A New York borough has banned a beauty pageant queen from participating in its annual St. Patrick’s Day after she came out as bisexual.
Miss Staten Island Madison L’Insalata came out in an interview with the New York Post on Saturday, prompting parade organizer Larry Cummings to alert the pageant director that the 23-year-old would be banned from the event, which was held Sunday morning, due to “safety” concerns, the paper reported.
Staten Island organizers, along with those in other boroughs throughout the city, have a long history of rejecting LGBTQ participation in their annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration; years of controversy over the discriminatory policy have resulted in the gradual lifting of similar bans across the city. Following the end of the New York City parade’s ban in 2014, Staten Island became the last borough to still deny LGBTQ participants.
In addition to L’Insalata, the parade also banned Miss Richmond County’s Outstanding Teen, 17-year-old Victoria Montouri; and according to the director of the Pride Center of Staten Island, organizers told her they would not allow gay groups when she attempted to sign up for participation.
Also absent from the parade were Miss Staten Island’s Outstanding Teen Angelica Mroczek and Miss Richmond County Gabrielle Ryan, who boycotted the event because of its restriction on LGBT+ people. In addition, several local officials boycotted this year’s parade, calling for more inclusion in future festivities.
L’Insalata said the decision to ban her from the parade was “definitely a curveball.”
“I was really looking forward to being there and having a discussion and now there won’t be,” she told interviewers. “It’s sad this had to happen. I thought I was doing something good … You want to be part of the change.”
Still, the 23-year-old beauty queen showed up anyway, to watch from the sidelines and represent for the LGBTQ community – even if it was only from behind a metal barrier with the rest of the crowd.
“I still wanted to march because I felt I could make a much greater impact being in the parade, waving my rainbow flag,” she told the Post at the event on Sunday, where she sported a rainbow scarf and heart rainbow pin while holding up a small multicolored flag.
The Staten Island parade is one of dozens of St. Patrick’s Day events held throughout the city each year as New Yorkers celebrate Irish heritage and recognize the patron saint of both Ireland and the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The Manhattan parade, which takes place on St. Patrick’s Day itself, March 17, is the largest of these, drawing approximately 150,000 marchers and two million spectators.