June has been dubbed “Pride Month” (after the Stonewall riots in the same month in 1969), where those in the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc.) community all around the world celebrate their identity and raise awareness with marches, rallies, parades and more.
Recently on Twitter, “Heterosexual Pride” has been trending again. Both in subtle ways, for example, justifying the Pride posters directed towards straight people with slogans such as “I’m a straight man with gay pride,” to not-so-subtle ways such as actually comparing the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community to those of straight people and arguing a place for straight people in the community. I know, right?
My personal experience with these nonces started with Enter Shikari, my favorite band, posting about how disappointing it is to see this trend every year. There were two types of responses that rubbed me the wrong way. First: pretty much ignoring the voices of those who are oppressed for their sexualilty and/ or gender identity. “To be honest why do we need a day to celebrate anything. We are all equal, celebrate unity!” To that, I say, sure, we are all human, but capitalist social, economic and political systems depend on us being not treated equally based on race, gender, class, sexuality and more. But that’s for another time…
Additionally, several people called out the band for being “intolerant” and “heterophobic,” claiming that it’s as bad as being homophobic and citing the “horrific tweets bashing straight [people]” as if they are the end-all be-all of discrimination. Even in Western societies, the LGBTQ+ community is still marginalized and many people are uneducated despite the large presence of the community.
Some people may justify “Heterosexual Pride” with the idea that the LGBTQ+ community has it better here than Middle Eastern countries, where you can get killed for being gay. The reality is that people are killed in Western nations for being gay, or more often, transgender. And in my humble opinion, as long as anyone is getting killed for their sexual orientation or gender identity, these kind of awareness functions still need to happen.
So you want “Heterosexual Pride” because a bouncer didn’t let you into a gay bar because you didn’t look it? Sure. LGBTQ+ people may live in fear everyday and may face emotional trauma and physical harm simply for who they are. Take this analogy: for those who have ever played the cartoon videogame Mario Kart (where you race cars and get items that help you hold or advance your position in the race), you are probably familiar with the blue spiked shell item that obliterates the person in first place. Obviously, if you’re in first place, you don’t get this item. There is no such thing as “Heterosexual Pride” for the same reason you can’t get a blue shell in first place in Mario Kart: you already have everything you could possibly want. No matter how badly they want to be, straight people are not, have never been, nor ever will be oppressed for their sexual orientation.
Pride is about straight, cisgender (those whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth) people shutting up and giving a platform for those who are oppressed. The best way to be an ally is to reject your privilege, listen, ask appropriate questions, raise awareness and always put the thoughts and concerns of the LGBTQ+ community first.