Allegations: 'Straight Pride' Organizers Linked to White Nationalism, Extremist Groups

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday June 10, 2019

It's all good fun until someone comes to light as being associated with white nationalists. News media investigations into the trio of "Straight Pride" parade organizers who made headlines when they announced — perhaps prematurely — that their event was poised to proceed this summer purport to have uncovered just such ties.

The three men in question were identified in a report from UK newspaper the Independent as being Chris Bartley, John Hugo, and Mark Sahady. All three, the Independent article claimed, are associated with or have ties to a right-wing group called Resist Marxism, which in turn has ties to white supremacist groups.

The Independent also reported that Sahady had spearheaded two right-wing rallies in Boston that took place after the infamous "unite the Right" rally that saw chaos and fighting in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, two years ago. The violent clashes unfolded as local police looked on, unwilling to intervene. The clashes had been prefaced by a nighttime march by members of the so-called "alt-right," who carried torches and changed Nazi slogans. The debacle reached a nadir when one adherent of "alt-right" ideologies rammed his car into a group of peacefully marching counter-protestors, killing one young woman and injuring dozens of other people

In Boston, each the rallies organized by Sahady drew only a handful of participants, while counter-protestors, energized by the tragedy in Charlottesville, turned out in force.

The Independent noted that Sahady took part in a demonstration last year in Portland, Oregon, joining violent fringe-right groups the Proud Boys — which is notorious for engaging in street fights — and Patriot Prayer. That demonstration, too, turned into a riot, the account said. Finally, this past January Sahady, together with others affiliated with Resist Marxism, staged a counter-protest in Boston, during a Women's March; more unrest resulted, the article said.

Bartley, too, is involved with Resist Marxism, the article said, while Hugo received support from Resist Marxism when he ran, unsuccessfully, for Congress in last year's midterm elections.

Another UK newspaper, The Guardian, reported on the founder of Resist Marxism, Kyle Chapman, reporting that Chapman is a convicted felon who wore armor and scrapped with anti-fascists in Berkeley in 2017. The Guardian article noted that Chapman was visible in a video of the melee armed with a club. The felon also carried a weapon to a Trump rally in 2017, and is due in court to face assault charges stemming from that occasion, the Guardian recounted.

Writer David Neiwert — author of the book "Alt America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump" — hinted that the so-call "Straight Pride" parade might be a veil for a plan to spark still more public carnage.

"What we know about these street-fighting gangs is that they latch on to whatever they can in order to go out and fight with the left," Neiwert told the publication.

As previously reported at EDGE, the "Straight Pride" event's organizers boasted about forcing the city of Boston to cooperate with their plans by threatening "litigation" over the issue. But Mayor Marty Walsh indicated that no permit for the event has as yet been granted by the city, tweeting that such permits "are granted based on operational feasibility, not based on values or endorsement of beliefs."

The "Straight Pride" leaders operate under the organizational moniker Super Fun Happy America, and claim that the event is intended as a jab at "identity politics." The group also claims that the LGBTQ community see the world in terms of "whether or not one is categorized as a victim or an oppressor."

Their idea for a special event to celebrate heterosexuality — the default assumption that dominates the social, legal, and religious aspects of most people's lives — has sparked a tidal swell of mockery from straights as well as sexual minorities. "Avengers" star and Massachusetts native Chris Evans derided the event on Twitter as "The 'desperately trying to bury our own gay thoughts by being homophobic because no one taught us how to access our emotions as children' parade," while New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a series of one-liners about the event.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.