The Straight Pride Parade is coming to Boston on Saturday, the brainchild of three straight men convinced that they are the victims of oppression. Apparently, the same kind of individuals who spent the last election complaining that everyone-gets-a-trophy millennials are too easily offended have had their feelings hurt. And now they want a parade.
The parade is offensive, it’s disorganized and, frankly, it’s confusing. Their grand marshal has made statements that appear to condone priests having sex with boys. Their website proudly displays the logos of all the companies who have publicly stated they will not endorse the event. And, at the eleventh hour, the organizers have turned the march into a cosplay contest.
Straight Pride. We’re here. We’ll leer. And our point is totally unclear.
With this parade you probably have a few questions, like “Who are these guys?” “Is anyone actually going to be there?” And, “Wait, did you say ‘cosplay contest?’” So here’s all the information you need to make sense of the nonsense.
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The event is organized by a group called Super Happy Fun America, because apparently “The petulant homophobes that every Boston-area woman swiped left on” was too on-the-nose. Bemoaning what they’re labeling as a backlash against the straight community — there isn’t one — that has left them an “oppressed majority” — they’re not — they’re hosting a march celebrating the fact that they are attracted to women, even if no woman could possibly be attracted to them.
(I should say that, as a straight guy, it feels a bit less like there is a backlash against being heterosexual than that there is a backlash against sexism, misogyny and rape culture. And instead of calling that backlash “oppressive,” I’d go with “overdue.”)
If the event’s three organizers have been feeling that people don’t like them lately, in their defense, that’s probably true — but it’s likely less because of the fact that they’re straight and more because of their alarming number of ties to alt-right organizations, neo-Nazis and/or white supremacist groups.
And speaking of ties to neo-Nazis and alt-right organizations, let’s not forget their grand marshal, Milo Yiannopoulos, who boasts a long list of disturbing credentials, including championing the alt-right and promoting both anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim campaigns and then resigning from uber-conservative Breitbart amidst the resurfacing of his aforementioned pro-pedophilia rhetoric. And when your views are so disturbing that even Breitbart thinks they might be a bit much, it could be time to reevaluate.
From there, the parade takes a turn from the offensive to the simply bizarre. Their website also proudly promotes a man who goes by G. Notes Justice as “the official hip hop artist of the Straight Pride movement.” According to the site, he “is changing planet Earth for the better by busting out tunes,” but after checking out his SoundCloud page, I can assure you that he is not. His not-quite-a-hit-single is called “Straight Pride (YEET!)” — no, seriously — and its “lyrics” consist primarily of him proclaiming “I love being hetero” followed by a voice softly whispering “sexual” over and over. It’s ironic that listening to the anthem for the straight pride parade might be enough to make women swear off men altogether.
And finally, yes, there is a cosplay contest. We’re not totally sure what happened here, but Super Happy Fun America recently announced that Saturday now also features a contest offering “a $100 giftcard prize for the best individual cosplay, and a double prize for the best straight-couple cosplay.” For those unfamiliar with the medium, cosplay is the act of participants dressing up as fictional characters, often from comic books or anime. It actually serves as a surprisingly fitting competition for participants in the parade since many male members of the cosplay community have a history of harassing women themselves. Plus, if I were participating in a parade like this, I would wear a mask, too.
So what’s a state like Massachusetts — the first to legalize gay marriage, the first to elect an openly gay Congressman, and home to the second highest percentage of LGBT citizens in the nation — to do about an event like this one? Well there is a counter-protest scheduled at City Hall from nine until noon and another along the parade route at Copley Plaza.
Still, if history’s any indication, there might not be much to worry about. In 2017, Boston was home to a rally in support of the neo-Nazi side in Charlottesville that only drew a few dozen participants, while the counter protestors numbered in the tens of thousands. And that same year in Seattle, a straight pride parade organizer officially answered the question what would happen if someone threw a parade and no one else showed up? Despite inviting over 2,000 people and tallying 169 confirmed attendees online, he was ultimately left to walk solo, carrying a bunch of balloons and a cardboard sign reading “straight pride” in what sounds like a scene from history’s saddest birthday party.
And, on June 13, Boston played host to a gay pride parade that energized the city, which was cheered on by thousands. A community once afraid to come out of the metaphorical closets now marched proudly down their hometown’s most prominent streets, and a community once ostracized was now so popular that even buttoned-up corporations like Bank of America and Delta sponsored the event.
On August 31, the turnout to support the alt-right’s limited vision of heterosexuality will be far, far lower.
Bigotry hasn’t been vanquished in our country, that is clear. But days like this aren’t all bad: They remind us that hate is losing, and love is winning. And that’s something of which we can all be proud.