You wouldn't know it from this past weekend's green-beer bonanza, but South Boston is changing: real-estate prices are on the rise, and longtime residents are being squeezed out as a more affluent — and, as I wrote about in 2009
, often more gay — demographic takes hold.
Yet while Southie continues to grow in popularity among gay men, the Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston — organizers of the community's traditional St. Patrick's Day parade — continues to deny parade access to such gay-rights groups as MassEquality and Join the Impact.
That didn't mean the parade was completely without pride, however. Near the Broadway MBTA stop, a group of men were waving rainbow banners. Around the corner, a man wearing a pink wig was holding a sign that said "Transgender Takeover."
At a post-parade party at Cuffs at the Back Bay Hotel, Phil Sheats, founder of New Southie— a group of South Boston gays who congregate monthly at area bars — took the exclusion in stride.
"I think it's kind of ironic that gay groups can't walk in the parade," he said. "There's nothing gayer than a parade."
Not everyone was so playful, however.
"The fact that gays can't officially march in the parade is offensive," said Boston resident Geno Carrara, 44. "It's homophobia. And for those who say that the [main] parade is a family event, we all have a family. I have a family — that argument just baffles me."
So why not just boycott?
"Sometimes you have to continue to make an effort to improve things," said Tim Bolduc, 30, who lives on the Southie/Dorchester line. "There is the possibility that, by going to this parade, it may change their opinions eventually, so they can see that gay people aren't really different than anyone else."