who likes to kiss boys or girl who likes to touch boobies if your wearing green today. Seriously, are people not going to out today and get shit-faced because a group is marching under a rainbow flag? That's everybody's—Gay, Straight, Irish, American New Yorker, Bostonian—inalienable right.

Oh yeah, this is a beer blog, right?

Here's the beery angle. To show their support for city's gay community, Samuel Adams has pulled their sponsorship of the Boston parade and Heineken and Guinness (yikes!) reciprocated with a similar drop-out in New York City.

Big props to those guys.


  1. Craig,
    Anyone can march within the spirit of the parade. The key words are "in the spirit of the parade." Gay and lesbian people are invited to march in NYC St. Patricks' Day parade, just not under a LGBT banner which politicizes and draws attention away from the intended spirit of the event. I have participated as a marcher, performing in a local bagpipe band. We wore a uniform and carried a banner that said who the band's host group was. Certainly, the band marched to show support for the parade and the Irish American community as a whole. Band members were of a diverse ethnic background. Membership was not based on being heterosexual or Irish. It was an honor to participate, and as a group we agreed to conform to the parades rules.
    I am not sure how a rainbow banner would impact the parade, other than to call attention to the LGBT people and their supporters in the parade.
    The fact is that there has been and now are LGBT people marching in the parade, welcomed by the parade organizers, supporting a St. Patrick's Day tradition.
    At some point in time, maybe all special interest groups will be able to march in all public parades in identifiable fashion. You only have to use your imagination to think of all the different groups that could demand a spot in any public parade.
    Oh yeah, I read this blog for the beer related content. I smell simple opportunism in the breweries pulling their support. Save money and align themselves with a controversial position. The question you have to ask of the breweries is why now? What will the trend be next year?
    I don't drink Heineken or Sam Adams, and won't be consuming Guinness (oh my!) any time soon. Chris

  2. Yes, I can use my imagination to think of all the groups that could march in the parade. Wouldn't that be awesome.

  3. ...Oh, and don't be fooled into thinking that the St. Patrick's Day Parade in either Boston or NYC isn't a political event.