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Renée Graham

A ‘parade’ of straight white male fragility

The rainbow flag flies over Boston during the Pride Week Flag Raising Ceremony at City Hall. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

A PROPOSED “STRAIGHT PRIDE” parade in Boston isn’t a parade at all. It’s a temper tantrum.

Clearly, it’s not a coincidence that this “straight pride” nonsense went public just as the city was gearing up for its 49th annual LGBTQ Pride event this weekend. The men behind this farce derive pleasure from stealing someone else’s joy, mocking progress they can’t relate to or keep pace with.

It might seem like a dumb joke. But it’s more insidious than funny.

According to The Daily Beast, the event, which still doesn’t have city approval, is being promoted by members of far-right groups. Mark Sahady, the “straight pride” instigator, belongs to Resist Marxism, which has a history of racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric. At one of its events, security was provided by Patriot Front, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as “a white-nationalist hate group.”

These are the kind of always aggrieved people who get knotted up during all 28 days of Black History Month wondering why there’s no “White History Month.” After 34 black women graduated from West Point this year, the most for a single class, these are the sad sacks who poured out their free-range rage on Reddit, claiming that “Diversity just means ‘less white people.’”


It’s the white male colleagues who, before I would attend the annual National Association of Black Journalists convention, would sidle up to my desk and ask, “Why isn’t there a National Association of White Journalists?”

My answer was always the same: “There is. It’s called every mainstream newsroom in America.”

What must it be like to live in a state of resentment so deep you must bitterly push back against everything that doesn’t center around you? Every progressive action must be answered with a regressive reaction, to preserve the systemic oppression of some and the unearned privilege of others.

After hearing about the parade, a friend asked, “Is this real? Or sad trolling?” I told him it’s probably both.

This is LGBTQ Pride Month, which commemorates the June 1969 Stonewall Rebellion in New York. When patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar, fought back after years of police harassment and brutality, the modern LGBTQ movement was born. That bar, which still stands, is now a National Historic Landmark.


On Thursday, James P. O’Neill, New York’s police commissioner, apologized for the actions of officers on that night 50 years ago.

“I think it would be irresponsible to go through World Pride month and not to speak of the events at the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969,” he said. “I do know what happened should not have happened. The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong — plain and simple. The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize.”

This is police accountability — a half-century later.

Yes, progress is painfully slow, but it’s inevitable. That’s what fuels those who might attend this “straight pride” pity party.

If it happens at all, we already know how it will go. With bluster and bullhorns, they’ll show up with fewer participants than your average book club. They’ll be greatly outnumbered, although it would be better to just ignore them.

Still, don’t downplay their hostility. That’s real, and it targets anyone, other than straight white men, who demands their rightful place in this country.

These men proclaim themselves patriots, but they’re the opposite because they impede this nation from living up to its still-unfulfilled values. They would rather watch a fruit rot on the vine than have it quench the thirst of someone different than themselves.

Raised to believe America exists only for their own glorification, they can’t adjust as the ground keeps shifting beneath their feet. After so much oppression, with all the ongoing fights for rights still unwon, they must ask how we — the LGBTQ community — dare march in the sun, proclaim our history, our lives, and our pride.


Well, the love that once dared not speak its name will never be silent again.

Promoting its “straight pride parade,” the group’s website says, “If you would like to come as an individual, march as a group, bring a float or vehicle, then get in touch. This is our chance to have a patriotic parade in Boston as we celebrate straight pride.”

In such a parade, the only thing on display would be straight white male fragility.

Renée Graham can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @reneeygraham.