New York St Patrick's Day parade includes LGBT community for first time

Mayor Bill de Blasio boycotted the parade in 2014 and 2015, but attended this year

st patricks day, new york, lgbt

Steven Menendez, of Manhattan, waves the Gay Pride flag as he waits for the St. Patrick's Day parade to start on Fifth Ave. Image: Mary Altaffer / AP/Press Association Images

An historic St. Patrick's Day Parade has taken place in New York City today.

The event included Irish LGBT groups marching behind their own banners for the very first time.

In an historic move Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, and the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, marched in this year's parade.

De Blasio refused to march in 2014 and 2015 due to a ban on LGBT representatives, making him the first mayor to do so in 20 years.

Reuters reports around two million people were expected to watch the massive parade in New York today, with 200,000 marchers participating.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, attended to represent the Irish Government, and Senator George Mitchell acted as Grand Marshall.

Brian Sheehan, Executive Director of GLEN, says there has been an 'extraordinary change' since Ireland voted Yes to Marriage Equality last May:

"The idea of an Ireland that was portrayed sometimes in the New York parade as being something that was stuck in the '50s is long gone. And I think that's a really good thing for Ireland," he added.

"It will be the most inclusive parade in our history," said Parade Chairman John Lahey. "I would have liked to move faster, but I'm not sure the votes and support [for LGBT inclusion] were there in years past," he added.

He adds that it has brought the Irish community together "in a way I have not seen":