Pelton calls Straight Pride Parade ‘a perversion’
Emerson president calls out plans for Boston march
THERE IS QUITE a stir over the Straight Pride Parade, set to grace downtown Boston this weekend. Organized by a group called Super Happy Fun America, the parade will feature controversial alt-righter and former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos as chief marshal.
On the year of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a milestone moment in LGBTQ rights history, many view the parade as the ultimate trolling.
The group will march from Copley Square up Boylston Street past Emerson College — a liberal bastion for LGBTQ students. Lee Pelton, the president of Emerson, isn’t pleased.
“Fear and ignorance, humanity’s most potent cocktail, masquerading as freedom of speech, have been given permission (i.e. given a license) to hold a Straight Pride Parade on August 31st, which, barring the Boston Police determination that doing so would be unsafe, will march by our campus – an affront to the wonderfully pied beauty of our affirming and diverse commonwealth of learning,” Pelton said in a community email.
Emerson is particularly piqued because the parade is happening on move-in day for returning students, leading the college to prohibit guests from entering any college buildings, and locking exterior doors on the day parents will probably want to take a jaunt around campus.
A spokesman for the Straight Pride Parade said that Pelton’s comments, which at one point compared the group to white pride, showed ignorance about “the nature of our movement.” Organizers have claimed for months they’re not mocking the LGBTQ Pride Parade, and that the connections to the alt-right pro-Trump movement are non-existent.
“I might technically be a sequined and perfectly coiffed friend of Dorothy’s, but I’ve spent my entire career advocating for the rights of America’s most brutally repressed identity — straight people — so I know a thing or two about discrimination,” Yiannopoulos said in a statement released by the group in June.
Despite the lighthearted comments, Yiannopoulos has been banned from Facebook and banned from entering Australia over dangerous rhetoric. Last year, he encouraged followers to start “gunning journalists down,” two days before a Maryland paper, Capital Gazette, was targeted in a shooting that killed five people.The parade can’t be stopped legally — Mayor Marty Walsh previously said the city cannot deny a permit based on an organization’s values — but hundreds of would-be counter-protesters have RSVPed on Facebook that they’ll show up on Saturday. Some hope to disrupt the parade, while others, including Monica Cannon-Grant, the founder of Violence in Boston, intend to hold stationary demonstrations.
“The world is watching and how we deal with racism and how we deal with hatred and how we deal with discrimination is going to be recorded,” Cannon-Grant said. “And I think we have an obligation to stand up and fight, so that’s what I plan to do.”