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The History of Pride and Why We Don’t Need ‘Straight Pride’

A recent attempt (which may actually come to fruition) by three men in Boston to start a ‘straight pride’ parade has sparked vitriol and debate all across the internet. After all, why should straight people not be allowed to express pride in their identities in the same way that LGBTQIAP+ individuals do?

Well, for starters, straight people have never been oppressed. There is no country in the world where heterosexuals are under threat or where their existence is illegal. No country in the world prohibits heterosexual marriage or adoption. Heterosexual civil unions of various kinds are represented, respected and codified the world over.

Secondly, although the word used to talk about LGBTQ+ events and protests is often ‘pride,’ it is not truly about ‘pride’ in one’s identity as a queer person. Pride parades are a form of protest against government policies that oppress queer people. They are carried out in defiance of heteronormative convention to demand equality and to celebrate the achievements of the queer community while still sparking conversation about how far we have yet to go so that equality will be a norm rather than an outlier that is often treated as a privilege.

Pride began as a way to commemorate the stonewall riots of 1969 and the efforts of all those who participated in it. Today, there is an entire month dedicated to celebrating pride because today there is not just one event that demands recognition but a multitude of events. And today, our demands are no longer singular. We cannot encapsulate the needs of the LGBTQIAP+ people into one day or event or debate. They are as widespread and nuanced as the various identities that make up this vibrant community.

The reason that straight pride is unnecessary is because heterosexual identities have never been under threat. Where pride is an effort at inclusion in the face of a society that constantly treats queer people as though they are less than, straight pride is an event meant entirely to placate the bruised egos of a group that feels it hasn’t been garnering enough media attention. The tag line of this proposed straight pride parade is “it’s great to be straight,” but when has anyone ever said that it’s not? When has anyone said that being straight is difficult or frustrating in the current world condition? Another argument is that straight people aren’t included within the queer community. And they aren’t. But as long as they aren’t being homophobic and respect queer spaces and understand the need to pass on the mic when queer issues are being brought up, allies have always been welcomed at pride.

The act of LGBTQ+ people hosting such pride events is inherently defiant towards a heteronormative standard. Straight pride is the act of a majority willfully subverting a conversation about equal rights to talk about themselves when they already have equal rights, socially and legally.

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Today, in many parts of the world, pride has been turned into a fun celebration and straight people who aren’t affected by the discrimination queer people are forced to bear with want an invite. In some cases, this turns into a pride parade that is no longer about queer people. They are headlined by straight people and attended by people who can often times be homophobic in daily life but still want the clout, fun and experience related to attending a pride event. In such times, the very idea of straight pride is not just ridiculous, but dangerous. The idea that such a large numerical and political majority can claim oppression and the need for representation when society seems to work in their favor and we see them represented, quite literally, everywhere is harmful. Rather than a progression towards equality, this represents a distinct diversion away from it. When people feel the need to make their voices heard above those who have been historically denied a voice, the disenfranchised become even more so.

So no, we don’t need straight pride. What we need is allyship that is not merely performative and a universal understanding that the celebration of queer identities and protest for change in order to treat queer people like equal human beings is in no way threatening to the heterosexual experience unless you truly believe that LGBTQIAP+ individuals are really somehow less human than heterosexual ones.

Photo: FransA via Pexels

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Tanvi is a student at Ashoka University, currently pursuing her BA in Sociology and Anthropology

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