The Straight Pride Parade Is Happening, but with Some Changes

They will no longer march through the South End, and can't fly their flag at City Hall.

straight pride flag

Flag photo by BSPollard via Getty Images | Cargo shorts photo by NAKphotos via Getty Images | Photo illustration by Spencer Buell

It should surprise no one that the organizers of a planned “straight pride” parade in Boston have had their permit application approved. From the start, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said there’s basically nothing the city could do to stop it, even if it wanted to. No matter how dumb or offensive the conceit, if you want to hold a demonstration in Boston, you have the right to do so.

So the inevitable happened on Wednesday. In a press conference after a meeting at City Hall, organizers announced that they’ve been given the green light to hold it August 31. It’s set to kick off at noon at Copley Square, says John Hugo, a conservative “nationalist” politician who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year and is now president of a “straight pride” group called Super Happy Fun America. The group’s members, drawn from the region’s right-wing activist community, also held a “free speech” rally on Boston Common in 2017 after Charlottesville that drew tens of thousands of counter-protesters.

According to the application filed with the city, they told officials to expect as many as 2,000 people to march with them. That would be a big increase over previous events affiliated with the organizers. A “Rally for the Republic” on the Common last year drew about 100, but the “straight pride” demonstration has gotten more widespread media attention and so may attract bigger crowds.

There have been some changes in the weeks since word of the group’s parade first began to spread in the run up to LGBTQ Pride Month. The “straight pride” marchers had set out to follow the route followed by the annual Pride march through the historically LGBTQ South End, but those plans have been nixed. Instead, they will travel straight from Copley to Government Center, where they say they’ll have music and a speaking program on City Hall Plaza, featuring former Breitbart editor and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

Also, they will not be allowed to fly a “straight pride” flag using the flag poles outside City Hall, as they had intended to do. Mayor Marty Walsh’s office says that while it can’t deny permits to groups for parades even if they disagree with their message, it does get a final say over what goes up those flag poles. Walsh will also not attend the parade.

In the meantime, plans for counter-demonstrations have begun springing up.