The Fairy Princess has had a remarkable Saturday that she was not expecting. First, as previously mentioned, she was on the Home Page of Out.com, for the interview she did with “Speak Up With Jimmy“. That was lovely, because she does indeed, have life long friendships with many people of the LGBT community.
Second, she was mentioned in Jeff Yang’s blog for the Wall Street Journal, and when someone who makes their living singing and dancing winds up with a mention in the WSJ, it’s…well, it’s a cool feeling. Therefore I just wanted to take a moment and thank Mr. Yang for reading my blog and thinking it made a point or two.
And now, The Fairy Princess has to address something that has bothered her for a tremendous amount of time, and it will be uncomfortable, and it will upset some people, and it will make it highly likely that a portion of her extended Family will not talk to her for a while, but before that….
I am Irish.
Yes, hard to believe if you read this blog (although it has been mentioned a time or two), but The Fairy Princess is Irish, Chinese, and Welsh – which makes me fairly Celtic/Gaelic. There have even been articles on the fact that I am Irish, which…let’s face it, is pretty amazing.
I grew up with songs like this playing in the car:
I have an Irish name – both first and last, and middle too, actually. I have toured with Irish musicians as a singer (some fairly fancy ones, actually) for three years, and I have an Irish music CD that is available on iTunes.
I have some famous Irish relatives who helped shape New York City
and, you know Unions in general in this country….
I grew up going to Irish festivals, and hearing stories about ‘The Old Country”, and as Dad represented a few Irish performers, I have seen quite a bit of some of the more famous musicians up close and personal. Sung with one or two at a pub and such. Actually, I would say that if it was Irish themed and made it to America, I have probably seen it.
However, I have also seen this:
This is Irish Drag Queen, Panti Bliss, who was recently sued in Ireland, by a group who wound up on a chat show with her. They made homophobic statements, and Panti Bliss called them ‘homophobic’ and under the slander laws in Ireland, that is litigious. And that, to quote Panti herself, ‘feels oppressive’.
(For the Drag Knowledge Amateurs – if a Drag Queen is in makeup, it is polite to use a female descriptive, if a Drag Queen is out of makeup, then, of course, it would be polite to refer to the person as a male)
Which, to Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte in Ireland, seemed wrong. So there is now a move to change the Broadcasting Act in Ireland, which allows people to sue Broadcasters willy nilly. This is a step forward.
(No, Willy Nilly is not a Drag Name. Or, well, it’s not mine.)
Which means that Ireland, ‘the Mother Ship’ as it were, is trying to change.
The question I have is why are we, in America, holding on to a rather antiquated set of rules that oppress people?
In Ireland, LGBT people have been marching in Parades on St. Patrick’s Day for approximately the last decade. In fact, the The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Diarmuid Martin, said recently, “Anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. We all belong to one another and there is no way we can build up a society in which people are excluded or insulted. God never created anybody that he doesn’t love.”
Is there still oppression there, yes. Are there still hate crimes there? Of course. But look who is ‘coming out’, as it were, in support of LGBT people – The Archbishop of Dublin!
I mean, WHO is more Catholic and Irish than the Archbishop of Dublin?
He wins. So let’s not hide behind religion anymore, eh?
This got The Fairy Princess to thinking about the way we, in America, have handled our St. Patrick’s Day Parades. That way could only be describe as…well, I would say the Parades are very organized and fun if you like Parades, but we have a huge, festering, open sore on our Parades, and that sore is called ‘exclusion’.
We have not allowed LGBT people to march in the Parades in declared groups.
I suppose LGBT Irish Heritaged people have marched in the Parades – (percentages have the LGBT population of America as 3.5%, which would be around 8 million people – so odds are, yes, there have been LGBT people marching in the Parades) but under different groups and banners and they had to hide.
They may have been in the Parades, but they could not acknowledge publicly that they were Gay and that they were Irish.
Which made The Fairy Princess think of the stories she had been told as a child – not just about The Banshee.
(Thanks to my Cousin Dinny, The Fairy Princess was scared sh*tless every time the wind blew till she was ten.)
No, The Fairy Princess heard other stories when she was growing up, stories that, as Panti Bliss would say, “feel oppressive.”
Now, when my Grandparents stepped off the boat from Ireland, they saw/heard/felt more than their share of this:
You could do a few things – you could work on your accent and try and hide that you were Irish. You could take a job for far less salary, in often dangerous conditions, just because of where you came from and what you sounded like. You could stay in an area that was strictly Irish immigrants and hope that you could stay with your ‘own’ people and not have to face ridicule and oppression, low wages, abuse and all sorts of other things – things that would be visited upon you simply because of who you were.
One of the reasons you were going to have a hard time, was because America was steeped in Anti-Irish sentiment like this:
Nice going Knickerbocker America.
Well, obviously things changed…
But now it needs to change again, and we, Irish Americans, we need to change it.
I mean, there are BEER COMPANIES pulling OUT (ahem) of St. Patrick’s Day Parades because we are not allowing LGBT People to show that they are proud of being Irish! BEER COMPANIES! C’mon! You know Beer Companies look forward to St. Patrick’s Day like a starving man looks at food. Longingly. Salivating. They are going to take a huge hit, just to stand up – and that is a great thing – it should put us on alert.
When the Irish first came here, it was almost a crime to say that one was Irish – yet we do this same thing to LGBT peoples.
During the Great Famine, when there was plentiful grain and cows and so on being exported from Ireland, the Irish starved because there was a blight on potatoes. Potatoes were the only things that the Irish were ‘allowed’ to eat and so they starved – even as Ireland was exporting grain and cattle and could have fully supported it’s own population, it was a crime to speak up against this policy. And we have made it a crime to speak up and say who you love. On a day that is supposed to celebrate love. A Saint’s Day.
It means EVERYBODY.
Cannot we, Irish Americans, drive out these ‘metaphorical snakes’ that interfere with our ability to embrace so many of our people?
Irish American people, who want to celebrate being Irish Americans on a day that we have set aside specifically to do that.
The Fairy Princess believes that Irish America can change.
If The Fairy Princess can learn to eat and love Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread it just goes to show – even things steeped in tradition – can be embraced. And you know what – she does not MISS the Gluten!
Which means – you will NOT miss the hate.
You won’t. I promise. It will make the day lighter. It will make the argument go away. It will embrace Irish Americans, all of them, equally – and there will be one less stupid, horrible thing to argue over in this country.
Who would not want that?
I mean, for heaven’s sake – who did you think was going to be at the rainbow when you got to the end?
The song says
It’s doesn’t say ‘If you’re Irish… and Straight, come into the Parlor“, it says “If you’re IRISH”
Sure and they are descended from Brian Boru, and the High Kings, and Boudica, and sure they have heard the stories of the Harp that once through Tara’s Halls, and probably seen a step dance or two – right? So what’s the problem – change these policies!
There was an ‘All Inclusive” St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 2nd, which Panti Bliss attended.
My hope is that next year, Panti Bliss will be an invited guest at the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Heck, maybe they could have her as The Grand Marshal?
The Fairy Princess would totally be an Aide to that particular Grand Marshal.
Just as my Father and Uncle were once upon a time when they marched in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It was, I can say with complete certainty, one of the proudest days in my Dad’s life – being able to march down 5th Avenue in his top hat and morning coat, with a sash across his chest, showing the world where he came from.
Doesn’t everyone deserve that chance?
I mean, IRISH AMERICANS – we are MISSING OUT!
Because EVERY Parade is better with Drag Queens, my doves. Every. Single. One.