Three men announce plans to hold a “Straight Pride Parade” in Boston

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

BOSTON (CBS News) – June is LGBTQ Pride month and cities all over the world are hosting rainbow festivities, festivals and parades to celebrate the community. However, a group led by three men is trying to champion a different community and says they are planning their own parade in Boston — to celebrate “Straight Pride.”

The organization Super Happy Fun America, which claims to advocate “on behalf of the straight community in order to foster respect and awareness with people from all walks of life,” is planning the event, according to its website. The parade appeared to be a reaction to the city’s rejection of the group’s application to raise its “straight pride flag” at Boston’s City Hall earlier this spring.

“We are disappointed that the Walsh administration has chosen hate and discrimination,” a blog post on the site from April 20 reads. “Therefore, we have decided to launch a campaign to educate the public, politicians, and civil servants about the straight community and the unique problems we face. We have determined that a parade would be the best way to promote our community and its diverse history, culture, and identity. We anticipate that the city will eventually choose to embrace tolerance and inclusivity.”

The group said proposed one-day event will consist of a parade and ceremony during which the “straight pride flag” will be raised over Boston’s City Hall. The flag raising will be followed by speeches and outreach to the community, according to its site. “We invite Mayor Martin J. Walsh to participate and express the city’s support for the straight community,” reads the event’s page.

The site claims the parade will be free and open to the public. “All are welcome,” reads the event’s description. “Antifa (short for Anti-Fun) is not welcome because they oppose happiness and fun.” 

The group said it is requesting the same parade route as June’s Boston Pride Parade, as well as the same “accommodations,” afforded the annual event, including street closings and the inclusion of vehicles and floats. 

The organization is led by three men and helmed by President John Hugo, according to its website. Hugo ran for U.S. Congress in 2018 as a Republican, but was defeated by Democratic incumbent Katherine Clark. 

Vice President Mark Sahady posted a link to the group’s website and the proposed parade route on his personal Facebook late last month, writing, “it looks like the Boston Straight Pride Parade will happen.” He claims the group filed a discrimination complaint and the city, “understands they would lose in litigation.” He says the tentative date is August 31.

Sahady is a member of the right-wing group Resist Marxism, according to Massachusetts outlet MassLive.

The date has not been set on the group’s site, as it says request is “pending approval from the City of Boston.” City officials said the group has been in contact with the city, but hasn’t received permits, according to CBS Boston.

The third leadership role is afforded to Chris Bartley — listed as the group’s “gay ambassador.” “He became involved in the straight pride movement after being ostracized from established advocacy groups for merely suggesting that straight people be afforded equal rights,” according to his biography.

The city’s Pride President Linda Demarco said in a Tuesday statement that straight allies of the LGBTQ community are among the thousands who come out every year to march and celebrate, reports CBS Boston. Mayor Walsh didn’t mention the “straight pride” parade in a statement Tuesday, but the Democrat said this week’s scheduled Pride events are about “Boston’s values of love and inclusion, which are unwavering.”

Super Happy Fun America and Mayor Walsh’s office have not yet responded to CBS News’ request for comment.

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