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Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade Invites Gay Group To March, But They Can't Say 'Gay'

​Following the news that Boston Mayor Martin Walsh would be boycotting the 2014 St. Patrick's Day Parade based on its exclusions of gays, a gay advocacy group, MassEquality, has been invited to march in the event. 

With one condition: they can't use the word "gay."

The Boston Globe reports:

Organizers of South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade are inviting a statewide gay advocacy group to march, a significant first that could silence a controversy that has festered for two decades and cast a cloud over one of the city’s signature events.

But the invitation, brokered by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, includes an important caveat: The group, MassEquality, could not wear T-shirts or hold signs that include the word gay or refer to sexual orientation.

“They can march under the MassEquality banner,” Tim Duross, one of the parade coordinators, said Friday. “We’d be happy to have them here. And we’d be proud to have them here. Everybody knows who MassEquality is.

“We said, ‘You’re a great organization, you do wonderful things for people, and therefore we’d be happy to have you in our parade. But we’d rather you just wish everybody a happy St. Patrick’s Day and left it with that.’ ”


Mayor Walsh is taking this as a win according to The Globe:

In an interview Friday night, Walsh hailed the MassEquality invitation as a major breakthrough in a city that has become increasingly diverse in recent decades. He minimized the significance of the rule barring references to sexual orientation and said he would meet next week with parade organizers and MassEquality to work out details about signs and T-shirts.

“This is probably the biggest step in 20 years,” Walsh said. “I’m really encouraged. We’re going to talk about how we can make this happen, how we can make this a reality.”

The organizers’ prohibition against T-shirts or signs with the word gay reflects rules in the parade’s written code of conduct, which forbids “the advertisement or display of one’s sexual orientation.” Organizers argue that references to sexual orientation alter the tone of the parade, which celebrates the military and Irish culture. Gay groups have pushed to march and openly celebrate their military service and Celtic pride.

MassEquality's Executive Director Kara S. Coredini appears to concur with the Mayor, saying: 

“At this point, my mind is open, and I’m hopeful we can get to a place where we can end the exclusion,” Coredini said. “This is huge.”

What do you think, Instincters? While this is arguably a step forward, do you have a problem with the parade's organizers banning the G-word?? Does that send a particular message? 

Or should we just celebrate this step towards inclusion?




20 years ago I was part of a GLBT group (called GLIB) that sued to march at the St. Patricks Day parade. I didn't attend the first march but I did the second year. The level of hatred was incredible. Some people applauded us but a LOT more didn't. Rocks and stink bombs were thrown at us and the gay slurs were coming fast and furious. My favorite was, "Go back where you came from!" (????) The next year we were banned because it was declared that the St. Patrick's Day parade was a PRIVATE event. (It isn't but whatever).  It's sad that we're still fighting this 20 years later.

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