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Out of the Closet: Boston’s Famous Irish Parade Denies the LGBTQ Community

(above) Previous MassEquality order on display at the Boston Gay Pride Parade.

Ethical Merch in the Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade?!

We were happy to receive the call from MassEquality for a rush reorder of T-shirts last week.

The catch? They needed to arrive in time for the 2013 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston (just days away, then)!

We got the order together in the nick of time and were esctatic to hear that our ethically-sourced, USA union made and printed tees were going to make their debut appearance at one of the most watched parades in the country!  That was until we heard the news…

Parade Politics

The news of MassEquality’s continued exclusion from the Boston parade was confirmed by MassEquality’s Executive Director Kara Suffredini:


“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.

“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.”

(See the full press release from ED Kara Suffredini here.)

Equality coming to a parade near you!

“Yes, we were indeed rejected from the parade because we’re an LGBTQ organization. We had heard we may be accepted last minute, but alas, it was a no go. […] We now have boxes of t-shirts ready for parade season in the spring/summer. We’ll definitely have more to come!”

-Wes Ritchie, Organizing Director at MassEquality

With tees in hand, MassEquality is ready to take to the streets! Be sure to keep an eye out for them at this year’s Pride and other events this year and beyond.

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