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When Steven McDonald rolled down Fifth Avenue yesterday morning, the Irish lesbians and gays, standing in a sidewalk holding pen created by bigotry, sent up a small cheer. Of course: Last year, from his wheelchair, McDonald had stood for them and all the people excluded from the St. Patrick's parade.
In a fenced-off corral in front of Temple Emanu El, the suffocating bigotry and small-mindedness of the St. Patrick's parade finally reached its bottom yesterday. For venom, nothing could match the taunting of McDonald by people who kidnaped the cause of the Irish gays and lesbians and declared the whole Irish-American world as their enemies.
The tactic was not welcomed by many in the Irish group, which wanted to protest discrimination but did not intend to scream at every person on Fifth Avenue. The Irish requested ACT UP and Queer Nation not to stage any civil disobedience. Then, they stood as prisoners in a pen and cheered the friendly faces of those who were free to march. Not only was an act of high grace, but also self-interest: they still want to march in the parade next year, and the jeering from their pen did their cause no good.