Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Had a Stealth Gay Float with Rainbow Cannons

(instagram elizabeth kateri)

The Boston Globe reports on a group from the Lower End:

The group wore scally caps and rainbow-colored bead necklaces. Some wore ties; others had donned jeans and sweaters. As they marched up Broadway, cheers continued. A building boom in the neighborhood has forged strong bonds between long-time South Boston residents and newcomers, some of whom are gay. In their seven years in the neighborhood, Foster and his husband, Steve Martin, the two men spearheading the neighborhood float, had become active in the St. Vincent’s Lower End Neighborhood Association.

Thought MassEquality was denied permission to march in the parade, this group went stealth:

The float with the rainbow cannon fire was pulled by a pickup truck with a banner that read, “Celebrate the diversity of Boston.” But there was nothing to indicate that the group consisted largely of gay marchers.

In its parade application, the contingent described its entry as a “diversity float” that would welcome people of all races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. They had approval from parade organizers to wear scarves with a variety of colors and symbols, including an equal sign for gay rights.

But none of the marchers wore scarves.

“You’ve got 25 gay guys marching,” Foster said. “Any of them could have chosen to wear a scarf to make a statement. None of them did.”

Standing at the edge of the parade on Broadway, Britta Hiester waved a rainbow flag and cheered loudly as the float passed. Hiester lives and a block away and wanted to show support for the float and the message of diversity.

“I know that many of my neighbors are being forced to speak in a coded way about their identity,” Hiester said, flapping the rainbow flag in the crisp air. “I brought this because I could.”

More here.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declined to march in the parade because of the official exclusion of gay groups. It also lost the sponsorship of Sam Adams beer.