Why I'm Not Laughing About That Straight Pride Parade

Sure, those Boston bros look silly—but they're a good reminder that it would be *very* easy to backslide on gay rights

Let’s be real. A Straight Pride Parade isn’t going to be full of poorly-dressed dudes who we can poke fun at. It’ll be full of poorly-dressed dudes holding signs like *this*. (Photo: Getty Images)

Pride is a month-long celebration of everything that we have overcome and a chance to highlight everything we continue to fight against. So maybe it’s a little surprising that every year I almost look forward to the inevitable tweets demanding “straight pride.” But what can I say? Scrolling through people actually fighting *against* minorities to feel more “represented” never ceases to make me chuckle.

However, Straight Men™ have taken it one step further—and that’s why I’ve stopped laughing. Boston “straight rights” advocacy group Super Happy Fun America (I *wish* I was making this up) is petitioning for their city to get a Straight Pride Parade. 2018 Boston Republican Candidate and Super Happy Fun America President John Hugo explains why on the group’s page, saying, “straight people are an oppressed majority. We will fight for the right of straights everywhere to express pride in themselves without fear of judgement and hate. The day will come when straights will finally be included as equals among all of the other orientations.”

These bros don’t seem to get why Pride exists in the first place

It can be easy to forget what Pride actually means, especially amidst the colourful branding and posters plastered with diverse, smiling faces. So, a history lesson: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, one of the most important events in queer history. Stonewall Inn was a tiny gay bar in New York City that was regularly plagued by police raids and brutality, in addition to abuse and harassment from the general public. However, on June 28, 1969, the queer people and drag queens in that bar had reached their breaking point and they decided to fight back against the police as a united force for the first time.

Trans women of colour were at the forefront of this fight—Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were not only central parts of the Stonewall riots, they were instrumental in the fight for LGBT rights in general. Although the jury is still out on whether or not they truly threw the first rocks/cocktails that night in 1969, their advocacy for queer rights throughout their entire lives helped pave the way for queer people and activists of the future. (And we’re finally recognizing their work; the city of New York recently announced they’ll be honoured with a monument to celebrate those efforts, and to “give a name and face to the overlooked activists.”)

Stonewall was an iconic moment in the gay liberation movement—a year later, the first Pride parade took place, a tribute to the brave queer people who refused to be oppressed any longer. But despite appearances, things haven’t change that much in the years since. To be blunt: Queer people are *still* a minority, and we’re *still* forced to fight for our lives in so many ways.

LGBTQ people are increasingly under attack, even from elected officials

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, LGB people consider suicide at a rate of up to three times the amount of their heterosexual peers. Trans people, especially trans women of colour, are the most vulnerable to violence and murder, with 26 trans people killed in 2018 in the United States alone. In fact, trans women of colour have a life expectancy of only 35 years, whereas their cisgender counterparts are expected to live to 78 on average.

And it’s not just civilians that are exhibiting this awful and hateful behaviour. Recently, Alabama Mayor Mark Chambers published a now-deleted Facebook post that equated “homosexuals” to “baby killers,” saying, “We live in a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics.” He later added that, “without killing them out there’s no way to fix it.”

And if you think Canada’s government officials are better, think again. Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that he will *not* be attending this year’s Pride celebrations, “due to police exclusion.” This is a thinly-veiled excuse to reduce support for the LGBT community in Canada. Within months of being installed, Ford replaced Ontario’s newer sex-ed curriculum with the previous version—written in 1998. Not only does the older curriculum omit information about consent and body autonomy, it fails to mention or answer any questions about sexuality or gender identity.

Here’s the thing, Super Happy Fun America—you’re wrong

What these straight men in Boston are failing to comprehend is that although Pride is a celebration, it is also an (ongoing) protest for our right to live and love like the rest of society. For many people, straight = normal, which only serves to further isolate and exclude queer people. It is so crucial for queer people today to have the chance to feel visible, heard and accepted, and to be empowered to fight for the rights of other gay people around the world who are still being persecuted for their queerness. So, as funny as the *idea* of a Straight Pride parade was initially, in reality, it only validates the oppression that queer people face every day.

When attending Pride, I compare it to my experience entering a gay bar. It’s not always about trying to find someone to take home, or even dancing to music that’s *actually* good. It’s about knowing no one will gawk or wonder about me. It’s about being able to express my gender and sexuality the way that I want to, without people whispering (or, for that matter, yelling) “faggot” as I walk by. It’s about feeling safe, at ease and at home.

So, my message to these straight men is best summed up in this tweet by drag queen, Ginger Minj. “Don’t be upset that you don’t have a [straight] pride parade… be grateful that you don’t need one.”


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