Category: Boston

Real St. Patrick’s Day Parade Story; George Michael Slams EastEnders; Web Filters Gay Content

Real St. Patrick’s Day Parade Story

In a follow up to yesterday’s post, here’s an article about NY mayor, Bill de Blasio, boycotting New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Several beer companies have buckled to pressure from gay activists and they’ve pulled out as sponsors. But the problem is nothing is very clear about this, and even though the same issue happened in Boston, there were gay people marching in Boston, there was a “diversity float,” and openly gay people in Boston were welcomed just like everyone else. And yet the Mayor of Boston boycotted that parade because of gay rights?  

This piece states that de Blasio and the beer companies are boycotting because gay groups were excluded from the NY parade.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is boycotting today’s St. Patrick’s Day parade because of organizers’ refusal to allow gay groups to march openly in the parade. Heineken, Sam Adams, and Guinness have all pulled their sponsorship for the same reason.

I don’t know if there will be any “diversity floats” in the NY parade. But even though parade organizers in Boston would not allow gay activist groups in that parade, there were openly gay people in the parade with a “diversity float.” Not marching as gay activists, but as citizens who are part of the neighborhood and just happen to be openly gay. One article I read stated that Boston parade organizers went out of their way to welcome them.


Randy Foster and Steve Martin had done this before. They built a 12-foot-long wedding cake float for Provincetown’s Carnival on Aug. 20, 2009, the day they married. This was different. This float was for the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which had banned gay organizations for two decades, a precedent enshrined by the US Supreme Court. Related  As a political standoff raged in recent weeks between parade organizers and the statewide gay advocacy group MassEquality, planning for this float continued with little notice. Momentum had been building for a year. There is a lot about this controversy people don’t know.

I’m glad I’m not the only one questioning the controversy surrounding this parade. Frankly, I’d like to get the real story. What’s really happening here? Why would the parade organizers in Boston ban the gay activist groups and not ban the local gay neighbors with the “diversity float?” And why won’t the media give us all the details surrounding this issue? Each and every story I’ve read mentions the “diversity float” in the Boston parade, but not one leads with it. Each article leads with the implication that both the mayors of NY and Boston boycotted the parade because of gay issues, and clearly there were gays welcomed to participate in the Boston parade.  

You can read more here.

George Michael Slams EastEnders

George Michael claims “fame” nearly drove him BERserk. He’s also off drugs and not smoking pot anymore. And it’s not because those things are illegal and bad for you, or that most people with a moral compass know this. It was prison that shocked him into this realization…that just because he’s been privileged enough to live a life most people dream about he’s not exempt from everything. Sorry if I sound cynical here, but I get tired of hearing these things when I know there are people working in minimum wage jobs full time here in the US and they can’t even afford to pay for daycare. It gets tired and my sympathy threshold runs low for people like George Michael. I’m also not sure he should even have a voice or be quoted on anything serious.

He also mentions his thoughts on Kate Middleton…like anyone cares. I don’t watch EastEnders, but Michael had comments about that, too.

Michael said: ‘I hope for their sakes and the sake of gay kids in this country, regardless of their cultural background, that EastEnders gets a clue and begins to acknowledge their responsibility and provide us with gay characters that have no reason to live in fear. We do exist.’

You can read more here.

Web Filters Gay Content

I think I posted about this once before, but it was so long ago I’m not linking back. It’s been long standing knowledge that web filters block gay content and keep gay people from getting information they could be getting. Sometimes all it takes is one innocent word.

A lot of what is being blocked is completely innocent. E-mails that contain words such as ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’ or ‘sexuality’ are treated like spam.

Non-pornographic websites aimed at the LGBTI community are banned – including vital support services, lifestyle sites and news and magazine sites like this one. The blockers don’t seem to know the difference between titillating sex sites and sex education sites.

And even LGBTI charities like Stonewall have been blocked. The problem has hit us at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) too.

This is exactly like what happens to books with gay content…or erotic books in general. Web filters find one word that might suggest something gay or considered taboo and they block the content. I had one book out, “Skater Boy,” and it was banned from several web sites because of the word “boy,” which to web filters suggested it was about an underage character. And nothing could have been farther from the truth. All characters were grown and of legal age of consent. So I’m not sure what anyone can do about web filters in general, but authors really need to watch out for these things so they don’t get blamed for something they didn’t do. Of course, the wrong people also know all about web filters and they actually take advantage of the system by avoiding words they should be using with questionable content. I really does go both ways, and unfortunately innocent people often get blamed.

You can read more here.

Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade Kerfuffle

Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade Kerfuffle

This is not as simple as it sounds, by any means. So stick with me until the end. There’s an interesting twist to this parade deal you probably don’t know about. I didn’t know. I’ve been posting about the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston, where the organizers of the event allegedly didn’t want a gay activist group included, without getting some very important information. And then I posted that same group could be included as long as they didn’t show any signs of being gay activists…no gay rights messages, no politics, etc… They couldn’t negotiate a deal and the Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, of Irish descent, didn’t bother going to the parade. You would think from most articles this is all so anti-gay and hate…but wait, that’s not the case at all. I promise, it gets better.

The Mayor of Boston said this:

“So much of our Irish history has been shaped by the fight against oppression,” Walsh, the city’s first Irish-American mayor in 20 years, said in a statement.

