The recent news that Boston is hosting a "straight pride parade" shows willful ignorance of an oppressive reality: every day is straight pride day.
Every day, straight people march down the street, holding hands, kissing, and loving one another without fear of violence or arrest. An article in The Advocate by Alexander Cheves highlights at least 34 simple acts of affection — be it sitting next to the person one loves or stroking his hair — that straight people take for granted. Gay people know that on their lips, a kiss is not just a kiss. It is an act of bravery. It might as well be a revolution.
The hashtag erupted on Twitter at the beginning of Pride month, and it questioned why the LGBTQ community deserves its own time and space to celebrate its identity. The ignorance in that question wasn't lost on much of Twitter. Many listed the reasons why a “Heterosexual Pride Day” is not only unnecessary, but also ignorant to the struggles of minority communities.
This debate is, unfortunately, not new. This argument tends to surface during the height of Pride season when the rainbow banners are at full mast. And in June 2013, gay journalist LZ Granderson bested Twitter by writing a prescient op-ed titled “Why isn’t there Straight Pride month?”
In the piece, Granderson addressed how historically marginalized communities are still marginalized, and in many ways — be they victims of bullying, legal discrimination, or gun violence. Pride may appear to be celebratory in the media, he contended, but ultimately, these parades are an “integral part of our survival” because they give visibility to LGBT lives.
“Gay Pride was not born out of a need to celebrate not being straight but our right to exist without prosecution,” Granderson stated, before addressing Pride’s critics. “So maybe instead of wondering why there isn't a straight pride month or movement, straight people should be thankful they don't need one.”
This statement was widely circulated on social media during last year’s "Heterosexual Pride Day." On The Advocate’s Twitter account alone, a meme with this text was shared over 600 times, demonstrating the continued need to educate those with privilege about the need for events like Pride.
— The Advocate (@TheAdvocateMag) June 29, 2016
The tragedy in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed at a gay bar, a place they thought was safe to love one another, shows straight pride to be the farce that it is. Their "pride" feels like yet another assault on queer identities.
At the very least, it's another excuse to take away our safe spaces.
DANIEL REYNOLDS is an editor at The Advocate. Follow him on Twitter @dnlreynolds.