Statement On Decision By St. Patrick’s Day Parade Organizers’ To Reject MassEquality’s Application To Participate In Parade
BOSTON, March 13, 2013—Organizers of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade that takes place in South Boston rejected an application by MassEquality to participate in Sunday’s parade. In doing so, organizers noted that the parade was full.
MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini issued the following statement in response:
“Organizers of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade have barred LGBTQ people and groups from marching in the Parade for 18 years simply because they are openly LGBTQ. After years of rejecting MassEquality, in particular, because it is an LGBTQ organization, it seems disingenuous to now ban the organization because the Parade is allegedly ‘full’.
“To be sure, the LGBTQ community in Massachusetts faces many issues more urgent than the ability to participate in a parade – youth homelessness, bullying, anti-transgender discrimination, HIV/AIDS, elder abuse, and more. But public rejection by an established cultural institution like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is significant in that it’s emblematic of the more life-altering rejection our community members face every day.
“Rejection by their families is why 25 percent of lesbian or gay teens experience homelessness as compared with just three percent of heterosexual teens, and it’s why up to 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ. Rejection by their peers is why LGBTQ students are four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. Rejection is also why the mere fact of being an openly LGBTQ person in Massachusetts results in higher stress and poorer health.
“When Massachusetts is in so many ways a beacon of inclusion for the LGBTQ community, it is disappointing to see parade organizers continue to cultivate a climate of rejection and exclusion.”