What Is Straight Pride & Why Is It Toxic?

Stacey Garratt

Straight Pride

It’s Pride month! Time for street fairs, rainbow everything, and, inevitably, that one friend who asks that old question: “How come there’s no straight Pride?” 

It’s not only annoying, but the answer is more complicated than that because this isn’t about YOU, so have a seat? 

The idea of Straight Pride has a shitty history that goes back all the way to Pride itself, dipping into hate groups, the alt-right, and misconceptions of what Pride is really about.

How’d we get here?

The famous story starts in 1969 on Christopher Street when the NYPD was really not feeling the Summer of Love vibe and raided the LGBTQA+ patrons of the Stonewall Inn to “check the sex” of some of the customers. 

Famously, drag queen Marsha P Johnson threw a shot glass at the mirror behind the bar and demanded her civil rights, sparking a whole uprising outside the Stonewall. 

Although it wasn’t the first, Stonewall caught media attention and is credited with the start of what was then called the Gay Liberation Movement. Since then, Pride has been a worldwide movement to celebrate progress and continue to fight for the rights of LGBTQ2S+ people. 

You’re missing the point if you’re just looking at Pride as dancing in the streets and wearing rainbow gear.

What is Pride about?

Pride isn’t just “being proud to be gay,” and it’s ridiculous to reduce it to be that simplistic. It’s about bringing LGBTQ2S+ issues into the spotlight and giving space to talk about policies and actions against the community that affect the daily lives of LGBTQ2S+ folks in HUGE ways. 

Look at the major impact of Pride at the height of the HIV crisis in the 80s. This period was a vulnerable and terrifying time for the HIV+ population and the families, doctors, researchers, and activists desperately struggling to understand how and why it expanded, particularly among LGBTQ2S+ people. 

Marching in Pride was suddenly a galvanizing force for bringing communities together and drawing support. It was instrumental in demanding a real response and an end to HIV/AIDS discriminatory practices.

Pride is about solidarity with ALL LGBTQA+ communities. It’s solidarity to bring strength in numbers and show marginalized LGBTQA+ communities worldwide that allyship and acceptance are more than a distant dream. 

Why is Straight Pride bullshit?

To put it bluntly, straight people don’t need Straight Pride because they’ve never faced a threat to their rights, safety, or livelihoods simply for being straight. 

Straight people, on the basis of their straightness, have never faced discriminatory practices regarding employment, religious institutions, military service, political candidacy, housing, insurance, or social safety nets. 

Straight people have never been arrested for appearing straight or creating art celebrating heterosexual love. 

They’ve never had to worry about families disowning them because they’re with an opposite-sex partner. 

Straight parents don’t worry about their straightness being held up as evidence that they’re unfit parents.

Do straight people have their own struggles and battles to face? They sure do! But… here’s the distinction... it’s not BECAUSE they are straight. 

It might be something else that’s also shitty, like racism, sexism, ageism, take your pick, but their straightness isn’t what is being used against them. And that’s the difference.

Straight Pride has even darker roots. 

The question of why isn’t there Straight Pride is pretty much as old as Pride itself. It’s a way of ridiculing LGBTQ2S+ discourse— after all, why would you need to come out if straight people don’t need to come out as straight? 

Not only is this a dumb-as-hell straw man argument, but it’s invalidating the genuine progress we’ve made. 

Maybe Straight Pride KhakiPants McGee doesn’t remember the time of police raids, arrests and firings on suspicion of homosexuality, or when marriage, partner visitation rights, or custody rights weren’t afforded to LGBTQA+ folks, but it wasn’t that long ago. 

Disregarding the severe blood, sweat, and tears put into the LGBTQ2S+ communities’ fight for progress over time is a shitty way to dishonour those who paved the way.

The idea of Straight Pride doesn’t actually celebrate straightness. 

Since there’s never been a struggle for the rights of straight people based on their heterosexuality, Straight Pride really celebrates dominance and oppression. 

Not surprising that it’s a magnet cause for hate groups— the Ku Klux Klan, White Aryan Resistance, Proud Boys, and Tea Party have all taken a turn at trying to make Straight Pride happen. 

Straight and not hateful?

There’s a place for you! It’s called Pride. 

That’s right, tons of straight folks come to Pride and show their support and allyship! In fact, there’s no way that Pride ever would have made the worldwide impact it has without straight folks marching right alongside us. 

It helps to have straight folks, who represent the overwhelming majority, showing up in support of progress. It’s incredibly meaningful to see straight people with LGBTQA+ family members, kids, and friends showing support in massive numbers. 

But in joining in on the fun of Pride, we ask that you also help shoulder some of the work. Think of it like asking if you can bring anything to a dinner party— don’t just show up empty-handed. 

Great ways to be a straight ally at Pride 

Make sure you’re not making this about you. Act right. Don’t get drunk or loud or generally embarrassing. 

  • Err on the side of not photographing. Selfies? Awesome. Performers? Probably fine. Leering at attendees who didn’t consent to be photographed? Don’t be a dick. 
  • Remember that Pride is not for your benefit. Yes, we want you to have a great time! But we’re not interested in your opinions on if the leather daddies have to show that much skin or if that performer’s skirt is too short. And this is really, really not the time to bug attendees about their queerness or pester bisexuals for your threesome fantasy. 
  • Money, money, money, money, money. For real. Attend Pride and patronize LGBTQA+ vendor booths. Have a drink at the gay bar. Donate to a non-profit. 
  • Send this article to the next person who asks why there’s no straight Pride. 
Written by:
Stacey Garratt

Stacey Garratt is a Los Angeles based writer with a passion for sexuality, comedy, relationships, and intersectional reproductive justice. Her work has won the silver Cleo Entertainment Award, the gold Obie Award, and placed in the Filmmatic Comedy Awards and Webby Awards. As a bisexual, ENM woman, she’s thrilled to be contributing to Freddie Magazine.

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