'Straight pride' parade organizer has held and attended far-right events

Jason Wilson
Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

Far-right figures associated with a “straight pride” parade in Boston have celebrated the story going “viral” in news media, but with no fixed date and no city permit granted the likely size of the event and chances of it going ahead remain unclear.

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Mark Sahady is the principal organizer, under the moniker Super Happy Fun America. He has previously organized and attended events, some of which have turned violent, as the leader of the Boston chapter of a group called Resist Marxism. The Daily Beast described the new organization as a “front for [the] far-right group”.

Events organized by Sahady in Boston have often been small, with attendees vastly outnumbered by opposing groups. In the immediate aftermath of the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, during which a counter-protester was killed, a Free Speech Rally in Boston saw attendees outnumbered by tens of thousands of opponents. A Rally for the Republic was similarly small-scale, as was a counter-protest to a pro-gun control March for Our Lives event.

In 2018, Think Progress reported that Resist Marxism had links with white nationalist groups, and that members had expressed antisemitic sentiments in leaked chats.

Among the events Sahady has traveled to nationwide in recent years was a June 2018 event in Portland, Oregon, that was organized by Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson and which degenerated into extreme violence, declared a riot by Portland police.

Resist Marxism was founded by Kyle Chapman, better known as “Based Stickman” since footage of him brawling with antifascists in Berkeley – complete with armor and a club – made him a cause célèbre on the far right in 2017. A convicted felon, Chapman is awaiting trial on charges of carrying a leaded stick into a pro-Trump rally in March. He also faces felony assault charges in Texas.

Chapman has been celebrating media attention to the straight pride parade on his account on Telegram, an instant messaging platform which has become popular among rightwing figures such as Gavin McInnes, Milo Yiannopoulos and the Proud Boys who have been banned from more mainstream social media.

Linking to a New York Times story, Chapman wrote to his 600 followers: “The New York Times has picked up this story as well. Thanks for the free advertising NYT!”

Later, linking to a T-shirt for sale on a Proud Boys-linked online store featuring the slogan “It’s great to be straight”, Chapman wrote: “Do I hear triggered leftists? Order now and watch them melt down! #StraightPrideParade.”

Chapman has also inflated several white nationalist talking points, claiming “white genocide is in full swing in South Africa” and decrying Florida laws against antisemitic discrimination, writing: “Antisemitism laws are cropping up all over the country. Most of you cucks are afraid of saying anything for fear of being called antisemitic.”

Boston’s mayor, Marty Walsh, said no permit had yet been issued for the Straight Pride Parade but wrote on Twitter: “Permits to host a public event are granted based on operational feasibility, not based on values or endorsements of beliefs.”

Walsh added: “The city of Boston cannot deny a permit based on an organization’s values.”

Parade organizers announced that Yiannopoulos would act as the “mascot and Grand Marshall”. Yiannopoulos – exiled from US conservative circles after comments about pedophilia, widely banned from social media and revealed last year by the Guardian to be in deep debt – has begun promoting the event on his own Telegram channel.

Yiannopoulos, who is gay, wrote: “Can’t wait to see you Boston, it’s great to be straight.”

Organizers of the straight pride parade did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

David Neiwert, author of Alt America and a longtime observer of the US far right, believes the march is primarily opportunistic. For the Daily Kos, he described Sahady as a “street brawler” with “a history … of organizing violent events”.

Neiwert told the Guardian: “What we know about these street-fighting gangs is that they latch on to whatever they can in order to go out and fight with the left.”

He added: “In this case it’s so utterly juvenile that it’s like a sixth-grade taunt.”