Lee Pelton, president of Emerson College in Boston, penned an impassioned letter condemning a Straight Pride Parade set to take place Saturday near the school's campus borders.
In his letter, he insisted that the parade is both a "desecration" and a "perversion," but doesn't exactly say why he feels that way.
What are the details?
Slamming the "angry and misguided people" planning and participating in the parade, Pelton addressed his pointed letter to the faculty, staff, and students at the school.
Super Happy Fun America, the parade's conservative organizers, plan to host the parade, which kicks off at noon on Saturday at nearby Copely Square. The parade's motto is "It's great to be straight," according to USA Today, and the event's Facebook page calls on supporters to "fight against heterophobia in our modern society." The organization also calls for the letter "s" to be added to LGBTQ to represent "straight."
Pelton's letter addressed the Emerson College community as a whole, insisting that the parade was simply "masquerading as freedom of speech."
"Do not be lulled into believing this parade is motivated by any noble obligation to protect freedom of speech or assembly," Pelton warned. "This is its mask only and behind that mask are a group of angry and misguided people whose aim is to turn a cherished American value 'e pluribus unum,' 'out of many, one' on its head."
Pelton's letter added, "The ideological motivation, as I wrote earlier, is ignorance, fear, and its hideous offspring, hate. Its trope is part and parcel of a larger national trope: Its rallying cry is 'protect our borders,' a proxy for 'preserve our national identity' and in this case, preserve 'straight' culture, whatever that might mean. A border is meant to keep invaders out, we have been told ad nauseam in recent months; it is conforming and confining and it is fear-based. And mostly, it is meant to objectify the 'other' as unworthy, as deformed, as disfigured, and, most horribly, as something other than human."
"The Straight Pride Parade is a perversion," Pelton's letter insisted. "It is a desecration of beauty, truth and generosity and that is why we must call it out, call it what is, with a loud, clear, unambiguous and unified voice. Nothing less will do."
What was the response to Pelton's letter?
Samson Racioppi, an organizer with Super Happy Fun America, told USA Today that Pelton should retract the letter and issue an apology for writing it.
"It is clear that freedom of speech and the robust exchange of ideas in society is not welcome at Emerson college, based off their extremely intolerant and heterophobic statement issued to their student body. Our movement is one of unity and love, not one of ignorance as alleged by the Emerson president."
Racioppi's statement added, "We welcome all races, genders, and sexual orientations to our parade and ceremony at City Hall, and wish for the Emerson community — and all of Boston — to stand with us in Solidarity on August 31st."
What else do we know about this organization and its parade?
According to USA Today, Super Happy Fun America's president is John Hugo, former Republican candidate for Massachusetts' 5th Congressional District. Mark Sahady — who is also a member of the group Resist Marxism — is the organization's vice president. The parade's grand marshal will be controversial political and cultural commentator Milo Yiannopoulos.
The organization's webpage boasts of its intent to advocate on behalf of the "straight community" so as to "build respect, inclusivity, equality, diversity, unity, solidarity, dignity, social mobility, empowerment, sustainability, justice, awareness, intersectionality, human rights, education, access, participation, dialogue, visibility, tolerance, and alliances with people from all walks of life."
"We encourage everyone to embrace our community's diverse history, culture, and identity regardless of sexual orientation," the organization professes.
Straight Pride (Official Audio) www.youtube.com