Our Journey ~ Our Story

1988

With the support of the late Craig Rodwell, founder of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop and co-founder of the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade (now run by Heritage of Pride), Brendan Fay places a notice in the bookshop's community bulletin board . After a number of telephone exchanges with Irish/Irish Americans, Irish lesbian and gay immigrants for the first time began meeting at various locations like the Red Lion and The Eagle throughout the city. Daring,...bold,...members declared they were Irish lesbian and gay New Yorkers!

April

The Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGO) formed.

1994

January 15

After a life dedicated to justice and inclusiveness, Robert Rygor, a member of Lavender and Green and ILGO died. Robert led the first Irish gay contingent into the line of the St. Patrick's Day Parade called "gaylics". The group carried a 9' foot-long banner reading "Gay Irish Americans".

Feb., 1994

Informal conversations among some members of ILGO and others from the Irish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community leads to the realization and birth of Lavender & Green Alliance.

Mar. 22

This Tuesday evening the first meeting of Lavender & Green Alliance (Muintir Aerach na hEireann) was held at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center at 208 west 13th Street. Members discussed the organization's role as parallel/complimentary to ILGO and Lavender & Green-sponsored cultural activities.

1995

June 1-30

"Windows In gay Life" exhibit for Stonewall 25. Brendan Fay and Peter Hendricks research and design an exhibit on Irish lgbt history in Ireland and the U.S. The exhibit was displayed on the storefront window of McNulty's Tea & Coffee Co. , Inc. at 109 Christopher Street. The central piece of the exhibit displayed the map of Ireland with a poem by Cathal Ó Searchaigh.

March 11

Lavender and Green, along with the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee, hosts the first Oíche Aerach (Gay Night) celebration. Held in a Protestant church in Flushing, NY, over seventy attend including Irish immigrant Chaplain, Father Glen Campbell. Festivities included traditional Irish food, drink, music and set dancing. The event draws considerable media attention.

March 17

Lavender & Green members are among the many arrested for protesting the exclusion of Irish lgbt people from the annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Manhattan.

May 14

At a forum, Alexi Kandratiev, Brendan Fay and Tarlach MacNiallais discuss the role of lgbt people in the struggle for Irish independence.

July 9

"An Sael Aerach", a documentary showing of Irish language documentary prompts lavender and Green members to begin regular classes in Irish language under directorship of Seosamh Mc Closkey. Classes are held at the offices of Dignity NY, a gay and lesbian catholic organization in Greenwich Village.

Dec. 14

Lavender & Green and Clann An Uabhair, a gay and Scottish organization, celebrates the Christmas season with "Nollaig Aerach". A clothing drive is held for New York's homeless.

1996

March 9

After the welcome for hosting Oíche Aerach was withdrawn by the Catholic Centre of NY, members were warmly received by the Reverend Alan Harris of the Park Avenue Christian Church.

Along with the festive music and dance, this year's celebration marked the beginning of a new tradition -- honoring community leaders. This year's honorees were parents Carmel Tavadia, Audrey Gallagher and Stanley and Kathleen Rygor. Also honored was Terry McGovern, founder of New York's HIV Law Project.

Messages of support were received from NY's Irish History Roundtable, the National Coalition of American Nuns and Bishop T. Gumbleton.


March 17

Members of Lavender & Green join with ILGO outside the New York public Library to protest exclusion of lgbt people from Manhattan's St. Patrick's Day parade.

June

Brendan Fay is a grand marshal at the Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride parade. His family visits from Drogheda to witness and enjoy the occasion.

July 24

After a courageous struggle with terminal illness, Carmel Tavadia, Irish immigrant, mother, activist and president of Queens Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays (P-FFLAG), dies. A great loss to our community.

September

Members of Lavender & Green, including Barbara Mohr, Tom Moulton and Tom McNulty start a group to address the needs of those with HIV/AIDS in the Irish community. The Irish AIDS Outreach (IAO) has its first meeting at Bailey House, an agency serving the larger HIV/AIDS population.

December 5

At Flannery's on 14th street, IAO holds its first community meeting with Sister Edna McNichols and presents the documentary "Stories From Silence" on the personal challenges of living with the disease.

Dec. 14

Lavender & Green and Clann An Uabhair co-host a Christmas celebration.

1997

February 1

Lavender & Green members join IAO for a "Spring Fling" in the Bronx to further promote the message of AIDS awareness and its impact in that borough's Irish population.

