So it seems #HeterosexualPrideDay has been trending lately. And if you’ve read most of the stuff about it on the internet so far, you’d come to the conclusion that it’s a huge problem caused by bigotry and homophobia.
But first, what *is* Heterosexual Pride Day? How did it start, who’s running the show, and what is the actual intent?
A google search reveals only page after page of mocking the idea. It’s difficult to track down any actual sources that explain what the day is actually about. One might think just from what’s already out there, that there is something very seriously wrong with the idea of heterosexuals feeling any sense of pride, given how everyone is reacting to it. Why else would something be considered so terribly wrong, before anyone even discusses what it is? It’s obvious that straights aren’t allowed to feel proud about who they are, right? I mean it’s not like they’re people too, and entitled to feeling the full range of human emotions that everyone else feels.
But hang on, surely we’re missing something here. Straight Pride just *can’t* be about feeling the same type of inner peace and connectedness with one’s community that gays feel. There has to be something more sinister going on. I mean, it’s not like the LGBT community is now criminalizing other groups the same way LGBT people were treated for so long. So what is Heterosexual Pride Day then?
As it turns out, there might not actually even be such a day, at least not one recognized anywhere. The BBC has done a piece on this, and they were not able to track down any official day, or organization, or even a group of people who are actively and consistently promoting this event. That article hyperlinks to this one, referencing events and rallies that have been held in the past. However, the Unicorn site being linked also does nothing but mock the idea, while it desperately to connect Straight Pride Day to individual acts of homophobia by high school students.
I mean really, from the first paragraph under their 2001 heading:
In 2001, a high school in St. Paul, Minnesota set up “safe zones” in which homophobia would not be tolerated. Furious at his school’s blatant intolerance of intolerance, the student proudly held a one-man hetero rights demonstration by donning a T-shirt with the words “Straight Pride” on the front.
^ Honestly, what does that even have to do with straight pride day? Someone else, somewhere else, is straight, and also homophobic. Therefore, straight pride day has to be homophobic? I mean, it just *HAS* to be? Because there are straight people who are homophobic – so that just PROVES straight pride day has to be homophobic too?
You know, some black folks commit crimes. Therefore, Black History Month – yea forget it, I’m not even finishing. That logic only works if you’re white, straight, or male (works best if you’re all 3).
The BBC article also links to this article by Pink News, where one person actually did organize a rally! Lets see what he has to say about it. I’m sure we’ll see nothing but the blatant homophobia that totally justifies all the horrible demonization, and we can just move on.
From the article:
Creating a public Facebook event, he [Anthony Rebello] wrote: “We all have the right to celebrate the way of life we have chosen for ourselves. In the name of equality & equal rights, I have created this event to celebrate our right to be heterosexual, and to encourage younger heterosexuals that they should be proud of their heterosexuality.”
^ …….. um…. o… kay? Sooooo… he thought straight folks ought to feel good about themselves, just like gays ought to feel good about themselves. That’s… literally what he said. He even mentioned equality and equal rights.
So, what’s the problem with this? Why is the LGBT community so outraged? There has to be more to this. Again, it would be with breathtakingly exasperation to find out that the very people who were told they couldn’t feel proud of themselves or hold events in public are now telling other groups that they can’t feel proud of themselves or hold events in public.
4th Wavers decided to reach out to Anthony Rebello, the organizer of the straight pride event linked above. Below are the questions we asked Anthony, and he was kind enough to provide us some very thorough responses.
1. In July of last year, you decided to start the first Heterosexual Pride parade. Roughly how many did you invite to attend, and how did you invite them?
Anthony: I invited nearly 200 people through the option made available in my event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/426907587464714/?active_tab=posts After that, facebook would not allow me to invite anymore people. I wanted to invite all my friends, but the option was unavailable.
2. What were the events that lead up to you deciding to create this event? Was there any “aha” moment where this came to mind?
Anthony: I noticed that many different kinds of people were celebrating their sexual preference/nationalities/beliefs/opinions, so I decided I would also celebrate my own beliefs by being #ProudToBe a Heterosexual.
