Miss Staten Island banned from marching in annual St. Patrick's Day Parade after coming out as bisexual

STATEN ISLAND (WABC) -- On Staten Island Sunday, there was a parade, but no pageant winners.

The head organizer of Staten Island's annual St. Patrick's Day parade banned them after Miss Staten Island announced she is bisexual. She planned to wear a rainbow-colored scarf during the parade.

Madison L'Insalata says parade organizers banned her from marching, citing safety concerns. She doesn't buy that.

"It seems that it might have more to do with me coming out as bi, and my wearing my rainbow scarf that I have here, and them not being okay with that," said L'Insalata.

L'Insalata was Miss Richmond County two years ago and has marched in the parade before. She said she tried to march with pride flags, but was told not to.

This year, she says when the Pride Center of Staten Island was denied, she planned to defy those rules and wave her flags with pride.

"I thought this might be a good time to really make a statement and take a stand, and I wanted to announce that I would be marching in the parade with rainbow colors and showing and coming out and saying that I was bi because I wanted people to see the colors," she said, "I wanted there to be discussion and I wanted people to talk, and I wanted to change."

The Staten Island St. Patrick's Day Parade has been dogged by criticism over exclusion. A number of elected officials on both sides of the aisle refused to march this year.

L'Insalata is hoping next year all of that will change.

"If the reason is it's a non-sexualized parade if we're talking about Catholicism, we do have a pope who is talking about inclusivity," she added.

Eyewitness News reached out to parade organizers for comment, but have not heard back.

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