Sunday, March 02, 2008

My New York: Gay politics at the Queens Irish Pride Parade (Hit Me Baby One More Time)

Interesting article this morning in the New York Daily News ("Record five openly gay candidates look to toss hats into Council races," March 2, 2008) shows that, politically, the LGBT community in Queens seems to be reaching maturity.

Basically, there are "at least" five openly gay community leaders in Queens who are exploring launching campaign bids for the upcoming 2009 New York City council elections with two of them possibly facing each other in my own district of Jackson Heights.

I already wrote a bit about that particular race back in November and introduced you to one of the candidates- Alfonso Quiroz (above) - who also got a pretty nice write up recently in the Queens Courier as well.

Elsewhere my friends James Van Bramer and Charles Ober are also mentioned as considering runs. We all were founding members of the Queens Pride House and the now-defunct Guillermo Vasquez Independent Democratic Club of Queens which makes me think that maybe I should also get into the council swing of things and launch my very own exploratory committee! (A joke! That would make it three gay guys going for the same seat and that might be one queer guy too many).

Anyhoo, my friend Doug had invited me to today's St. Pat's for All Parade & Fair in Queens. It was founded nine years ago by my friend and immigrant rights activist Brendan Fay (it does get sorta incestuous in the way that everyone seems to be related politically or socially, no?) and, even if I wasn't a founder of the Parade a little known fact was that I was one of the guys who carried the big Irish flag color balloon arch at that first parade! I tell you! I'm everywhere! (Here is today's version of the arch with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Brandon behind it).

Christine, of course if rumored to be considering a run for the Mayor's Office after Michael Bloomberg vacates the office. Also rumored to be in the running, City Comptroller Bill Thompson, who marched behind the Stonewall Democrats of New York banner.

The Parade usually attracts politicians who want to express Irish pride but do not march in the larger Manhattan St. Patrick's Day Parade which has a long history of discriminating against gays and lesbians. So while it's not necessarily a gay pride parade it does attract a few LGBT organizations.

Still, there are pockets of intolerance in Queens as there are everywhere else and there were a few anti-gay protesters (here's one holding a sign that reads "Rifraf out of Woodside"). I assume the 'rifraf' inlcudes non-Irish queer folk as well such as Hombres Latinos de Ambiente (pictured with their banner).

Good thing - then - that Doug's friend, Robert, was able to reclaim sodomy as ours in a stealth move that caught the protesters unguarded.

Still, nothing - and I mean nothing - could be gayer than reclaiming that old Irish ditty recently popularized (some may say plagiarized) by Ms. Britney Spears. And it goes something like this:

1 comment:

longbench said...

You know Andres, there had better be a book about queer people of color politics in your future. Write a memoir if you have to. You have endured, I mean, seriously ENDURED. I actually feel a bit of comfort when I see or hear quotes from you. It means some good things haven't changed. Glad to know that you haven't gone off to be one of those other types of professional queers. You know, the ones who think activism is old hat and for the newbies without the million dollar homes. Don't mean to embarasss you, only to pay tribute and to recognize in some fleeting way how important your commitment and hard work has been over all these years.

Keep on keepin' on.