Boston approved an application for a Straight Pride Parade on Wednesday, according to the Boston Globe. Super Happy Fun America, the group sponsoring the parade, said the event will be held on Aug. 31.
Milo Yiannopoulos, the openly gay former Breitbart news editor who has been banned from Facebook and Twitter for hate speech, is expected to be the grand marshal of the parade.
The City of Boston has declined to allow the group to hang a straight pride flag from City Hall, according to Super Happy Fun America’s website.
“Unfortunately, the Walsh administration is not yet committed to creating a supportive environment for straights and equality for all,” the website says. “However, we congratulate the City for having the courage to embrace progress by approving our parade application. We will continue to educate the Mayor and the public in anticipation that one day straights will be able to celebrate their lifestyle like everyone else.”
Mayor Martin J. Walsh, BC ’09, said he will not be attending the parade, according to the Boston Globe.
The parade route will begin at Copley Square at noon and will end at City Hall, the organizer’s website says. The event page, which includes “finally straight people will have their voices heard” in capitalized red text, has an option for participants to register, although they say that it is not required.
“I agree it’s unusual to have something like this, but a lot of things seem unpopular at first and then they become mainstream, you know that,” said John Hugo, the president of Super Happy Fun America, at a press conference in front of City Hall on Wednesday. “So, we don’t hate anyone and we just want to have our own celebration just like everybody else has a right to and all people from all communities are welcome so long as they show mutual respect.”
People have argued about the event on Twitter, and others have expressed disbelief at Super Happy Fun America’s statements, which suggest that the organization is not anti-gay. Hugh McMahon, director of the GLBTQ+ Leadership Council at Boston College and MCAS ’20, was disappointed when he first heard about the parade.
“Any reasonable person can see that ‘straight pride’ has nothing to do with empowering people, but is only about parodying and insulting LGBTQ+ people,” said McMahon, in an email to The Heights. “They chose Milo Yiannopoulos to be the grand marshal for the parade, a professional internet troll with one of the ugliest records you can imagine. This isn’t for straight people. It’s against queer people.”
The LGBTQ community in Boston is resilient, McMahon said, and will have to be proud even in the face of bigotry. McMahon does not plan on attending the parade to protest, citing a difference between rallying against a bill that could affect queer people and this parade, which he said is designed to agitate queer people.
“This event is about upsetting people for attention,” he wrote to The Heights. “So I think starving this event of attention might be the most effective protest. I plan on hanging out with my friends, having a glass of wine, and having a good day. Of course, if someone else believes showing up and protesting is the best course, that is absolutely valid.”
Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor