On August 31, a group called Super Happy Fun America is set to hold its first “straight pride” parade in Boston. According to the website, the group’s president, John Hugo, says he started Super Happy Fun America in order “to advocate on behalf of the straight community.” Hugo, a Republican who made a failed run for Congress last year, told The Washington Post that straight people are an “oppressed majority.” Moreover, Vice President of the organization Mark Sahady wrote on Facebook, “For [LGBTQ people] everything is based upon identity and whether or not one is categorized as a victim or an oppressor. If you get victim status then you are entitled to celebrate yourself and expect those with oppressor status to defer to your feelings.”
They even have a gay ambassador, Chris Bartley, who the organization says, “uses his status in the LGBTQ community to challenge heterophobia wherever it exists. He became involved in the straight pride movement after being ostracized from established advocacy groups for merely suggesting that straight people be afforded equal rights.” Super Happy Fun America also named Brad Pitt as their mascot, even though he is a huge supporter of the LGBTQ community.
Now, this “straight pride” movement is coming even closer to home. Last week, another group in Modesto, CA, applied for a permit to hold a “straight pride” event too. “We’re promoting many different things: heterosexuality, masculinity, femininity, babies, born and especially unborn, the nuclear family of men, women and children — everything that made our country great,” says organizer Don Grundmann, a failed politician, chiropractor, herbalist and director of the National Straight Pride Coalition, a group only active in California but hoping to build chapters in other states.
“Permits to host any event are granted based on operational feasibility, not based on values and certainly not based on any endorsement of beliefs,” says Thomas Reeves, community and media relations officer for Modesto. “Although the city does not share in the beliefs of some groups that choose to hold their events here, we may not be able to deny a permit based on an organization’s values.”
Counter-protests to both the Boston and Modesto events are already being planned. But let’s take this opportunity to reiterate to LGBTQ allies in the straight, cisgender community who might be confused: “straight pride” is not a thing, it’s a not so cleverly disguised expression of hate and prejudice that targets an already marginalized minority.
Gay (or more correctly, LGBTQ) Pride began as a protest in 1970 on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It was a protest against homophobia and specifically against the constant police raids of LGBTQ bars and establishments. In Los Angeles, for example, the first ever Pride was held on June 28, 1970. It took place in Hollywood (the intersection of McCadden Place and Hollywood Boulevard has been designated Morris Kight Square, honoring the co-founder of the world’s first street-closing gay pride parade) and was part march, part parade. The Police Commission voted 4 to 1 to place conditions on the parade permit, which were: 1) a bond for a million dollars was required to pay out the businesses for “when” (not if) people throw rocks, 2) a cash bond of $500,000 was required, and 3) it was required to have at least 5,000 people marching. After the ACLU got involved, the California Superior Court ordered the Police Commission to issue a permit to the organizers with the receipt of the $1,500 security payment, and they dropped the discriminatory requirements as well.
If the LGBTQ community were treated as equals to the straight community, such an event wouldn’t have been necessary to begin with, let alone be so difficult to get approved by the city. None of these hurdles for people simply asking to exist in a public space are present for straight people. Similarly, straight people don’t have to worry about getting negative looks, or worse (verbal or physical assault) simply for showing basic public displays of affection like holding hands or kissing. Straight people don’t have to worry about being legally fired from their job or denied housing because of who they are, as is still the case in 30 states for LGBTQ people. Straight, cisgender people can serve openly in the military and don’t have to worry about losing their job for expressing their true gender identity. Straight children don’t have to worry about being disowned by their families for coming out, or being bullied at school because of who they are, something that drives so many young people in our community to suicide. And straight people have always been allowed to legally wed each other and enjoy the legal benefits that come with that, whereas LGBTQ people have only been afforded these rights on a national level since 2015.
So no, straight people are not an “oppressed majority.” If anything, a small and hateful (but vocal) portion of the heterosexual community is actually oppressing us. Straight, cisgender people get to live with a privilege afforded only to them because they fit into society’s heteronormative box and therefore don’t need to worry about any discrimination for being who they are, at least in terms of their sexual or gender identity. Obviously, not all straight people are “oppressors,” but some definitely are, and have been oppressing us for years. Therefore, we need Pride to show those oppressors that we will exist and celebrate who we are whether they like it or not. Straight people do not have to do that. Similar to the lunacy of “all lives matter,” straight pride is not something that needs advocacy.
“Heterophobia” does not exist. Some LGBTQ people may be fearful of heterosexuals because of all the oppression we’ve experienced in the past, but that’s not the same thing. If I’m in a straight space as opposed to a gay one, I’m very mindful of who’s around me and I’m careful to watch how I act, what I say and what I do. Not because I think all (or most) straight, cisgender people hate LGBTQ people, but because there are a decent amount who do. And that’s why we need LGBTQ Pride and not straight pride. If straight people insist on celebrating themselves the way we do, how about at least waiting til we get equal rights first?