Boston city officials have approved an application for a so-called ‘Straight Pride Parade’ to be held in August.
Organizers of the parade say the event is meant to celebrate heterosexuals, who they described as America’s ‘oppressed majority’.
The group – calling themselves Super Happy Fun America – held a press conference outside Boston’s City Hall following the decision on Thursday (26 June).
They say they plan to hold the parade on 31 August.
Controversial right-wing political commentator, Milo Yiannopoulos, is said to be officiating the event as Grand Marshal.
However, the group were denied their request to fly a ‘Straight Pride’ flag outside the City Hall building.
LGBTI rights groups have indicated that there will be a number of counter-demonstrations protesting the event.
‘The City of Boston cannot deny a permit based on an organization’s values’
At the press conference on Thursday, John Hugo, the president of Super Happy Fun America, said it was not the intention of the group to mock LGBTI Pride events or to appear anti-gay, according to The New York Times.
‘I agree it is unusual to have something like this, but a lot of things seem unpopular at first but then they become mainstream,’ Hugo said.
‘We don’t hate anyone, we just want to have our own celebration just like everybody else has a right to. All people from all communities are welcome as long as they show respect.’
The group still require permission from the Boston Police Department, though the police have indicated that the march would be allowed to go ahead.
Earlier this month, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said: ‘Permits to host a public event are granted based on operational feasibility, not based on values or endorsements of beliefs. The City of Boston cannot deny a permit based on an organization’s values.’
Walsh has previously stated that he will not attend the parade, CBS News reports.
The parade organizers request to fly a Straight Pride flag in front of Boston’s City Hall was denied, as city officials said they have sole discretion on what flags can be displayed outside the building.
Straight Pride campaigners had previously been ordered by Hollywood actor Brad Pitt to stop using his image, whey they had adopted as an unofficial mascot.
‘We anticipate… counter protesters will far outnumber those marching’
In response to questions from Gay Star News, Robb Johnson, Acting Executive Director of LGBTI rights group MassEquality, empathized with the city officials’ decision to allow a permit for the Straight Pride Parade.
‘MassEquality understands that the City of Boston can’t refuse a parade permit based on the message of organizers, but we applaud Mayor Walsh’s refusal of a related request to fly a “straight pride” flag in front of City Hall,’ Johnson told GSN.
‘While we’re certainly very concerned about the organizers’ reported affiliation with radical rightwing and white supremacist groups, we anticipate that the people of Boston will show their true colors on parade day, and that counter protesters will far outnumber those marching.’
Johnson added that he did not have any specific information on plans for counter protests.
The Straight Pride Parade route is expected to march past Boston Public Garden and Boston Common, ending in front of City Hall.