Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley help raise bail for 'Straight Pride' counterprotesters

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized the celebration of heterosexuality as an “I-Struggle-With-Masculinity” parade.
Image: Police use pepper spray on anti-parade demonstrators during the Straight Pride parade in Boston on Aug. 31, 2019.
Police use pepper spray on anti-parade demonstrators during the Straight Pride parade in Boston on Aug. 31, 2019.Joseph Prezioso / AFP - Getty Images
By Tim Fitzsimons

The three dozen counterprotesters arrested at Saturday's Boston Straight Pride event — billed as an opportunity to "embrace the vibrancy" of heterosexuality — received high-profile help when Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., tweeted a fundraiser link to help raise their bail money.

“One way to support the local LGBTQ community impacted by Boston’s white supremacist parade?” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. “Contribute to the Bail Fund for the activists who put themselves on the line protecting the Boston community.”

Ocasio-Cortez noted that leftover funds would be donated to the Massachusetts Bail Fund and GLASS, a local LGBTQ youth center.

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Pressley, who represents the Boston area, tweeted her thanks "to the allies & accomplices who stood in the gap & laid their bodies on the line today."

On the day of the parade, Ocasio-Cortez criticized the protest on Twitter as an “I-Struggle-With-Masculinity” parade.

According to its description, the bail fundraiser was started by the Lucy Parsons Center bookstore in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, prior to the Straight Pride parade “in preparation for possible unplanned arrests." The effort ended up raising nearly $25,000 out of a goal of $15,000.

The 36 people arrested during the event, at which several arguments and minor fights were reported, were due to be arraigned at Boston Municipal Court on Tuesday. Four officers suffered minor injuries.

Boston police said they'll review officers' use of force during the demonstrations. A video posted on social media shows two officers using what appears to be pepper spray.

Counterdemonstrators, who outnumbered the parade crowd, accused the organizers of promoting an atmosphere of violence toward the LGBTQ community.

Other celebrations of heterosexuality this year include a “Straight Pride” event last month Modesto, California, where counterprotesters also outnumbered protesters. The Modesto event also came under fire for racism: The gay son of one of the event organizers spoke out against his mother’s “white supremacy,” and the other organizer apparently slipped up when speaking before the Modesto City Council by saying his was “a totally peaceful racist group.

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The Associated Press contributed.