Astraea Grantee Partner Q-Wave Leads First LGBTQ Contingent in Lunar New Year Parade

Published on Feb 25, 2010

Astraea grantee partner Q-Wave brought in the Year of the Tiger with the first-ever LGBTQ contingent in New York’s Lunar New Year Parade.  The organization garnered unprecedented support from elected officials and a wide range of Asian organizations. They partnered with Asian LGBT groups and invited members of the LGBTI Irish and South Asian communities, barred from their own cultural parades, to join them. Hundreds of LBGTQ people, family and friends marched to challenge homophobia and celebrate family in all of its forms.

USA- New York

Gay Groups Invited to March in Lunar New Year Parade

Read article at the Daily News

In a historic first, gay and lesbian groups marched through the streets of Chinatown Sunday in the festive Lunar New Year parade.

And they invited the Indian and Irish gays, too.

Wearing rainbow bandannas, about 300 gays and supporters waved versions of the fish and the phoenix, traditional Chinese symbols for prosperity and renewal.

They were joined by drummers and even a costumed tiger with its own rainbow armbands.

“We are ecstatic. It’s a huge step forward,” said Irene Tung, 31, a spokeswoman for Q-Wave, which led the gay contingent.

It was made up of marchers from groups that included St. Patrick’s Day for All and the South Asian Lesbian & Gay Association, which have been barred for years from the annual St. Patrick’s Day and India Day parades.

“Today is a historic breakthrough for this community, and someday I hope we will see the same on [St. Patrick’s Day],” said St. Pat’s for All founder Brendan Fay. “My feeling today was one of joy for this community.”

Unlike the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Ave., which has for years barred gays, organizers allowed the gay group to march.

Steven Tin, executive director of the Better Chinatown Society, said there was no reason to exclude the groups.

“Why not?” he said. “We basically welcome groups that want to do a cultural celebration.”

The thousands of revelers who packed Mott St. to watch the colorful parade ushering in the Year of the Tiger were mostly supportive, with frequent cheers for the gay marchers.

The Rev. Patrick Cheng of the Metropolitan Community Church marched with his 75-year-old mother.

“Given a lot of hostility in Asian-American evangelical communities, I think it’s good for me to come out and represent the religious side,” he said.

Mom Deanna Cheng said she’s getting more comfortable discussing her son’s homosexuality with her Chinatown neighbors.

“[I] try to make them listen and change their minds,” she said. “In the past, I wouldn’t have dared to say anything.”

Read article at the Daily News