The Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio will march for the first time in his city’s St Patrick’s Day parade.
The move comes as the parade, the largest in the US, dropped its ban on LGBT groups from marching.
Speaking to the Associated Press on Wednesday, de Blasio said he would march in the parade on 17 March.
“The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a New York City tradition, but for years Irish LGBT New Yorkers could not show their pride,” de Blasio said to the Associated Press.
“Finally, they can celebrate their heritage by marching in a parade that now represents progress and equality.”
Due to the anti-gay policy, Bill de Blasio has shunned the parade every year since his election in 2014 – and the event has also faced a large commercial boycott and protests over the exclusion of LGBT groups.
However, the policy has been slowly phased out – with sponsor-affiliated LGBT group Out@NBCUniversal permitted to march in 2015 without any Pride flags as a ‘middle-ground’ compromise.
In 2016, however, Irish LGBT group the Lavender and Green Alliance will finally march under their own banner for their first time – likely marking a definitive end of the outright ban.
Following the news that an LGBT contingency will be permitted, Mayor de Blasio has reportedly confirmed he will march in the parade next month, shoulder-to-shoulder with the LGBT marchers.
According to Irish Central, the Mayor “will likely march up Fifth Avenue twice on March 17” – once at the front of the parade, likely alongside the police department, before doubling back to march again with the Lavender and Green Alliance.
The New York City Council has also apparently ended its boycott of the event following the removal of the anti-LGBT policy, with a large contingent expected to march under the city’s banner for the first time since 2013.