As someone who supports #EqualRights, I saw no problem with celebrating the fact that I am Heterosexual. In many ways, the #LGBTQ inspired me to do so. I have shown my support for the gay community. I have been to Pride parades. I used to live downtown Seattle. I have many gay friends. I figured the #LGBTQ would support the fact that I was just as happy to be Heterosexual as they are to be gay/transgender/bi… That wasn’t the case. I was labeled a bigot, white supremacist, member of isis… Harassed, insulted, even threatened. I even lost my job because of it. Here is a link to the backlash.
3. Are you against gays and lesbians having their own pride day? What about gays and lesbians in general?
Anthony: Not at all. I believe everyone should be proud of who they are. That everyone should celebrate their lives, no matter what. I believe that is why we are alive. Like I said, I have attended a few Pride parades. I had an apt in Seattle. Belltown. I worked right next to Westlake. I had many gay/lesbian friends/coworkers. I never hurt anyone. I’m not that kind of person. I support the idea that everyone should have equal rights. What about gays and lesbians in general? I have never had a problem with them. I have had many gay guys hit on me, and I didn’t get mad, I just explained to them that it wasn’t my thing, that I was a heterosexual, and that I have always been attracted to girls/women.
4. Was the Heterosexual Pride event meant to detract from, or counter, the LGBT movement? Or was it merely an event where heterosexual folks could find community and identity?
Anthony: Not at all. I am an individual. As an individual, I have always done my own thing. I have always appreciated people who do. I don’t want to control anyone. It’s hard enough to control myself sometimes, lol! This event is merely an event where heterosexual folks can find community and identity, a place for Heterosexuals to identify with other Heterosexuals and be #ProudToBe Heterosexual. I tried to make it clear in the statement on the event:
“In the name of equality & equal rights, I have created this event to celebrate our heterosexuality, and to encourage younger heterosexuals that they should be proud of their heterosexuality. This is not a protest. It is a celebration for all to enjoy. Hope to see you there.”
5. Dan Savage has done a pretty brutal piece on this matter, which you can find here: http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/07/25/22601295/did-anyone-make-it-to-the-straight-pride-parade-today. Accordingly, he quotes you as saying, in reference to the LGBT community:
“I think it’s a trend. A cry for attention. From your government, a distraction. For $.” – in this statement, you compared homosexual marriage to allowing animals to get married. You also said you don’t agree with turning boys into girls, and vice versa, and referred to it as a “shitshow”.
Do you stand by these statements? How do you address that now?
Anthony: At the time, Gay marriage was a *trending topic, in the news every day, and all up in everyone’s faces all the time. To be honest, I was sick of hearing about it. I tried to show support for the idea that we don’t need approval from anyone to have a good relationship. That a solid healthy relationship is between the 2 people having the relationship, and nobody else. I wrote a blog entry called “Marriage” http://smilemeariver.blogspot.com/2014/07/marriage.html which says this:
“You don’t need a third party, or a piece of paper to have a good relationship with someone. You don’t need anyone’s permission, or approval. If you make each other happy, that’s what matters. It is between you, and the person you are involved with, not you and society”
Soon after that, I posted another entry, where I said:
“In response to the whole gay marriage thing, as an artist, and an individual, I feel the need to voice my opinion on the subject. I apologize if my opinion hurts anyone’s feelings.”
I wasn’t actually trying to compare insects getting married with gay people getting married. The point I was that in my opinion, people were making things too complicated. I was trying to simplify things in my own sarcastic, smart ass kind of way. I am an artist, and an individual, and I can see now how this may have been perceived differently by many. In hindsight, I could have worded it better, and I probably should have. Either way, that’s how it came out, and I honestly wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. I was just venting my opinion creatively.
4th Waver would like to thank Anthony for his time and helping to provide clarity for this issue. Anthony speaks more about the results of his organizing a straight pride day here, where he faced serious retaliation at his work.
You can see Anthony’s primary website at www.anthonyrebello.com, on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/rebello4610, on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/noodums. His blog is http://smilemeariver.blogspot.com/, and if you appreciate his artwork, you can send a donation to https://www.gofundme.com/rebello.
Thanks again Anthony for clearing up the confusion.
Now to be fair, when researching this story, we did find one example of a straight pride parade (page 21) that was, in fact, religiously motivated and intolerant towards LGBT people. This was very clearly far departed from the example above. At the University of Massachusetts-Amherst campus, the Young Americans for Freedom group sponsored a “Straight-Pride Rally” on April 24th, 1990. They reportedly waved bibles and shouted insulting phrases towards gays and lesbians. But at best, this appears to be an isolated incident, and it’s very difficult to find any other examples of this happening. With that being the case, there’s no indication that “straight-pride day” necessarily means anything at all anti-gay.
