When Madison L’Insalata was crowned Miss Staten Island, she came out as bisexual to the press, telling them she hoped to use her platform to spread awareness of the LGBT+ community. She also told them she would march in the local St Patrick’s Day Parade dressed in rainbow colours – “I want people to see the colours and ask questions,” she shared.
Unfortunately, the Staten Island Parade committee don’t have the best track record in supporting the LGBT+ community. After the press coverage, Miss Staten Island was told the very next day that she was banned from marching in the parade, and, to show just how serious they were, they also banned another beauty queen merely for supporting L’Insalata.
Director of Miss Staten Island Scholarship Pageants, Jim Smith, explained how he was forced to break the news to L’Insalata when Larry Cummings, one of the parade organisers told him the young women could not attend. “I was stunned by the whole thing,” Smith said, “I wasn’t prepared. He just said we’re worried about her safety, like he’s doing us a favour.”
In a conversation with the New York Post, Madison shared how she had been shocked by the committee’s decision, adding, “I was really looking forward to being there and having a discussion and now there won’t be. It’s sad this had to happen. I thought I was doing something good … You want to be part of the change.”
“I am proud of Staten Island and I am proud of the title that I have because I know that myself and all the other girls involved do a lot of really great things for our community,” L’Insalata said. “So it’s a shame that this really great community event, we ended up not being allowed to be a part of.”
While she was not allowed to march in the parade, Miss Staten Island did turn up, but could only watch from the sidelines. Although painful, she shared, “I knew that people would talk about it, and that’s all I wanted. Because the more people that know about it, the more likely it is to change.”
This is nothing new for the Staten Island Parade committee, they have repeatedly refused entry to local LGBT+ groups. Only a few weeks ago, the Pride Centre of Staten Island urged local businesses to boycott the parade to show support for LGBT+ groups that were refused entry. In previous applications, the Pride Centre were told that what they did “promotes the homosexual lifestyle” and “goes against the tenets of the Catholic Church”.
Yet again the AOH Parade Committee denied the Pride Center of Staten Island's request to march in the SI St. Patrick's Day Parade, and this year they also declined @GOALny #StatenIrelandPride pic.twitter.com/9AbkgXoDbR
— Pride Center of SI (@pridecenterSI) February 16, 2020
Last year, local politicians boycotted the event for the same reason.
Larry Cummings, the spokesperson for the parade’s organising committee told the Staten Island Advance last week: “Here’s the deal, it’s a non-sexual identification parade and that’s that. No, they are not marching. Don’t try to keep asking a million friggin’ questions, OK?”
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