BOSTON March 8, 2017 On Tuesday night, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council voted to deny OUTVETS, an organization for LGBTQ veterans, entry in Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day parade. In response to this decision, MassEquality's Executive Director, Deborah Shields, JD, MPH, released the following statement:
"We are extremely disappointed with the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council's decision to ban OUTVETS from marching in this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade. For the last two years, OUTVETS has participated in the parade and represented LGBTQ veterans with honor and respect.
MassEquality is proud to support LGBTQ veterans and active servicepeople and to stand with them against discrimination and exclusion. LGBTQ people should never have to hide who they are to be safe, to be equal, or to celebrate other parts of their identities.
MassEquality remains committed to full equality and inclusion for everyone in our LGBTQ communities. We are grateful to Mayor Walsh, Governor Baker, Dan Magoon of Mass Fallen Heroes and other local and state leaders who have spoken publicly against the decision or declined to march in the Parade because of its return to a policy of exclusion. We hope that the Allied War Veterans Council will reconsider its vote, and we support the opening of dialogue between the Council and OUTVETS to work toward a resolution.
MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that everyone across Massachusetts can thrive from cradle to grave without discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
[UPDATE: ON March 11, the New York Times reported that the parade organizers, the Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston, reversed their decision and welcomed the gay veterans group.] Read more at www.nytimes.com/2017/03/11/us/boston-st-patricks-day-parade-gay-veterans-group.html .