March 8

At this 50th anniversary of the Irish famine, Daniel Dromm, other members of Lavender & Green Alliance and others  from the Irish and lgbt communities gather to exchange stories at a day-long forum at St. John's University, the largest Catholic university in the U.S. AIDS. The needs of Irish lgbt immigrants are among some of the topics discussed. Hundreds of flyers and letters addressed to Dr. Leahy (a grand marshal of that year's St. Patrick's Day parade in Manhattan) and Father Colin Campbell (a marshal of the Brooklyn St. Patrick's parade) are distributed that urge compassion and further action to fight HIV/AIDS.

March 15

Lavender & Green's third annual celebration, Oíche Aerach III is held at the Park Avenue Christian Church. The Roger Casement & Eva Gore Booth leadership awards are presented to Tarlach MacNiallais and Colleen Meenan, Esq. Also honored is Father John McNeil, one of the founders of Dignity USA.

March 16

Lavender & Green joins with the Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride Committee for a St. Patrick's celebration at Cobblestones in Forest Hills, Queens.

March 17

Lavender & Green protests again at the New York Public Library and St. Patrick's Cathedral the exclusion of lgbt Irish from the 5th Ave. St. Patrick's Day parade.

June 18

For lgbt pride month, "Celtic Pride", a celebration of music, poetry and song, is held at New York's Oscar Wilde bar.

July 15

Brendan is a surprise guest on Dublin's "Out In The Open" radio program. Calthal Ó Searcaigr is interviewed and made aware of his New York activist children!

1998

February 12

Held on the steps of New York City's City Hall, Lavender & Green joins New York's lgbt community for a National Freedom To Marry Day action organized by Marriage Equality NY.

March 7

Oíche Aerach IV is held at the Park Avenue Christian Church. Honored are Rena Blake and Al Lawrence. The Catholic Worker Community prepares and serves dinner! Collaboration is begun between our two movements.

March 17

Barbara Mohr and other members of Lavender & Green distribute leaflets at St. Patrick's Cathedral and the New York Public Library. Most people express dismay at the ongoing exclusion of Irish lgbt people from the Manhattan parade.

April 19

Paddy Hyde of the Wild Geese Society and Brendan present on the life of Roger Casement.

June 2

Lavender & Green testifies at City Council hearings on Intro 330A, New York City's Domestic Partners Bill.

June 11

Brendan Fay receives an award by New York City Comptroller Alan Hevesi at a ceremony in New York City Hall.

Hevesi, financial manager of the City, cited Fay's early involvement with the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGO) and the subsequent loss of his teaching position in 1991.


June 24

Another evening of "Celtic Pride" festivities is held at the Lesbian & Gay Community Services Center.

1999

February 6

Lavender & Green members, including Donald Maher, Esq. and Tom Moulton, approach Brooklyn's Irish American Parade committee member Kathleen McDonagh with a letter requesting participation in the borough's parade and it's "24th Annual Installation Dance". Ms. McDonagh is invited to Lavender & Green's upcoming Oíche Aerach V.

March 4

Lavender & Green receives a call welcoming the group to march in the Bronx St. Patrick's parade on the 14th.

March 6

Oíche Aerach V takes place at the mid-town Catholic Parish Centre despite threats and opposition. Over 250 attend, including Ciara Delaney, representing the Irish Consular offices in New York. A tribute was paid to the late civil rights activist and former City Council president, Paul O'Dwyer, Esq. Donations were collected to help the case of writer Robert Drake, a victim of a brutal bias attack in Sligo just a few weeks prior. The Roger Casement & Eva Gore Booth Leadership awards were presented to Marion Irwin, who was flown in from Ireland for the event, and Daniel O'Donnell.

Marion came to New York to run long distance track and to pursue Sociology studies. While attending St. John's university, Marion became a leader of the student's lgbt group and an organizing activist with ILGO. Upon graduation she became a tenants organizer in the Bronx.

Daniel O'Donnell, a NY-based attorney and city councilmember, was honored for his commitment to the poor through his work as a teacher, lawyer and advocate. A respected leader in the lgbt community, Daniel lives with his partner of 18 years in New York and was elected to the NYS Assembly in 2002.


March 11

Lavender & Green receives a call from Patrick Devine of the Bronx St. Patrick's Parade Committee. The welcome to march in the parade this year has been withdrawn!

March 13

New York's weeklies, including Newsday, the NY Post, and the NY Times report on the Bronx parade controversy.

March 14

Lavender & Green members attend the pre-parade mass at St. Benedict's Parish in the Bronx and later attend its breakfast! Despite the best efforts of Lavender & Green members--personal pleadings with political, religious and community leaders--the parade organizers remain stubborn in their exclusion of lgbt members of the Irish community.

 

October 8th

 

Special presentation for LGBT Pride Month.

 

October 11th

 

Bilingual Roundtable --"An Sair Gay" video and discussion.

 

October 13th

 

Lavender & Green attends Emerald isle Immigration Center's Annual Dinner.

