If I had a dime for every time I heard a straight person ask why they can’t be proud for being straight, I’d probably have at least enough money to share a nice brunch with a fellow queer person so we can complain about the arrogance of straight people thinking they need “straight pride” over bottomless mimosas. If I had to count how many times straight people have asked me why I am allowed to have gay pride when straight people are not allowed to have straight pride instead of asking Google, which has countless articles on why it’s an insulting and hateful notion, I don’t think I’d be able to because it’s actually been that long since it started happening. If you asked me when I last felt aghast at just how ignorant a straight person’s take could be on why straight pride should exist (which insinuated that straights, too, are oppressed, because everyone, even straight, white men had to work for their human rights), it would be about half an hour before I started writing this.
With the recent “straight pride parade” in Boston, parades like these have become a topic of discussion, yet again. I thought we had our fill of it during Pride Month, but here we are, watching a public outcry of straight people who feel that the progression of queer people means straight people are losing rights. Which, to me, is absolutely wild, because one simple Google search will tell you that we can still get fired simply for being gay. Even more wild, our president banned trans people from joining the military. If you think that’s as wild as it could get, we also get killed, whether gay, trans, or otherwise, simply because people think we shouldn’t even exist based on just the fact that we’re queer. Meanwhile, straight people can get married, join the military, hold hands while walking down the street, and no one’s going to make them feel like they shouldn’t based on the fact that they’re straight.
Honestly, “straight pride” has come up so much recently, that I’m running out of patience with the subject. If you’re a straight person who believes in “straight pride,” get over yourself.
Straight people never had to be proud of being straight. Being straight is a given. You’re pushed out of the womb right into the mindset of being straight. Pushed into the world not knowing you could be anything but straight. When you start feeling like you’re not straight, you start getting concerned, feeling lost, wondering why your friends have such vitriol against homosexuals when you’re right there, getting run over by the train of thought that says that you’re queer. We wouldn’t have to get run over by it if straight people let us know that it could come at any moment. We wouldn’t have to be so afraid of it if straight people told us from the beginning that it would be okay.
When a parent throws their kid out of the house for being gay, do you think staying ashamed of their sexuality is what kept that kid alive long enough to make a life for themselves? Do you think that parent felt proud of being straight when they threw their kid, who still had so much to learn about surviving on their own, out into the world with just the clothes on their body?
When you hear “straight pride,” you think it’s just being proud of who you are. When queer people hear “straight pride,” we hear that our identities are a burden.
Saying “I’m proud to be straight” means that you’re so relieved to not be queer. And you know what? You should be relieved. Take in a breath of fresh air and acknowledge that there is never going to be a moment in your life where you’re beat senseless, maybe even to death, for being something people refuse to understand. Feel that minty fresh tingle of the world letting you have kids without question, letting you stay at your job, and good god, letting you just exist without someone telling you that you’re wrong, and should be burned alive for being straight.
Sure, you can feel some sort of way about being straight, but “pride” seems like the wrong way. Simply being exempt from discrimination based on your sexual orientation doesn’t seem like something to be proud of, and it’s most definitely not something that deserves a parade. Straight people made sure that every day is a straight pride parade by criminalizing and ostracizing queer identities. Wanting a parade for that sounds like wanting someone’s slice of cake despite having a whole one right in front of you.
We have pride in our queerness because if we’re not proud of it, then we’re more likely to be ashamed of it, and if we’re ashamed of it, there are more chances to be victimized because of it. We’re more likely to be coerced into conversion camps and prayers for our gayness to go away because straight people can pounce on our shame in an attempt to erase us. We have to be proud of our identities or else we wouldn’t be able to get jobs, find love, or find any sort of meaning in our lives if we were always thinking about how may people in the world want us dead. We have to be proud of our queerness because if we’re not, the generations of queer people behind us won’t have a reason to be, either.
We need our pride parades, our pride festivals, and our general sense of queer pride because it is the everlasting protest against a world that never wants to see us break out of our oppression.
You don’t need a “straight pride” parade. Your sexual orientation is already accepted world-wide simply by default. Queer people need pride parades. We have to show that we are thriving while while we’re protesting, and inspire the community to do the same.