With messages like “Trump, build the wall” and flags emblazoned with “Trump 2020,” the apparent celebration of straight people in Boston on August 31 seemed to be less about sexual orientation and more about championing the causes of the far right.
The male-dominated Straight Pride Parade on August 31 went ahead as planned and led to clashes between police and protestors who were fed up with far-right themes infiltrating the streets of a city that overwhelmingly rejected Donald Trump by a six-to-one margin in 2016.
The parade featured grand marshal Milo Yiannopoulos, the controversial out gay former Breitbart journalist, as well as organizers such as former (this is the sort of crowd where you can’t help repeating the word former in a single sentence) suburban Boston GOP congressional candidate John Hugo, who told Gay City News during a June phone interview that the parade would “be a fun way to get together with straight friends and gay allies.”
“Gay allies,” however — with the exception-proves-the-rule exception of Yiannopoulos — were not welcomed with open arms. Marchers flocked to City Hall, where Straight Pride speakers drew cheers from the crowd when they railed against the emergence of “LGBTQ curriculums in public schools,” according to The Guardian.
Police dressed in militarized gear closely guarded those who marched in the parade and aggressively reacted to protestors who pushed back against the event. Thirty-six people were arrested, according to the Boston Herald, and videos posted on social media showed cops physically pushing protestors and pepper-spraying several people.
Numerous reports indicated that the parade only yielded a couple hundred attendees and that counter-protestors far outnumbered those who were supporting the event.
The parade was widely blasted across the nation and triggered reactions from local and national elected officials. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Democrat, said in a tweet that the parade would not “overshadow the tremendous role Boston plays in the national movement for equality” and said the city would “continue to be a leader in the fight for civil rights.”
“Let’s continue to turn our backs on hatred, using our voices to continue spreading the message of love,” Walsh wrote.
Congressmemeber Ayanna Pressley, whose district is in Boston, called the event a “hate march” in a tweet on the day of the event, and Bronx/ Queens Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out the lack of women in attendance before ripping the entire notion of a “Straight Pride” parade.
“Seems more like a ‘I-Struggle-With-Masculinity’ parade to me,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. “Hope they grow enough over the next year to support/ join LGBTQ fam next #Pride!”
The plans for a Straight Pride Parade emerged at the height of Pride month in June. Organizers sought to generate interest in the event — judging by the poor turnout, that clearly didn’t work out so well — and launched a website called super
“We will fight for the right of straights everywhere to express pride in themselves without fear of judgement [sic] and hate,” Hugo added in his statement that is still on the website. “The day will come when straights will finally be included as equals among all of the other orientations.”
In the meantime, LGBTQ people will be fighting at the Supreme Court on October 8 for the day when we “will finally be included as equals among the other orientations.”
As for next year, it is not clear whether the organizers plan to hold another Straight Pride event. We’ll see if they take Ocasio-Cortez’s advice and join the LGBTQ community at Pride, but they might want to leave their Straight Pride flags at home.