 

October 27th

 

Lavender & Green Members attend New York University's Ireland House film screening of RTE 1999 documentary.

 

October 29th

 

Afternoon celebration of the Celtic New Year. Costumes, music, dance, poetry and refresments at Pegasus Bar.

 

October 31st

 

Oíche Shamhna- the annual Halloween festival and parade in Greenwich Village.

Six individuals are arrested including NY State Senator Thomas K. Duane and City Council Member Christine Quinn. All were temporarily detained and issued summonses for "disorderly conduct."


March 21

After attending a community breakfast and pre-parade mass at Holy Name Church, all attempts to march, as days before, in Brooklyn's St. Patrick's parade in Park Slope failed. Protests were planned through joint efforts between local activists from the Lambda Independent Democrats (LID) and Lavender & Green. Some members carried gay and Irish pride flags with the "Six Towns Bicentennial Committee". In total, eight were arrested and charged with "parading without a permit".

May 1-2

Lavender & Green participates in a conference titled "Sharing Strategies for Survival, Resistance and Empowerment of Oppressed Communities from Belfast to Capetown to New York and Beyond" at Riverside Church.

April 26

Charges of "parading without a permit" were dismissed by a Brooklyn judge.

June

Lavender & Green marches in the Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Bronx lgbt pride parades.

August 9

After numerous court appearances, all charges related to the Bronx St. Patrick's parade arrests are dropped!

October 10

Lavender & Green's Seosamh Mc Closkey translates the "Solidarity Sunday Prayer and Pledge" into Irish. Solidarity Sunday is a national campaign of Dinity USA that addresses the prejudice and violence directed to and experienced by lgbt people within the church and society.

2000

Jan/February

Thanks to our dance enthusiast/expert ben Foley, weekly sessions in Irish set dancing begin at the LGBT Community Services Center. The response -- enthusiastic!

B.B.C. channel 4 hears about our dance sessions. A documentary team was over profiling Lavender & Green's "Pat" Harrington. Tne documentary includes a segment of Pat doing a set!!

Classes in Irish language continue with Seosamh McCloskey. A dream comes true for Lavender & Green members with a meeting/dinner with Donegal Poet Cathal O' Sesechaigh.


February

Our web site is set up and maintained. Within days hundreds from around the world are checking out our web page; www.lavenderandgreen.com

In a March review of internet sites related to Ireland, the NY Times recommends our site.


March 5

Lavender & Green marches with our banner in New York City's first inclusive St. Patrick's parade. Over 70 contingents, including unions, youth groups, and other lgbt groups like ILGO, SAGE, Dignity, lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps...all marched under unusually wonderful sunny skies. People traveled from all over the country to share in the historical moment. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton chose this as her 1st ethnic/cultural parade.. Ellen Duncan and Brendan Fay were the parades co-chairs of this event which was profiled in media stories worldwide!

March 17

Lavender & Green joins the Irish Lesbian & Gay Organization (ILGO) and hundreds of supporters in protesting the exclusion of Irish lgbt people from the 5th Ave. St. Patrick's Day parade.

March 19

After attending the pre-parade mass at Brooklyn's 25th Annual Irish American Day Parade, Lavender & Green urges Bishop Thomas Daily to help resolve the parade controversy. Members of Lavender & Green followed the banner from place to place along the parade route. We then set our banner up across the street from the review stand at 9th stret and Prospect Park west.

Many parade participants wished us well! Family members of the late Chief Patrick D. Brennan (NYPD), to whom the parade was dedicated, came over to express their support and solidarity!

Brooklyn's Lambda Democrats helped with our efforts.


June 5

We join with members of Dignity NY for a lunchtime protest at the Vatican Mission. This was in solidarity and support of Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent.

 

June, 2000


Lavender & Green marches proudly in the Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Bronx parades.

 

October 8th

 

Special presentation for LGBT Pride Month.

 

October 11th

Bilingual Roundtable --"An Sair Gay" video and discussion

 

October 13th

 

Members of Lavender & Green attend Emerald isle Immigration Center's Annual Dinner.

 

October 27th

Lavender & Green members visit New York University's Ireland House to watch a film screening of a 1999 RTE documentary on being Irish and lgbt.

 

October 29

 

Lavender and Green enjoys an afternoon celebration on the Celtic New Year. Costumes, music, dance, poetry and refresments served at the Pegasus Bar

 

.....

 

2016

 

September 29

New York St. Patrick's Day Parade allows second gay group

 

March 17

Lavender & Green Alliance marches for first time in NYC St. Patrick's Day parade! :)

Lavender & Green Alliance

Muintir Aerach na hÉireann

lavenderandgreenalliance@gmail.com / lavenderandgreenalliance.org

 

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