Miss Staten Island 2020 Madison L'Insalata will take her marching skills elsewhere after the St. Patrick's Day parade banned her—apparently over her sexual persuasion. "This is definitely a curveball," L'Insalata tells the New York Post. "I was really looking forward to being there and having a discussion and now there won't be." After L'Insalata came out as bisexual to the Post on Saturday, parade organizer Larry Cummings banned her along with Miss Richmond County’s Outstanding Teen, Victoria Montouri. Meanwhile two other pageant winners—Miss Staten Island’s Outstanding Teen and Miss Richmond County—had already dropped out over (in the Post's words) the parade's "ugly history of banning a gay group from marching."
"None of them can march," complained Jim Smith, head of scholarship pageants, who says he took the call from Cummings. "He was not to be bargained with—you can't talk to him." Smith also dismissed Cummings's concern that L'Insalata's presence in a rainbow outfit was a safety concern. Cummings told the Staten Island Advance that "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?" As for L'Insalata, she calls it "frustrating" that they "can't have a disagreement and still be in the same place. They're removing all discussion by not allowing me to be there." She'll show off her colors at the alternative Staten Island "Rainbow Run" instead. (Read more gay rights stories.)