I Went to Straight Pride, But Didn't Get a Date

by Robert Nesti

EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor

Wednesday September 4, 2019

No doubt Super Happy Fun America is claiming success with their Straight Pride Parade on Saturday afternoon on a pristine Summer's day in Boston. (Though there hasn't been a statement from the group on social media, they couldn't complain about ther weather.)

Their event was theatrical to say the least, even by design. The barriers set up along the parade route, which went from Copley Square to City Hall Plaza,kept both sides — the marchers and those who watched — apart, which made the experience to those on the outside akin to viewing some crazy performance art. While there were a number of confrontations and some arrests, there was little intermingling between the two groups. And it was impossible for anyone from the crowd to join the parade enroute. Those who tried, were expelled by police who were everywhere.

The high security was to be expected. Virtually every cop in the city appeared to be on duty, outnumbering the marchers some five-to-one. They were there to prevent any confrontations between those choosing to march and those who had come to confront them, who also greatly unnumbered the parade participants. While the Super Happy Fun America are likely to be putting on a happy face about the event, no doubt the small numbers they drew is the elephant in the room they likely won't address. Maybe next year they could get someone with a higher profile for Grand Marshall than alt-right aging pretty boy Milo Yiannopoulos? Maybe that paragon of heterosexuality, Senator Lindsey Graham, would be available? Or they could go old school with Anita Bryant?

Those who did march were largely white, middle-aged and male, though there were a healthy proportion of Millennials. They were cheerful and largely non-confrontational, most ignored the largely hostile and vocal crowd they encountered along the route. By early evening Channel 7 reported that there were 36 arrests and 4 officers injured, so there were confrontations; but walking the route I only witnessed some verbal exchanges between marchers and watchers when the barricades narrowed and there could be vocal interchanges between them.

I engaged in one with a Millennial with a scooter, a Trump poster and a red hat who had a look that would be right at home on a profile on Grindr or Scruff. As he came close, I asked him why he was marching: "It's fun. Chill," he told me. (Maybe his hook-up name is Chill, I thought.) I asked if he were straight or gay; he was a bit taken aback; then before he replied, I jokingly asked him out on a date. He answered that he didn't date guys who wore fancy shirts. I thanked him, wondering what was expensive about Lucky Brand. He then added: "I don't date guys over 40." "You do date guys, then?" I replied. He winced. I then suggested that if so, what he needed was a good top. (Admittedly, I expressed in a more graphic way.) He suddenly became very Unchill, telling me that I was one of those disgusting gays with their disgusting sex. "Hey," I replied. "We like sex." He scooted away to spread Trump joy and brolove elsewhere. I didn't get a date.

There was some blather early on from the parade organizers that there was press amongst the crowd and they may be expelled by the Boston Police and that they were not responsible for it; but the press I encountered were largely on the perimeters. The only major outlet I saw inside the parade was the Boston Herald, a Trump-friendly publication. Outside City Hall Plaza, it seemed to be a gaggle of media people standing outside the fenced-off public space.

This was the most curious part of the event - the rally that took place to a handful of people in the largely empty amphitheater space next to City Hall, while the noisy crowds stood on Congress Street hundred of feet away. It was impossible to hear what was being said anyway because of the poor amplification and the din of the young, vocal crowd. There was someone dressed in a dinosaur suit prancing around the stage, but where was Milo? He was seen briefly, arriving in Copley Square early on before being hustled into the parade, but he didn't seem very prominent on the parade route. (No Adam and Steve float for Milo?) He later appeared on the stage behaving in a silly manner like the hired clown he is, jumping around like a cartoon stick figure from afar. He did look clownish: I don't know if it was couture, but he wore a black and white suit that made him looked like a chorus boy in some very gay production of "My Fair Lady," and it fit him rather snugly.

That the main float of the event featured the words TRUMP high across its top only underscored how this was a thinly-veiled Trump rally. Some marchers interviewed on local news thought it precisely that and had no idea it what the march was for. Those who did whom I did encounter said that there participation had nothing to do with liking or not liking gay people, but was an issue of free speech and the intolerance of the left. One man seen on a Channel 7 news report - a thirtysomething who looked right at home at some investment firm - complained how he was oppressed because he couldn't wear his MAGA hat in public without being ridiculed. And while the parade promoters (and numerous people I encountered on route) claimed they didn't have a homophobic bone in their bodies; on Channel 7 news there was one woman who spoke in old, hateful memes of the Christian Right.

Was the Parade Super as promised? Yes, in that it was a super waste of city resources for a bunch of clowns to put on lousy show. Was it Happy? In a mean, "in your face" way. Was it Fun? Is a Trump rally fun? But have to say that as I was leaving, I heard someone shout my favorite chant of the event: "Fuck Trump. Suck Dick. Eat Ass."

Robert Nesti can be reached at [email protected].