A Straight Pride parade in downtown Boston on Saturday drew a few hundred marchers and thousands of protesters as it wound through the streets from Copley Square to City Hall Plaza. The parade was organized by the group Super Happy Fun America, and its organizers have been linked to far-right and white supremacist groups.
The Boston Globe reports that there were 36 arrests and four officers suffered non-life threatening injuries after counter-protesters, angry that the police and the mayor had allowed the hate march, organized by white supremacists, to take place. Police chose to use force to disperse the protest.
USA Today reports: ‘The conservative-aligned marchers – many wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and other gear promoting President Donald Trump – started from Copley Square with a “Trump bridge” serving as the primary float. They held American and Israeli flags while Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” blasted from speakers. A man dressed as a giant dinosaur set the pace up front.’
The parade’s grand marshal was gay white supremacist alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos, who wore a hat emblazoned with the phrase “Make America Straight Again”.
The Boston Herald reports: “[Organizer John] Hugo said the motivation behind the parade was to take a stand for free speech and demonstrate that the “oppressed majority” of straight Americans have just as much right to celebrate their sexuality as does the LGBTQ community. … Despite the organizers’ and marchers’ denials that the parade promoted bigotry or white supremacy, counterprotesters said that the event was inherently discriminatory and undermined the injustices that members of the LGBTQ community have experienced.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh tweeted: ‘This weekend I’m celebrating what makes our city so great – our people – by attending neighborhood block parties, visiting farmer’s markets and BBQs, and celebrating safe neighborhoods. I invite all residents of Boston to join me in doing the same. As I’ve said, a “Straight Pride” Parade won’t overshadow the tremendous role Boston plays in the national movement for equality. We will continue to be a leader in the fight for civil rights.’
Boston Pride tweeted a statement before the parade began: “It has become increasingly clear that the Straight Pride Parade is organized by a group of white supremacists and is an attempt to bait the Boston LGBTQ community, as well as racial and ethnic minority communities in Boston. It’s a trolling event, designed to get a rise out of vulnerable communities.
Boston Pride is not interested in responding to their bait. Our strength comes from directing our attention and energy to helping one another meet the challenges of intersecting oppressions. Boston Pride will continue to focus on supporting and empowering members of the LGBTQ community. We will continue to focus on the needs of people of color, trans individuals, and all those who have experienced racism, xenophobia, and sexism. We remain thankful for the estimated one million people, including our straight allies, who joined us at the 2019 Boston Pride parade and festival on June 8th and we’re looking forward to planning our 50th anniversary celebrations for June 2020.”
The Boston Globe reports: ‘A phalanx of police riding motorcycles rolled up Congress Street toward State Street, with their sirens and lights on, to disperse the crowd, but the mass of protesters moved into the road and blocked the officers’ path. As the sides faced off, protesters could be heard chanting, “Who do you serve?” Police moved into the crowd, and officers grappled with protesters, some of whom were knocked to the ground. At least eight people, including a woman limping, could be seen being led away by police. Officers used pepper spray against the crowd, several protesters said.’
38 photos of the Straight Pride parade and counter-protests here.
The parade features float with signs reading “Trump 2020” and “Build the Wall”.
Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez blasted the parade on Twitter: “For men who are allegedly so “proud” of being straight, they seem to show real incompetence at attracting women to their event. Seems more like a “I-Struggle-With-Masculinity” parade to me. Hope they grow enough over the next year to support / join LGBTQ fam next #Pride!”