Earlier this week the hashtag #HeterosexualPrideDay began trending on Twitter.
It’s unclear how it started and it doesn’t appear that there is a coordinated campaign behind it, but a depressing amount of people felt keen to re-share. Thankfully, many of those re-tweets and shares were rubbishing the notion.
In the UK, the Metro newspaper ran an article illustrating how ridiculous the idea of Heterosexual Pride Day was, and suggesting the very concept was something mainstream society should be ‘utterly ashamed’ about.
Despite this, it ran a poll at the end of the piece asking readers if they thought we need a heterosexual pride. Two-thirds said, ‘No, don’t be f**cking stupid,’ but one in three answered ‘Yes for equality’.
Let me repeat that: 33% of those polled felt that there is a need for a Heterosexual Pride Day.
Calls for heterosexual pride are not new. Usually they herald from right-wingers who, in a passive aggressive attempt to ridicule LGBT rights, demand they have one too in the name of equal rights.
‘Could it be that some of them are simply feeling a little left out of the action?’
I am not going to dwell on the arguments against ‘Straight Pride’ as you will probably have heard them, but simply put, if you are heterosexual then you will rarely risk being verbally abused or assaulted for holding your partner’s hand in public.
There are no countries that ban heterosexuality or punish it with lengthy prison sentences; and you are not routinely told that the sight of you kissing someone you love is ‘disgusting’ (unless you happen to be embarrassing your teenage offspring).
There is little need for you to raise awareness around the plight of heterosexual people being persecuted for their sexuality in other countries.
In other words, there remains a real need for LGBT Pride and there will remain a need for many years to come.
However, I currently find myself wondering if there is another reason why some straight people are demanding a ‘Heterosexual Pride Day’. Could it be that some of them are simply feeling a little left out of the action?
I am writing this in Toronto, Canada. The city is enjoying its first whole month of Pride celebrations, and is gearing up for its big, annual Pride Parade on Sunday. There are rainbow flags absolutely everywhere in the downtown area. And I mean everywhere.
The rental cycles are rainbow colored; shops have re-arranged their merchandise into rainbow colors; banks and other mainstream businesses are wrapped in rainbow flags; the hotel I checked into had free rainbow-colored cookies in my room; Even a fire truck that went hurtling past me yesterday, horns blazing, had a big rainbow flag fluttering from its back.
As a gay man, I love this. I feel excited and welcomed in a city that seems to really value its LGBTI community.
In many other countries, more and more corporates are rushing to mark Pride month – from temporarily changing their logos on social media to releasing rainbow-colored merchandise. A story I posted last month about Converse releasing Pride sneakers went super viral.
Pride is now impossible to miss
Just a few years ago, the only time a straight person realized that it was Pride was if they happened to be out shopping and stumbled upon the parade. Nowadays, it’s impossible to miss.
Could the sudden trending of #HeterosexualPrideDay actually, in part, be the howl of a community who suddenly feel they’ve not been invited to the party?
If it is, that still doesn’t legitimize the concept. However, I would say this: Instead of secretly thinking, ‘Gee, all that rainbow stuff sure looks like fun – I wish I could be a part of it,’ why not simply… well, be a part of it?
Straight allies and supporters are welcome at LGBTI Pride. Certainly, in London, now that an increasing number of businesses take part in the Pride parade, it’s not unusual to see senior straight allies marching besides gay colleagues in a show of unity and support.
In fact, this Sunday, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, will take part in Toronto’s Pride march; te the first time a serving head of state anywhere in the world has done this.
‘Instead of thinking that a day to celebrate your heterosexuality is a good idea, why not just grab a rainbow and join the parade?’
One of the best Pride events I ever went to was in Reykjavik, Iceland. The country is one of the smallest in Europe, with a population of around 300,000. However, its annual Pride festivities attracts some 80,000-100,000 participants.
That’s an astounding figure for a country so small, and it’s not all down to a huge influx of tourists. It’s simply because the family and friends of LGBT people will also take part to show support for their loved ones. It was one of the most unique, friendly and warm-hearted Pride events I’ve ever attended.
So, instead of thinking that a day to celebrate your heterosexuality is a good idea, why not just grab a rainbow and join the parade; celebrate the fact that everyone has the right to love who they love and show support for those of us who continue to face challenges and prejudice.
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