June is Pride Month, a chance for the LGBT+ community to be seen and heard in the face of discrimination and to celebrate sexuality and gender diversity. It’s a positive time, a time to educate and empathise, to come together and be cheerleaders for each other.
Most of us have grown up around the idea of Pride and had, at the very least, a vague understanding. Parades are shown on the news, local towns host their own celebrations and, now with social media, Pride has prompted open discussions within and around LGBT+ online – most of which is positive. But, as with anything on social media, there’s always a nasty side.
This year, the US city of Boston has gone viral – not like a funny cat video, more like a gross medical infection – for announcing plans to hold its own ‘Straight Pride Parade’ in August, organised by three
small-minded, ignorant, vile men. They say straight people are an “oppressed majority” and they hope “the day will come when straights will finally be included as equals”. City officials have spoken against the idea, but have also said that they can’t deny them the permit for the parade.
We don’t need ‘Straight Pride’. I’ll say that again – we do not, and have never, and will never, need ‘Straight Pride’. But we do still need Pride.
Yes, there is now marriage equality – in less than 30 out of 195 countries in the world. That’s less than 15% of countries on the entire planet that allow a same-sex couple to wed. Straight couples can plan their dream destination wedding pretty much anywhere they want.
Yes, there are more laws to protect the LGBT+ community – but there are also dangerous new ones being put in place every day. Like the Trump administration proposal just a few weeks ago that would allow healthcare providers to discriminate based on gender-identity. Or the ban on transgender people serving in the military. Or the proposal to determine a transgender person’s sex by what they’re born with and not how they identify if they are incarcerated.
Yes, Pride is getting more support than ever from international companies – but it’s also being used as a marketing tool where businesses slap a rainbow flag on in the hopes to sell products without actually offering any genuine support. Victoria’s Secret, for example, tweeted in support for Pride this week when just last year their chief marketing officer Ed Razek said he would not include transgender models in the brand’s fashion shows.
Pride is still absolutely necessary.
Just a few days ago a young couple were beaten up on a London bus because the two women wouldn’t kiss for the entertainment of fellow passengers. Transgender model Munroe Bergdorf was unexpectedly dropped as an ambassador for the NSPCC at the same time they’re boasting about a Pride Month Childline and flaunting a rainbow logo on social media. Esther McVey, someone who is currently campaigning to be the next PRIME MINISTER (!!!), said in an interview only a few weeks ago that parents should be able to withdraw their children from LGBT+ education.
We should be damn-well grateful that we don’t need ‘Straight Pride’. No-one hurls abuse at us in the streets because they don’t like seeing us hold hands with someone we love. We don’t fear those in power because it feels like a ticking time-bomb before they threaten our rights. We don’t have to worry about being “politely” asked to leave an establishment or being turned away from a job opportunity because a company doesn’t like our sexual preferences.
I’ve never been beaten up in public because of my relationship, fired for my gender identity or denied relevant education. I am so painfully aware of my privilege, and so thankful that I don’t have to fight against these struggles – but I stand with those who do, and will always support the rights and safety of my LGBT+ friends.
I don’t need ‘Straight Pride’. No-one does.