One single recent Facebook post about a planned “Straight Pride Parade” in Boston has caused massive internet backlash and spawned many arguments. Posted just in time for the beginning of June, which is LGBT+ Pride Month, the proposal is clearly a deliberate slap in the face to the LGBT+ community and its allies. Amid allegations that parade planners are linked to racist and anti-Semitic organizations, it’s important to take a look at the bigger picture. Why is the idea of straight pride discriminatory, and why is it such a catalyst for hatred and debate?
The Oxford English Dictionary provides two definitions of pride: “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements” and “confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalized, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience.” Both of these definitions apply directly to LGBT+ pride. People in the community face discrimination and hardship both on the individual level and as a group, directly because of their identity. Living through that is an achievement, and provides shared culture and experience for the group as a whole. However, there is absolutely no analogue for this when it comes to cisgender & heterosexual people. People do not face discrimination or marginalization due to being cishet, as it is considered the norm in today’s society. That only leaves shared identity, which does not justify widespread pride (let alone a parade).
Straight pride really isn’t about straight people at all.
The history of gay pride as we know it today begins on June 28, 1969. Early that morning, members of the LGBT+ community in Manhattan rioted following a police raid on Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the area. The community chose to commemorate the event with a parade exactly one year later. This was the first Pride Parade in U.S. history, and the idea quickly spread across the nation. In short, LGBT+ pride was, and still is, an organized response to open animosity.
Straight “pride,” on the other hand, is reactionary. The term didn’t come into use until the late 1980s and early 1990s, and it was a direct response to the idea of gay pride. Straight pride exists in two contexts: as a reason why gay pride is unnecessary (“we don’t have straight pride parades, so why do we need gay ones”), and as a backlash directed at LGBT+ events. This proposed parade falls into the second category, but both are a problem.
While social media guidelines and hate speech rules don’t tend to filter out the concept of straight pride, it is actively discriminatory. Not only does the suggestion that straight people should be proud directly belittle the LGBT+ community, but straight pride is a dangerous gathering place for people whose beliefs could be expressed in ways much more violent than an innocuous parade.
This June, remember that gay pride started as a riot and turned into a refuge, a movement, and an event. Straight pride is nothing more than an attempt to take that all away.
Featured Image via Max Templeton (Unsplash)