So you think St. Patrick’s Day is all about obnoxious straight people wearing green and drinking beer in public? Well, yes—but there are some very queer things indeed about the holiday.
I should know: I have a four-leaf clover tattooed on my butt (Seriously).
Herewith, are the top five reasons LGBTs should care about St. Patrick’s Day, happening Saturday, March 17. (And be sure to check out all of the best gay-themed St. Pat’s events listed on our sister site, GayCities):
1. The streets are awash in completely wasted, highly suggestible straight boys
For you gay guys and gals whose deepest fantasy is turning out a Hibernian hetero, St. Patrick’s Day is your chance. Boys: Find an outdoor area full of straight bros and see if one of them won’t smooch your Blarney Stone. And, ladies, straight girls are all about being exhibitionists. Buy them a few shots of Jameson, bribe the DJ to play “I Kissed A Girl,” and let the party begin.
Heck, if you go to a wild enough St. Paddy’s Day event, two dudes might even break-dance naked in front of a huge crowd, like Irish hip-hop brothers Jedward did in 2010 (link NSFW-ish).
2. It’s the one time us gays can stop caring about what we’re wearing.
“I think St. Patty’s day is a really good excuse to dress like a tool,” style maven and reality star Brad Goreski told Queerty. And it’s true: So long as it’s green and relatively unstained, you’re safe. (Fun fact: originally the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue.)
* Oscar Wilde (1854-1900, right): the quotable author and playwright spent most of his adult life as a dandy-about-town in London, but was born in Dublin.
* Francis Bacon (1909-1992): Perhaps the greatest artist to emerge from the Emerald Isle, Bacon was known for his abstract figure drawings and intense relationship with his muse and lover, George Dyer (played by Daniel Craig in the film Love is the Devil)
* Rosie O’Donnell (b. 1962) and Daniel O’Donnell (b. 1960): Rosie is the one-named talk-show host (obviously), but her out older brother Daniel is the first openly gay man elected to the New York State Assembly.
* Graham Norton (b. 1963): The UK’s version of Jay Leno, but gay—and actually funny—Norton hails from County Cork.
* Sinéad O’Connor (b. 1966): Though she’s bounced around the Kinsey scale, the controversial Irish singer announced she was a lesbian back in 2000.
* Christine Quinn (b. 1966): The influential New York City Council Speaker has all but announced her bid for mayor in 2013.
* Stephen Gately (1976-2009): One of the two lead singers of the popular British boy band Boyzone, Gately came out in a blaze of publicity in 1999 and wed his partner five years later. Sadly, Gately passed away in 2009 from an undiagnosed heart condition.
Back in the 1800s and early 19oos, Irish immigrants suffered serious discrimination in the U.S—denied jobs and access to schooling, caricatured as uneducated alcoholics, and in some cases deemed an “inferior race” in comparison to Anglo-Saxons.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade was a way for Irish-Americans to stand up and basically say “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” Only, y’know, without the whole “queer” party.
Of course LGBTs aren’t always welcome at St. Patrick’s Day parades: In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled that the organizers of Boston’s parade could turn away an LGBT group based on the First Amendment. (That’s okay, it also means we can ban anyone we want from a pride parades, too!)
New York’s queer population has bitten back at the homophobic organizers of Manhattan’s exclusionary march by organizing “St. Pat’s for All,” a parade in Queens where gay marchers are welcomed.
5. The life and legacy of St. Patrick himself is kinda gay.
Ah, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, about whom so little is known but so much legend is legion. Only two of his letters remain in existence and one, Declaration, concerns charges made against him by fellow Christians during a trial. Historians don’t know what the charges were but Patrick made a point of returning gifts offered by wealthy women and paying for the sons of chiefs to accompany him on his sojourns. (Was he the Ancient World’s answer to George Alan Rekers?)
Plus, the two miracles most closely associated with St. Pat are pretty darn phallic when you think about it: Driving the snakes out of Ireland and turning his long, hard walking stick into a tree.
I’m just saying.