Madison L’Insalata, otherwise known as Miss Staten Island, found herself banned from taking part in Staten Island’s annual St. Patrick’s day parade this Sunday.
The parade’s organizer Larry Cummings announced his controversial decision just hours after the 23-year-old beauty pageant winner had come out publicly as bisexual in an interview with the New York Post.
“It’s really hurtful. Nobody likes to feel rejected from their community,” said L’Insalata of the decision to exclude her from the parade.
Parade organizer blamed ‘safety’ concerns
Late on Saturday night, Cummings telephoned the director of Miss Staten Island Scholarship Pageants, Jim Smith, to inform him that L’Insalata and another beauty queen who was planning to show support for Miss Staten Island were to be pulled from the event.
“I was stunned by the whole thing. I wasn’t prepared. He just said we’re worried about her safety like he’s doing us a favor,” Smith said. He tried arguing with Cummings but added, “he was not to be bargained with, you can’t talk to him.”
The ban was issued to L’Insalata and Miss Richmond County’s Outstanding Teen, Victoria Montouri, 17, who was supporting her.
Miss Staten Island’s Outstanding Teen, Angelica Mroczek, and Miss Richmond County, Gabrielle Ryan, already decided to boycott the parade.
However, L’Insalata wasn’t going to take no for an answer and turned up to the parade anyway. She proudly wore her rainbow scarf and heart sticker but had to be content with watching from the sidelines.
After attending the parade, L’Insalata said, “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.”
She added that while she was shocked by the decision calling it a “curveball,” she didn’t regret her decision to come out and hoped that it would spark a conversation that would lead to a more inclusive community.
LGBTQ community banned from marching under their own banners
Larry Cummings, who heads the Parade Committee of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, has been criticized regularly for refusing to allow members of the LGBTQ community to partake in the parade.
The Pride Center of Staten Island has not been allowed to march under its own banner.
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