Boston approves application for straight pride parade

A city official said the application was a major step toward an official parade permit, which also requires the consent of the Boston Police Department. But the police said there appeared to be no major hurdle for the event.

Boston approves application for straight pride parade

A city official said the application was a major step toward an official parade permit, which also requires the consent of the Boston Police Department. But the police said there appeared to be no major hurdle for the event.

The parade organizers — a group called Super Happy Fun America, whose slogan is “it’s great to be straight” — celebrated Wednesday at a news conference, where they denied that their event was anti-gay or intended to mock LGBT Pride.

“I agree it is unusual to have something like this, but a lot of things seem unpopular at first but then they become mainstream,” John Hugo, the president of Super Happy Fun America, said at the news conference. “We don’t hate anyone. We just want to have our own celebration just like everybody else has a right to. All people from all communities are welcome as long as they show respect.”

The parade will begin at Copley Square, march past Boston Public Garden and Boston Common and then end in front of City Hall, according to the route approved Wednesday. It is scheduled for Aug. 31.

The prospect of a Straight Pride Parade on the streets of one of America’s most liberal cities was greeted with a mix of outrage and mockery by many when it was announced earlier this month. Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston has said he will not attend the parade. He rejected a request from its organizers to fly a straight pride flag from City Hall.

“Applications to host a public event are granted based on operational feasibility, not based on values or endorsements of beliefs,” the city said in a statement Wednesday. “The city of Boston cannot deny a permit based on an organization’s values."

A sense that the whole enterprise may be an effort to troll the left has hung over the parade. That was heightened earlier this month when Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay right-wing polemicist who has been barred from Twitter and Facebook and is known for mocking liberals, was named its grand marshal.

The parade organizers — who did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday — have at times seemed to revel in the opportunity to mock the language of liberal online outrage.

When the parade was condemned by all five co-hosts of “The View,” the organizers fired back with a statement calling their comments “an act of literal violence that has endangered the lives of heterosexuals everywhere.”

“Heterosexuals have languished in the shadows for decades, but we’re not taking it lying down,” the statement said. “Until an 'S' is added, LGBTQ pride will continue to be a system of oppression designed to systematically erase straight people from existence.”

Besides Hugo, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for the state’s 5th Congressional District seat last fall, the organizers include Mark Sahady, who has been involved with a group called Resist Marxism that was founded by Kyle Chapman, an alt-right figure who has engaged in violence at street protests.

Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart editor known for his uninhibited denunciations of things like feminism and political correctness, was permanently barred from Facebook last month as part of its crackdown on extremism.

He was permanently barred from Twitter in 2016 for his role in a campaign of racist harassment against actress Leslie Jones. In 2017, he resigned from Breitbart after a conservative group, the Reagan Battalion, posted video online that appeared to show him defending sexual relationships between adult men and boys as young as 13.

Earlier this month, Yiannopoulos asked the parade organizers in a video interview posted to YouTube if “socialist allies of the Straight Pride movement” would be allowed at the parade.

“We don’t allow anybody who espouses hateful views in our parade,” Hugo said. “We want everybody to feel welcome.”

Yiannopoulos responded: “Well, you’re wandering into dangerous territory here — that may be an inversion of the leftist stuff. Which is perhaps, of course, the humorous point of a lot of this.”

“I get the joke of this, but I also get the seriousness of it,” he continued. “I agree with the ideological motivation behind all of this, obviously.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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