“As mayor of the city of Boston, I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city. Unfortunately, this year, the parties were not able to come to an understanding that would have made that possible.”

But other prominent Democrats in Boston did go and support the event in spite of Mayor Walsh.


This is where it gets more complicated, and interesting because it’s not discussed in detail in most publications. In fact, I found a little spin in most publications…a spin in the sense they didn’t disclose all the information. There was a float put together by two very bright openly gay men who did have a few rainbow flags, and they marched in the Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade. But not with “gay” rainbow flags. Listen to this:

South Boston resident Randy Foster, along with his husband Steve Martin, organized a diversity-themed float that sported rainbow flags but no direct gay rights messages. Foster said the flags represented the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in Irish lore, though he acknowledged the gay-rights movement uses a rainbow flag.

“If there’s a dual message to it, we’re OK with it and so are the parade organizers,” said Foster, 48. “We made the point of not making it a gay float. If we’re going to have a message of inclusion, it shouldn’t be for one group.”

This sounds to me a lot like what I’m always discussing here in posts about how the gay community is so diverse, and so unlike what we see in the media. It’s actually what I’ve been predicting all along. Clearly, Foster and Martin didn’t want to be associated with the gay activist group for whatever reason and they showed this by being part of the parade, not being activist about anything, and putting their own spin on the Rainbow Flag. The parade organizers didn’t seem to have an issue with them being gay. Again, no large news organizations that reported this where I looked mentioned Foster or Martin in detail.

It gets even more complicated. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio, bless his dear soul, has opted to boycott his own parade in a show of protest. And I’m not even sure what’s been happening in New York at this point. But does this mean he’s boycotting Martin and Foster for being openly gay and marching with a “diversity float?” I don’t have a clue.

You can read more here. This one does mention Martin and Foster’s “diversity float” in the parade. But it’s a little confusing and I couldn’t figure it out at first, so I searched for more.

Here’s another piece in Boston Magazine about it.

And this piece in the Boston Globe gives the reasoning behind the “diversity float” that was in the parade with Foster and Martin. According to this article, the best one I found so far, the parade organizers actually welcomed these gay men personally. And this could be the reason why:

Foster and his friends and neighbors are not marching Sunday as part of a gay organization. They are marching as South Boston residents who have coalesced around building a park in a corner of the neighborhood known as the Lower End. Many of the people working on the float just happen to be gay. And they have been embraced by the Allied War Veterans Council, the parade’s longtime sponsor.

“They know us as their neighbors first and as gay second,” said Foster, an Air Force veteran who served in Desert Storm and who has lived with his husband in South Boston for seven years. Of outside gay groups coming in and hoping to march, he said: “How in the world do you ever get compromise if the first statement out of your mouth is, ‘I’m different than you?’ ”

So there it is. I didn’t get this information through a simple search. Unfortunately, I had to dig to find this particular article buried in between tons of others that portrayed the parade as anti-gay. And I can’t help wonder why. This is probably the best example I’ve seen in years about how diverse the gay community can be, and I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of this in the future.

If anyone from Boston has anything to add to this feel free to comment anonymously. I think this entire story is very telling in the sense that even gays who don’t agree with the loudest gay activists are silenced by the media. I’m not focused as much on the event itself as I am with the fact that I found it so hard to get the full story about the event.

Brokeback Mountain Shirts; St. Patrick’s Parade Boston; 21 Gay Music Icons

Brokeback Mountain Shirts

Two shirts worn by Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain recently sold for over fifteen thousand dollars. The name of the buyer hasn’t been disclosed. The shirts were worn during the point in the film where Ennis tells Jack he’s not going to sleep with him anymore.

It was eight years ago this weekend that Heath Ledger lost the best actor Oscar for Brokeback Mountain to Philip Seymour Hoffman of Capote.

Both men played gay characters that year and both actors died tragic deaths – Hoffman just earlier this month.

You can read more here.

From what I’ve read, a good deal of the m/m romance genre was spawned from fanfic of Brokeback Mountain.

21 (Questionable) Gay Music Icons

I think this falls into the category of questionable. But maybe I’m wrong and maybe there is more to it than I “get.” I like some/most of the icons listed, but none are entertainers I would stand in a long line to see…except maybe Frank Ocean.

t’s the end of Britain’s LGBT History Month which has been celebrating musicians and music this year

You can read the full list here.

(Seriously, No Shirley Bassey?)


Here’s more inclusive list I tend to find more accurate done at Fordham University. It also compares gay taste in the UK and US. It’s far more interesting than the link above.

Shirley Bassey
Reason for Icon Status: Although she plays, and fills, American halls regularly, Shirley Bassey is not a   major American gay icon. For British gay men, however, she is among the greatest.

Here’s that link.

St. Patrick’s Parade Boston

I posted about gays not being allowed to participate in a Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, here. And now it seems gays can march in the parade, but with conditions.

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.

Evidently, this is the proverbial olive branch.

I rarely wear anything with the word gay, or even T-shirts with rainbows or signs that state I’m openly gay. But I also like to know that I can if I want to…without anyone telling me what I can and can’t do regarding my sexual orientation.

You can read more here. There’s a link for Boston Globe subscribers, too.