This goes to show that pride, like any emotion, can inspire someone to do good or bad. So maybe we’re going about this the wrong way. Instead of “straight pride”, first… what is “pride?”
Lets start with a complex, yet (sometimes) easy to understand emotion like “love”.
You probably love your parents, your cat, and your significant other. But you love each of these things in a different way, because there are different *kinds* of love, and ways you can love. I mean, I also love French fries. Just not in the same way I love Jaline. (Sorry baby cakes, fries come first!)
In that same exact way, there’s different kinds of “pride” a person can feel. There’s the pride you feel towards an accomplishment, or after having achieved an important goal. But there’s also other sorts of pride. For example, if your son or daughter does really well on a project, you might feel a sense of pride – even though it’s an accomplishment done by someone else, you still feel this way! It’s simply a different kind of pride.
How many of you out there are proud to be an American? Or for our international readers, are you proud to be British? Irish? Norwegian? I’ve had people tell me such pride is ridiculous, but it most certainly isn’t. The pride you feel for your country is just another kind of pride. It’s not good or bad in and of itself. It’s just a normal feeling. What you do in response to that feeling is your choice, and that’s where the “good” and “bad” aspect of it comes in. Does American pride inspire you to help those in need? Or take their rights away?
I have straight friends who are very dear to me. Some of them are as close as family. I can’t imagine why on earth would I *NOT* want them to feel proud, and good about who they are! To say otherwise is a double standard. I can have pride, but you can’t – completely not recognizing at all that their pride might be different, held to a different degree, at a different level, and might have purposes or reasoning.
Now remember, what pride inspires you to do is the important question! That can be either good or bad. The pride parade held at the university of Massachusetts, the pride event certainly wasn’t very welcoming or inclusive. Yet the pride parade that Anthony organized most certainly was, and the LGBT brutally harassed him for it (possibly inspired by their own sense of pride).
If you could show that straight-pride day was inherently anti-LGBT, or hateful, or based on some kind of discrimination, or SOMETHING to that effect – then this whole entire thing would be completely different. An event held by a KKK group is reasonably expected to fit such a description, and if you could show something similar with straight pride, there would then be a perfectly acceptable reason to denounce straight-pride in general.
But this simply isn’t the case. Straight Pride does not automatically mean anti-gay. In fact the only people who are currently saying are from the LGBT community. I’ve yet to see a straight-pride person say anything negative.
We’ve covered how pride can vary, and how Straight-Pride can’t reasonably be pinned down with any one intent or purpose, as it depends on what pride inspires the person to do in each case. But the idea of “Gay Pride” is pretty well established, and steeped in some history! So surely this one is easier to get a hold of.
Howard P. Kainz, professor of philosophy at Marquette University, Milwaukee points out in his book “Politically Incorrect Dialogues” that:
“I also find the reference “pride” inappropriate. Pride is warranted when one has done something or accomplished something worthwhile. If, as has been suggested, true homosexuality is something inborn and natural, or at least not a matter of conscious choice, I see nothing to be either proud or, for that matter, ashamed of. Pride is simply out of place and out of it’s proper context“.
He follows this by stating how a “heterosexual pride” day would be immediately recognized as “dumb and ridiculous”.
As we’ve seen above, however, there are different kinds of pride, just as there are different kinds of anger, love, sadness, and so on. He does make a point, however, that
there seems to be something different between gay-pride and straight-pride. After all, supporting one of these gets you near universal acceptance, while accepting the other can risk having your life ruined (and which one you think is which says a lot about you).
