Boston Straight Walk Galvanizes Citizens

By Atina Hartmann, Reporter

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“Finally, straight people will have their voices heard,” proclaimed associates of Super Happy Fun America (SHFA),  a right-wing organization which strives to empower the “oppressed straight majority.” President of SHFA John Hugo hopes that one day, straights will “finally be included as equals among all of the other orientations,” even going as far to hold a controversial event– a straight “Pride Parade.” The name itself evokes a lame circus, which featured many signs for normalcy, American flags, and inevitably, was flooded with Trump 2020 campaign gear.

“It’s a complete joke,” Tuli Timonen ‘23 said. “It’s just privileged people being mad because they are not oppressed.”

Of course, straight pride wasn’t exactly marching “straight forward” down Boston’s Boylston Street. The 200-attendee parade met frequent opposition, with at least 600 LGBTQA+ supporters protesting from the sidelines. 

While the parade comes across as a laughable internet meme, its roots go much deeper and uglier. John Hugo, who ran for a Massachusetts congressional seat in 2018, has multiple ties to anti-LGBTQA+ and extremist hate groups which helped fund the event. At his rallies, he has also presented transphobic views against the transgender community. Lead organizer of the parade Mark Shady is also associated with similar cults and was once photographed flashing the hand signal of the Three Percenters, a militia movement for gun rights advocacy. Not to mention that the parade’s grand marshal Milo Yiannopoulos isn’t far from these antics with his anti-Semitic views against the Pope. 

“It’s increasing homophobia and transphobia,” Timonen said. “Straight pride is bringing attention to all the hate.” 

It doesn’t stop there. SHFA’s online petition states they even want to add the “S” to the end of LGBTQA+ for “straight”. They also enforce that all are welcome to straight pride without discrimination “to foster respect and awareness with people from all walks of life,” seemingly using peace to manipulate the public.

“The LGBT community [have] gone through so much, just because of someone they like,” Emily Zavavala ‘23 said. “They have the right to [celebrate their rights]. Straight pride is just ridiculous.” 

If straight pride doesn’t raising enough ruckus, it’s the lack of action towards more prominent issues that don’t seem to be getting enough attention, especially when it detracts from major crises taking place worldwide.  

“You shouldn’t have to celebrate a privilege that you’ve never been oppressed for, it’s a waste of time,” Zavavala added. They should focus on more important things like climate change or trying to fix gun violence.”

The other issue is not just the willingness to create an uproar over something futile, but how straight pride has come across as quite the mockery towards those who have and are currently being discriminated against for their sexual identity.

But not everyone believes that straight pride is a controversial idea. Some see the free, individualized side of the event and think it’s simply a matter of exercising their opinions and values.

“I don’t think it should be anything anyone gets up and arms about it,” Mark Wiemann ‘22 said. “People have the right of speech…gay pride is great, if people want to be prideful about being straight they can be.” 

At least 36 arrests, followed by court cases, sparked after the parade between protestors and police, from fascist slurs to physical assault to some even pinned to the street for carrying murderous weapons. Boston Police rapidly responded to ensure the event was kept “safe and peaceful.”