Straight Pride parade plans in Boston started by right-wing group

BOSTON — June is Pride Month, historically a time to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer history.

A group in Boston has sparked outrage, however, by announcing plans to host a “Straight Pride” Parade this summer, although it’s unclear whether the city will allow the event.

Mark Sahady, vice president of Super Happy Fun America, a group organized by three men who claim to advocate “on behalf of the straight community,” announced that the parade is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 31. Sahady included a proposed parade route that mirrors the path of the LGBT Pride Parade that takes place on Saturday.

“We will have the streets closed and be allowed floats and vehicles,” Sahady wrote in a Facebook post. “This is our chance to have a patriotic parade in Boston as we celebrate straight pride.”

Sahady claimed he filed a discrimination complaint with the city and that officials are now working with the group on the event. City officials confirmed the group has contacted them, but they haven’t received the permits required to host a parade.

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Boston, known for its liberal politics, is a historically LGBT-friendly city, and Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004.

Sahady, a member of the right-wing group “Resist Marxism,” has organized several controversial rallies in Boston, Boston magazine reported, including a “Rally for the Republic” in 2017 that drew fewer than 100 right-wing demonstrators and a pro-gun protest in response to the March for Our Lives in 2018.

Super Happy Fun America’s president is John Hugo, a Republican candidate for Massachusetts’ 5th congressional district in 2018. He lost soundly to U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., by a margin of 76 percent to 24 percent, for the suburban Boston seat. 

The group, on its website, says Brad Pitt is its mascot, calling him “a hero to straight men all around the world.” Hugo is quoted calling straight people an “oppressed majority,” adding that, “We will fight for the right of straights everywhere to express pride in themselves without fear of judgement and hate.”

Organizers say they are “committed to creating spaces for people of all identities to embrace the vibrancy of the straight community.”

Earlier this year, the group applied for permits to raise the “straight pride flag” outside Boston City Hall, but organizers say they were denied in April. 

Their announcement about a parade drew ridicule on social media after New York Times assistant managing editor Carolyn Ryan tweeted about the event.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Democrat, issued a statement in support of the city’s LGBT community and its coming Pride Month events when asked whether he supports the “Straight Pride” Parade being able to take place. 

“Every year, Boston hosts our annual Pride Week, where our city comes together to celebrate the diversity, strength and acceptance of our LGBTQ community,” Walsh said. “This is a special week that represents Boston’s values of love and inclusion, which are unwavering. I encourage everyone to join us in celebration this Saturday for the Pride Parade and in the fight for progress and equality for all.”

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Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg and Joey Garrison on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg and @joeygarrison

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