Milo Yiannopoulos intends to serve as the grand marshal of a controversial “Straight Pride” parade being planned in Boston, he confirmed Saturday.
Mr. Yiannopoulos, a conservative commentator and provocateur who is openly gay, told The Washington Times that he plans to participate in festivities being organized by Super Happy Fun America, a group that claims to advocate “on behalf of the straight community in order to foster respect and awareness with people from all walks of life.”
“I’ve struggled all my life with the sorry burden of homosexuality,” Mr. Yiannopoulos said in an email. “I am proud to be a supporter and ally of the Straight Pride parade — because yes, being straight is great.”
Organizers announced plans earlier this week to hold the event August 31, and a Friday press release named Mr. Yiannopoulos, 34, as its grand marshal, causing an uproar on the eve of Boston’s annual LGBT pride parade Saturday.
“The Straight Pride Event will be held to achieve inclusivity and spread awareness of issues impacting straights in Greater Boston and beyond,” according to its organizers, who said the parade will be followed by the ceremonial raising of a blue and pink “straight pride” flag.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Democrat, responded to concerns about the proposal on social media Thursday as complaints swelled.
“First, Boston’s values are clear: respect, diversity and acceptance of all. As Mayor, I’m proud to host our annual Pride Week, where our city comes together to celebrate the diversity, strength and acceptance of our LGBTQ community,” Mr. Walsh said on Twitter.
“Second, permits to host a public event are granted based on operational feasibility, not based on values or endorsements of beliefs. The City of Boston cannot deny a permit based on an organization’s values,” he tweeted.
A former editor for Breitbart News, Mr. Yiannopoulos gained notoriety in recent years as a result of expressing controversial opinions about marginalized groups including women immigrants, and Muslims.
He was permanently banned from Twitter in 2016 for inciting abuse, and his Facebook and Instagram accounts were among a handful purged last month during a crackdown aimed at “dangerous” users, placing him in the same category as Infowars publisher Alex Jones and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
In-between, he made waves when several of his scheduled speaking engagements at U.S. college campuses were canceled, including a 2017 event at the University of California, Berkeley, that sparked violent protests responsible for a reported $100,000 worth of damages.
More recently, he was banned in March from visiting Australia over comments he made about mass-shootings in neighboring New Zealand.