The supporters of a ‘straight pride parade’ which took place this weekend in Boston were vastly outnumbered by counter protesters.
The parade, which acquired a permit in June after weeks of controversy, attracted around 200 marchers – the majority of whom declared themselves as Donald Trump supporters when asked by one of the march’s organisers.
Thousands more people lined the streets in protest of the parade yesterday (August 31), exchanging chants with those marching as they were guarded by hundreds of Boston police officers.
The group behind the parade, Super Happy Fun America (SHFA), reportedly believe the ‘straight majority’ are ‘oppressed’ and their voices should be heard – despite the fact their voices are the ones that have been persistently heard for, oh, only the past few centuries.
In fact, according to The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, just 5.4 per cent of the population of Massachusetts – for which Boston is the capital city – identify as LGBTQ+.
The SHFA event organiser, John Hugo, said his organisation was hoping to exercise its first amendment rights and was not anti-gay – despite allowing several people to take to the stage to complain about ‘children being gay’ and ‘LGBTQ+ curriculums in public schools’.
As reported by The Guardian, Hugo donned a Captain America t-shirt – presumably intended as a dig at actor Chris Evans, who described the organisers of the event as ‘homophobic’ in an epic tweet which made clear just how ridiculous he thought the concept of a ‘straight pride parade’ was.
Wow! Cool initiative, fellas!! Just a thought, instead of ‘Straight Pride’ parade, how about this: The ‘desperately trying to bury our own gay thoughts by being homophobic because no one taught us how to access our emotions as children’ parade? Whatta ya think? Too on the nose?? https://t.co/gaBWtq2PaL
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) June 5, 2019
Counter protesters called members of the right-wing organisation ‘Nazi scum’ as they marched through the streets of the city carrying ‘2020 Trump’ and ‘Build The Wall’ signs.
Students from Emerson College, which is known for its large LGBTQ+ student body and inclusivity, held signs out of their dorms which read: ‘Be gay’ and ‘No need for straight pride’. The school’s president, Lee Pelton, called the parade a ‘perversion’.
Boston’s mayor, Marty Walsh, also condemned the parade and encouraged residents to attend block parties and other events that celebrated the city, CNN reports.
A total of thirty-six people were arrested, according to Boston Police Officer James Moccia, a department spokesman. Four officers received non-life threatening injuries, he added.
According to SHFA’s website, the group say – without even a trace of irony – they want to ‘continue to educate the Mayor and the public in anticipation that one day straights will be able to celebrate their lifestyle like everyone else’. Disclaimer: as a straight person, I want no part in this narrative.
Have straight people ever had to worry about coming out as straight to their friends and family? Have straight people ever been persecuted for being straight? Have straight people ever been threatened with the possibility of getting stoned to death purely because of their sexual orientation?
No, of course they haven’t. Because being straight has never been classed as a disease, unlike homosexuality. A man and a woman have never been prevented from getting married simply because of their sexuality, unlike people in same-sex relationships. Straight people have never had to fight for their right to love whomever they want, unlike those from the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride festivals are often the one time of the year when members of the LGBTQ+ community feel safe celebrating their identity and history, but now it seems they now can’t even do that without a small group of people jumping on the bandwagon and trying to claim it as their own.
Speakers at the SHFA event said repeatedly they planned to make it an annual event, something I hope doesn’t come to pass when the time comes to apply for a permit.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).