Queer Voices

Catholic Leader Backs Out Of NYC Gay Pride Parade Because Of 'Gay Training Sessions'

Anti-gay Catholic League president Bill Donohue will not be marching in this year's New York City Gay Pride Parade after all, despite the parade's organizers having accepted his application to do so. Why? Because Donohue doesn't want to partake in the parade's "gay training sessions."

Donohue, you see, was very upset that so many people boycotted the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade this year over organizers' refusal to allow gay groups to openly march. Mayor Bill de Blasio, among many other politicians, boycotted the event.

Afterwards, Donohue devised a scheme to get back at the city's LGBT activists: He'd apply to march in this year's Gay Pride Parade with a "Straight Is Great" banner. If organizers didn't accept his application, Donohue's juvenile argument seemed to go, then they would be hypocrites.

Of course, Donohue's plan backfired when the Gay Pride Parade organizers very publicly accepted his application to march.

This put Donohue in an awkward position. Would he, such a well-documented homophobe, actually march in the Gay Pride Parade?

Of course not.

This week, Donohue told conservative talk show host Steve Malzberg that the Gay Pride organizers were maneuvering to keep his "Straight is Great" contingent out of the parade.

"They know what they’re opening the door to: what if instead of getting 100 people, what if I get 3,000 people?" Donohue said. "What if we begin to overwhelm their parade and [it] vetoes their message?”

Should Donohue actually find 3,000 participants who'd be willing to march behind his banner, it seems unlikely that they'd have much success in overwhelming the other half a million participants.

Donohue also told Malzberg that he didn't want to have to attend the parade's training session, a requirement for all group leaders.

“Quite frankly, as a straight guy, I don’t go to gay training sessions,” Donohue said. “I think I’m pretty much an untrainable guy when it comes to this thing.”

These "gay training sessions" are not designed to make straight people gay. In an email to Gawker, march director Dave Studinski explains:

"We hold March information and safety sessions, referred to as group leader trainings, so our participants are fully aware of rules and procedures come event day. These trainings address line-up times, check-in locations, our moment of silence, dispersal activity, NYPD safety policies, attire and vehicle/sound permits. It is imperative group leaders know this information."

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