The Dangerous Futility of Straight Pride

Too much privilege in one space is always deadly

Michael Candelori/Shutterstock

Let’s not pollute the world with any more “straight pride” than it already has. It’s literally harmful to the environment. Social media was ablaze with outrage when three men in Boston began petitioning for a straight pride parade, which is tentatively set to take place on August 31 and will mirror the same route of Boston’s 2019 pride parade which took place on June 8th. The organizers, who have been linked to far-right movements and nationalist protests, formed a group called “Super Happy Fun America.”

Mark Sahady, who has organized free speech rallies and a gun rights demonstration in the past, wrote in a Facebook post that the straight pride parade is meant to poke fun at “identity politics.” He doubled down with his taunts by writing, “For [the LGBTQ community], everything is based upon identity and whether or not one is categorized as a victim or an oppressor. If you get victim status then you are entitled to celebrate yourself and expect those with oppressor status to defer to your feelings.”

In other words, Sahady is well aware that the cis-heterosexual community has the power and privilege to oppress people who identify as LGBTQ. However, he wants us to shut up about our experiences with homophobia and simply endure it. He doesn’t want to take into account that we, the LGBTQ community, can only celebrate our sexual identity in June, and we have to share our space with billion dollar corporations and “straight allies” who don’t give a shit about our lives.

He doesn’t want to acknowledge that we need pride to remember that we exist in a world that works overtime to erase our identities. He doesn’t want to acknowledge that we need pride because we’re assaulted in the street or on public transportation for hugging, kissing, or holding hands with our partners in public. We’re harassed by our religious family members for being something we can’t change. And most importantly, we are forced to internalize every bit of anti-queerness our anti-queer world throws at us.

Too much privilege in one space is always dangerous.

Straight people don’t need unreliable allies. Straight people don’t get kicked out of their homes for “coming out of the closet” — there are no closets for straight people. Straight people aren’t made to feel like complete perverts because of their sexual identity.

I will forever be scarred by my aunt creating a rumor that I had unprotected “butthole sex” with my straight male co-worker in front of a group of 8-year-old children. I’ll never forget how quickly the rumor spread and how even my students became uncomfortable with talking to me. I felt like a freak. I felt like I needed to hide who I was by feigning masculinity. I hated myself. I hated myself because I’m different. Years later, I can still feel the aftershock of that trauma. It’s an uncomfortable feeling.

The feeling that I felt that day follows me even through pride month. However, simply knowing that it’s pride month makes it a bit easier to push down that feeling and celebrate my sexual identity. I doubt that any straight person in the world was ever accused of being a sex offender by their aunt for simply being heterosexual.

A straight pride parade will be nothing more than an unnecessarily insulting cry for attention. I expect nothing less than an unfortunate remake of 2017’s Unite the Right Rally that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in three deaths and 33 non-fatal injuries.

Too much privilege in one space is always dangerous. I can’t name a historical movement spearheaded by a demographic with enough power to marginalize communities ending successfully. The reason for this is clear: When your identity is celebrated incessantly, what is there to fight for? There’s no straight pride month for the same reason that there is no white history month: We don’t fucking need one. Every day is a tribute to white people, just like every day is a tribute to straight people.

I have read stories about white people charging at police officers with weapons and escaping the encounter with their lives, all while black men, women and children are shot dead for digging in their pockets for their cellphone.

The LGBTQ community has to share our space with billion dollar corporations and “straight allies” who don’t give a shit about our lives.

Soon after word got out about the proposal for a straight pride parade, a news story broke about two lesbian women who were savagely attacked on a bus in London by four teenagers. Their crime? Being lesbian.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, one of the victims, Melania Geymonat, described the assault, saying: “We must have kissed or hugged or something like that, because right away they saw that we were together, so they came after us. They surrounded us and started saying, like, really aggressive stuff, things about sexual positions, lesbians and claiming that we should kiss so they could watch us.”

When has that ever happened to a person simply because they’re a cisgender heterosexual person?

Right before that, the HRC reported that 26-year-old Chynal Lindsey, a black transgender woman, was brutally murdered in Dallas, Texas. Again, I ask, when the fuck has that ever happened to a person simply because they’re a cisgender heterosexual person? This never happened, and it won’t ever happen. This is why straight people don’t need a month, week, day, hour, minute, or second to celebrate their sexual identity. The LGBTQ community, however, need every second of pride month because once we transition into July, we’re forced to pack up our rainbow flags and return to the cold reality that we will never truly be accepted by mainstream society and that we still have work to do for basic human rights.

Furthermore, to truly understand how ignorant Sahady’s statement is, it’s important to fully grasp what “identity politicking” is and which communities are capable of identity politicking. Firstly, “identity politicking” simply refers to discussions or activities revolving around one’s racial, religious, gender, economical, ethnic or sexual identity. So, which groups are capable of identity politicking? Well, everyone with an identity.

Minorities are accused of being divisive whenever we do any politicking around our identities. And those who are not oppressed are usually politicking around ways to absolve themselves from being considered the oppressors. They protest things like “political correctness,” being held accountable in the age of the #MeToo movement, and being held accountable for being overly privileged pieces of shit in general.

Pride parades are meant to be political. For God’s sake, we only have pride because of the Stonewall riots. I don’t mind my identity being politicized if it leads to social change. No amount of straight pride parades will lead to social change, unless it’s a parade where straight people hold themselves accountable for how they are complicit in the oppression of LGBTQ people.

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