Straight Pride and the reasons why don’t need it. June is over – and so is Pride month, leaving us wondering who was actually left hurt and violated by our community coming together to support each other and be slightly more visible – but never enough – in a world where trans women are assaulted and murdered every day, non-binary people denied their existence, LGBT kids kicked out of their house for being who they are, Internet trolls urging us to kill ourselves, our legal rights still unrecognized in many countries of the world, asexual people and queer women facing the thread of “reparatory rape”, HIV positive people facing discrimination every day from their work place to dating apps, millions of people having to live with fear… and the list goes on.
But who felt like they were the ones threatened this June?
That’s right, the straights.
(Well, the cis too.)
It doesn’t matter whether they can go to the bathroom of their choices without fear of assault or prosecution. It doesn’t matter whether they weren’t the ones mourning people like them, potentially friends or partners, at the recent anniversary or the Orlando mass shooting.
It doesn’t matter. Straight and cis people are still hurt, and for a far more important reason: there exists something that isn’t about them.
That doesn’t even mean they are completely excluded by Pride parades, of course. It just means, according to the common “Why don’t we have Straight Pride” discourse, that straight people need recognition and validation for being straight, as if that is not something the entire society constantly gives them.
The reasons behind demanding Straight Pride are nothing but a complaint that LGBT people literally get one parade and one month a year to demand to be heard and to demand that their existence is respected with no shame and hate, while straight and cis people seemingly get no such thing.
However, there are several things that straight and cis people do get:
- The right to marry whomever they want.
Same-sex marriage might be legal in the US but that’s not the case for everywhere in the world – not to mention that an LGB couple might be denied being married by someone for religious reasons. In most countries of the world, same-sex marriage is still illegal (with all the actual practical issues that entails for a couple), and even if a couple is considered to be married in one country, this status may cease being valid if they move to another part of the world.
- Their gender recognized by everyone.
Cis people don’t have to fight for their gender to be recognized and validated by people around them. Trans people, instead of being granted the right to live a life in dignity and respect, have become a topic of debate between cis, privileged people with no actual experience of trans realities whatsoever, dehumanizing trans people by turning them into think pieces and thus denying them their right to an equal dialogue in which individuals will be able to express the discrimination, violence, invisibility and othering they have to go through every day. There is everyday policing of trans people’s expression, appearance and behavior, as if one is obliged to pass multiple “tests” in order to have their identities validated. This is unacceptable and inhumane, but it is the reality of thousands.
- Safety from being attacked, harmed or abused for their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
We still mourn the devastating Orlando attack – and may our society that breeds hate never forget it. There is daily criminal and discriminatory violence against LGBT people, which often goes unnoticed, unreported and underrepresented. LGBT people are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other minority group – and of course, from what is considered to be the “default” majority of the population. LGBT people have reasons to literally fear for their lives and safety, while straight and cis people don’t have to worry about falling victims of violence on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Acceptance by their family, at least when it comes to sexual orientation or gender identity.
Straight or cis people don’t have to come out to their parents, partners and family, or even worse, have to hide their identity every day for years in fear that it may be discovered, and they might face violence, be kicked out of their house, or have relationships with their family be broken. Having to cut ties with one’s family is terrifying, and n issue most straight or cis people never even have to think of, at least for reasons of sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s not only the obvious danger of the alarming homelessness rates for LGBT youth; it’s the mere absurdity of having to deny – or worse, be denied – deep emotional bonds which have shaped your life until that point, just because you are who you are.
- No discrimination in the workplace because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Straight people don’t have to hide their sexual orientation in order to keep their job. While some working environments have gradually started becoming more inclusive, being openly LGBT might still be a threat for your career. Unemployment and poverty rates concerning the LGBT community are discouraging, and even those of us who are lucky enough to have job, might have to experience multiple daily microagressions and be careful of our every breath in workplaces that may be hostile and oppressive.
- No discrimination in academia and academic discourse because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Really, this list could go on forever.
- The right to have children and raise them with their partner(s).
In most countries of the world LGBT parents still are not legally allowed to adopt children, or to raise their biological children with their partner and to have their family recognized by the law and by institutions. While it has been shown that children who grow up in LGBT households are as healthy and happy as those who grow up in straight cis households, the right of LGBT people to raise children is still being disputed, and people have to fight to form the family they dream of.
- Representation in politics, in the media, in books, in movies – everywhere.
Straight and cis people are practically everywhere – they are shown as to be the default of the population, while LGBT people are constantly othered. Straight and cis people have role models in literally every domain of human life, from politics to philosophy, from rugby to art and family life. Stigma and discrimination cause LGBT people to remain hugely underrepresented and hidden from most platforms, but even when they become represented and speak up, their voices are immediately covered by the more dominant ones. LGBT people have to fight to exist in most fields of human life – straight people don’t.
- No fear to freely express who they are and live their life to its full extent.
If you are a straight person, think about how you’re not afraid to hold your partner’s hand on the street because you might get beaten up. If you are a cis person, think that you aren’t being denied health services because your identity is pathologized, think that you don’t have to listen to hate speech and read it on the Internet, to be misgendered or in actual danger because of your identity. Think that you have never been shamed, stigmatized, or asked to hide your sexual orientation or gender identity. Think that no one ever taught you not to be proud.
Pride month exists for LGBT people to seek out for the solidarity and the visibility we are constantly being denied and silenced away from. It is a month to commemorate the resistance and sacrifice of our predecessors. It is a month to mourn our siblings who were lost to homophobia and transphobia. It is a month to build up on the courage that it takes to live our lives.
If that seems to you like us asking too much, well, I have some news for you…
Straight cis people, please let us have our Pride month, let us be reminded that our lives matter too without making it all about yourself again.
Meanwhile, feel free to celebrate Straight Pride day, which is literally every day.