Michele J. Eliason, professor at San Francisco State University, states in her book “Who Cares – Institutional Barriers to Health Care for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Persons”, that:
“Whenever I do a workshop on lesbian, gay, and bisexual issues, someone inevitably asks: “Why must you people have those parades and rallies? Heterosexuals don’t have straight pride rallies”. There are several reasons gay pride celebrations are important and a necessary part of gay life today. First [LGBT] people often feel isolated and alone . . . a yearly gay pride event allows them to come together and celebrate their lives. For a few hours a day, they can be in the majority instead of being a hated minority. Second, heterosexual people can affirm their identities in a myriad of ways: by putting engagement, wedding, birth, and anniversary announcements in the newspaper, by bringing their families to work-related social events, [etc]. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people often lack that support, and need to create their own ways of affirming themselves . . . and heterosexuals also have parades–homecoming, Mardi Gras, wedding dances [etc] and many other kinds of celebrations all affirm heterosexuality”
So again, “pride” simply means something different when referring to either straight or gay, and in each case, may serve different purposes. If Mardi Gras and wedding dances are already a sort of straight-pride event, and we’re totally okay with those, then why do we have a problem with another straight pride event simply called “straight-pride”? Gay-pride may indeed include the overcoming of oppression in years passed – this is something gay pride can include that straight-pride probably doesn’t.
However, I want to dispel a certain notion that straight people “have always been accepted”, and have never faced oppression.
When I was a straight white man, I was told every day how worthless I was; that I was sexist for ever even looking at a woman; that I had only one thing on my mind; that I thought about it every 7 seconds; that any – and I do mean *ANY* – expression of interest in a woman was harassment; that I was the problem; that I was a part of this thing called “patriarchy”; that even though I spent most of my adult life homeless, I was “privileged”; that the only thing I was ever allowed to express was apology and shame for all the “privilege” I had, despite sleeping on park benches; and that the very normal emotions I have for a woman were somehow wrong.
Moreover, as a white straight man, I was definitely the target of public-sphere violence. It was okay to physically challenge me and try to beat me up, because hey, I’m a man, and I can fight back, right? Having street smarts kept me alive numerous times. I knew not to walk down a back alley with a brand new pair of Nikes.
Now that I’m a woman – all of that vanished.
Now, if I have any of those same feelings, it’s my LGBT rights! And you’re a bigot for even lifting an eye-brow. And it’s wrong to hit a woman! While I’m still just as strong and capable as I was before, the difference in how people treat me is extremely obvious. Men no longer challenge me to a fight. That would be silly – I’m a woman. Moreover I can walk down any back alley I want now and you can’t dare mention whether or not that was smart to do, because that’s victim blaming!
Finally, Michele J. Eliason‘s book was published in 1996. Since then, things have changed quite a bit for LGBT people. In fact, here’s a graph provided by Ben Mully, who took the position against having a Heterosexual Pride Day. You can see that post here.
Ben also argues in favor of that additional caveat that the word “pride” carries for the LGBT community.
Pride day [is] a celebration of OVERCOMING oppression so that you can sit comfortably in the year 2016 and say you don’t feel oppressed. The phrase “Gay Pride” started when a very real fight for equality was being waged in America and it’s use is honored in all sorts of LGBT events from Pride days, to Pride Parades, to Pride Fests, etc etc etc. That’s why it’s used in this context. It’s a part of American history that many believe should not be ignored, especially because there are still strong political forces that are pushing a message to take us backwards to a time when homosexuals were treated as second class citizens.
In the same discussion, Ben takes the stance that since gays have a pride day for that reason, it’s precisely why heterosexuals cannot have one; if you’ve never experienced institutional oppression, then you are specifically disallowed from using the word “pride” in this context.
But as we’ve seen, “pride” does not necessarily have to mean or include this one particular thing, or have this particular context. There are many different kinds of pride, and when someone wants to have a pride day, they could be doing so with their own intentions in mind. A holiday based on American pride – or pride for any sports team – would not require the same historical context. Moreover, straight-pride day is not being officially sanctioned by any governing body. It’s simply individuals who want to participate in their own event, with the intention of reaffirming their own identities. And it’s *very* possible to have a straight-pride day without it having an anti-gay agenda. I mean here’s just such an example from a straight woman.
And although there is absolutely no indication that straight-pride must necessarily be anti-gay – there is no spokesman, no doctrine, no pamphlet, no mission statement, and no widely accepted belief or creed necessarily attached to this particular event – that is the only narrative that’s being allowed by the LGBT “community”. To have straight-pride must mean you are anti-gay. Even when there’s almost no one to be found on the straight-pride of the argument saying so. In fact, I’ve been blocked by nearly a dozen people so far on facebook before the post you’re reading now even got posted. Even daring to ask why straight-pride is bad is enough to get insta-banned from the communities I was once a part of. Remember when that sort of treatment was given to anyone supporting an LGBT issue?
