Straight Pride?

Three men attempt to set up Straight Pride parade in Boston

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Should a Straight Pride parade be allowed?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

All the colours of the rainbow will be celebrated in June with Pride Month. This month marks the 50th anniversary of a watershed moment in LGBT rights: the Stonewall riots in New York.

Pride is meant to celebrate the LGBT community, who remain resilient despite their struggles and attacks.

However, members from one community are feeling marginalised: straight people.

Three men from Boston believe there should be a Straight Pride parade in the American city, Boston. The group - Super Happy Fun America - plan to hold it in August.

Some argue that a Straight Pride parade could "identify the anti-LGBTQ assholes in town", while others believe it denies the "importance and significance of identifying as LGBT" - especially when the odds are stacked against the community.

The Claim

The Huffington Post's Noah Michelson claims that Straight Pride parades are actually not such a bad idea - but his reason might surprise you.

He says that Straight Pride will "ferret out the kind of bigoted thinking that still exists in America". This bigotry, he notes, is "often covert, slippery, cloaked in or justified by religion or simply left unaddressed".

Michelson argues: "We could immediately identify the anti-LGBTQ assholes in town just by seeing who participated in or supported the parade.

"We’d immediately know which politicians were anti-LGBTQ assholes based on who rode through the crowds while waving from the back of slow-moving convertibles (and we could vote them out of office and maybe even score an all-LGBTQ city council like Palm Springs recently did).

"And it’d be obvious which local businesses were owned by anti-LGBTQ assholes who were willing to use their profits to help bankroll the event, and we could then spend our money at other stores."

He adds that the Straight Pride parades would be invaluable to "have a foolproof tool to identify those who either oppose LGBTQ equality or are so confused by or ignorant of their straight privilege that they need to be challenged and, hopefully, educated".

The Counterclaim

USA Today's Chris Hanna explains why we celebrate LGBT Pride, rather than Straight Pride.

He argues: "Never has a person lost their job for being white or straight in North America, or been denied an apartment for being white and straight, or been leered at or attacked by strangers for simply holding hands with their significant others.

"There is a level of social and systemic privilege not afforded to many members of the LGBTQ community in North America, and certainly in many countries around the world."

Hanna says that the resilience of the LGBT community is "worthy of celebration", saying "we are miracles". He adds that the fights for equality and acceptance are not over.

Hanna explains: "Living proudly and openly in societies where your well-being (emotional, physical, professional) is constantly at risk is nothing short of brave. The fact that we are seeing more people live openly and honestly despite these challenges is a miracle.

"Almost every day, we see threats made against members of the LGBTQ community. The scaling back of hard-earned rights and protections of LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people, is difficult to ignore."

He concludes that Straight Pride denies the importance and significance of identifying as LGBT, and achieving things "when the odds are stacked against you".

Another take

Among the fabulous costumes, parades, and parties, the flying of the rainbow flag is a political act. Gay pride, while excessive and fun, is a reminder of the hardships from LGBT past and present.

The spectacle started as Annual Reminder marches from as early as 1965 to remind the public that the LGBT community did not enjoy the same basic civil rights as other people.

The exuberance of colours during the celebration is not an accident. It means that the gay community is clearly visible in their communities, towns, cities and nations.

Whether it is to highlight a current struggle, or commemorate previous struggles, Gay Pride exists to be loud and noisy - and more importantly, to be heard.

The watershed moment of the gay rights movement was the Stonewall riots in 1969. The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York was a sanctuary for members of the LGBT community, but it was often subject to raids from the police.

After one of the raids on the morning of June 28. 1969, where the patrons were subject to beatings by the police, over 400 LGBT rioted outside over the course of five days, attempting to set the bar alight.

Stonewall, a charity championing LGBT rights named after the riots, observes that Pride can be many things: "Pride is a time when LGBT communities come together and reflect on how far they’ve come as well as acknowledge how much more there is still to do.

"Sometimes it’s a celebration, sometimes it’s a political statement and often it’s a mixture of the two."

Pride is meant to be a spectacle, full of colour and sound. It's meant to be like that to make the LGBT community visible - to celebrate the achievements and commemorate the struggles experienced by them.

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