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letters | an annual controversy: St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Gays don’t need to wave flag to revel in Southie parade

The St. Patrick’s Day parade made its way down East Broadway last year.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff/File 2013

The St. Patrick’s Day parade made its way down East Broadway last year.

Eighteen months ago, Condoleezza Rice joined the Augusta National Golf Club, one of the first two women admitted. Should she have refused? Augusta is still a private organization choosing whomever it likes. Should she have deferred until the club reflected the diversity of America? Should she have worn a Malcolm X T-shirt on her first day of play to protest the club’s past decisions?

It’s the right of private organizations to select their participants. I know of gays who are marching with their straight neighbors, and I know of more than a dozen gay parties in Southie for the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. We clearly will not be boycotting, despite the wishes of many observers (“Walsh pushes for gay groups in parade,” Page A1, Feb. 27).

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At some point we have to stop being gay activists. I’ve fought my entire life to be accepted as normal, to fit in, and to belong. The Allied War Veterans Council has asked only that I not wave the gay flag as a political statement to distract from its day, just as they ask the same of antiwar and anti-abortion protesters.

For Saint Patrick’s Day I go by their rules, and for Gay Pride they follow ours.

The only people boycotting the parade this year are those paid, or charged, to be politically correct. Either that, or they can’t recognize progress when they see it. They probably would’ve turned down membership to Augusta National and a chance for change.

Randy Foster

South Boston

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