In a statement, the city said the police department and city licensing board still need to sign off for the permit to be issued. Mayor Marty Walsh (D) will not attend the event, the city said.
Applications are granted on “operational feasibility, not based on values or endorsements of belief,” the city said. An approved application shows an expected crowd of 2,000 people beginning in Copley Square, flowing past Boston Common and ending at City Hall.
The organizers, Super Happy Fun America (slogan: “It’s great to be straight”), have ties to the far-right group Resist Marxism, prompting concern the march could descend into violent chaos. An organizer of the march, Mark Sahady, was present at one event in Portland last year that was declared a riot, the Guardian reported, and organized events in Boston for Resist Marxism.
The group pushed back against fusillades of criticism directed at the event, which some say would be mocking to LGBTQ communities and activists in one of the nation’s most gay-friendly cities.
“I agree it is unusual to have something like this, but a lot of things seem unpopular at first,” John Hugo, the president of the group, said at a news conference Wednesday. “We don’t hate anyone; we just want to have our own celebration just like everybody else has a right to. All people from all communities are welcome as long as they show mutual respect.”
Hugo, a Republican who failed in his bid for a U.S. House seat last fall, and the other organizers did not return a request for comment.
In a longer statement Wednesday, Super Happy Fun America condemned the responses to the parade from liberal politicians, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and 2020 presidential hopeful Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.).
The group has insisted the parade was launched as a serious endeavor aimed at correcting injustice. It has appointed far-right agitator Milo Yiannopoulos as the parade’s grand marshal. Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart editor, was permanently banned from Twitter in 2016 for inciting waves of racist abuse campaigns against actress/comedian Leslie Jones. He was also barred from Facebook last month for “dangerous” speech, the social media platform said.
The parade organizers said Walsh rejected the request to fly their straight pride flag from city poles, which the city confirmed. A city spokesman did not have an estimated cost to taxpayers for the event.
The group also called the parade “a festive occasion that will be used as a platform to educate the public on the unique problems facing our community and to fight against heterophobia.”
“Heterophobia” has not been a particularly common term. A Google analysis of user search for the word since 2004 shows the only big spike occurred in April 2013. That is when the short film “Love Is All You Need?” made the rounds online. The story takes places in an alternate reality where heterosexuals are an oppressed minority and follows a girl bullied for being straight, culminating with her suicide.
But far more young LGBTQ youth attempt and consider suicide than do their straight peers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.