Lets take a look at the mainstream reaction to #heterosexualprideday , which is now trending.
First, lets start with the intro.
>> Apparently, people haven’t taken enough away from the LGBTQ community, so it’s time take Pride celebrations from them.
^^^ How on earth are my straight friends, who want to have a pride celebration of their own, taking anything away from me? I mean this is not some faceless, menacing and unfalsifiable “culture” that exists only in narrative. These are real flesh-and-blood people on my facebook who I can message and talk to right now. Some of them are as close as family, and they’d even be willing to invite me TO a straight-pride event as a guest, even though I’m not straight.
Really, who is trying to take away gay prides simply by having straight pride?
>> Straight pride” marches have actually been around since the nineties, and were started by people who opposed any steps forward for LGBTQ rights.
^^^ In the last 30 years, you will be hard pressed to find even 1 straight pride parade. They have not “been around”. The absolute most I could find are rare individual instances, like the two listed above.
And while one of those did have anti-LGBT activists involved, that does not mean that absolutely everyone, from now on, forever, has to be anti-gay simply for having straight pride. In the same sense, I’m 100% certain there have been gay-pride people who were anti-straight. In fact I even remember reading an article on this a while back, but I have no intention on providing links because it just doesn’t matter – the fact that those gay-pride folks were anti-straight does not at all mean I’m that way, just because they were.
Now on to the twitter replies.
^^^ As long as you’re not causing my rent to go up, or making me late for work, I honestly wouldn’t are if you had a #DoTheHokeyPokeyDay . It’s a free country, so organize whatever day you want. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else, and you’re having a good time, by all means, be my guest.
>> You don’t choose your sexuality but you do get to choose if you’re really insecure about it. Happy, #HeterosexualPrideDay!
^^^ Okay so you have to be insecure about your sexuality before you can have a pride day?
Damn. Guess I can’t go to gay-pride then. 😦
>> #HeterosexualPrideDay i have nothing against the heteros, i just dont want it shoved in my face, or on the internet where children can see
^^^ Well, yea. I wouldn’t want anyone shoving something in my face, regardless of what it was. The only time I want you to do that is if it’s French fries after a heavy leg training day.
I’ve had gay folks go on and on about the details of their sex lives without inviting the discussion, to an extent I didn’t feel comfortable with, in an environment where it wasn’t appropriate – and ditto for straight folks.
As far as the internet goes, sure, there are plenty of gay and straight porn sites that I agree kids shouldn’t be looking at. Like we covered, this isn’t 1970, where holding hands is “shoving it in your face”. Gay people hold hands all the time now, and while gay pride may commemorate overcoming such barriers, straight pride doesn’t have to. You’re allowed to feel pride, regardless of whether you’re straight, gay, lesbian, latino, black, or …. or… (yea there’s one race that has to be left out for now, but we’ll get into that in another post).
>> i can’t believe hetero marriage was finally legalized in 1655. It’s been far too long. #HeterosexualPrideDay
^^^ Again, straight pride does not *have* to be about the same thing gay pride is about. I mean one is straight, the other is gay – they’re already not the same. Gay pride can be about overcoming barriers. Straight pride can be simply feeling good about who you are, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
>> The missionary position AMIRITE #HeterosexualPrideDay
^^^ I’m not even sure why this one was included. Straight people only do the missionary position? Gay people never do?
>> you DON’T need #HeterosexualPrideDay because
-nobody thinks your sexuality is invalid or ‘abnormal’
-nobody is taking your rights away
^^^ Problematic when one day, people think being gay is valid and normal, and people aren’t taking your rights away. What then? Probably you’ll have to start dreaming up some “Hetero-archy” (just like the patriarchy) where a group of super rich and powerful hetero-people are causing you to be paid 77 cents for every dollar a straight person makes, or some other such nonsense.
Instead of making your pride day contingent on how oppressed you are and forever will be, why not celebrate your pride day, and then let others – yes, even straight people – be who they are, and do what they want, so long as it’s not bothering you?
It’s simply astounding, with breathtaking exasperation, that the very people who were once told they couldn’t have displays of pride for themselves in public……………. are now telling others they can’t have displays of pride for themselves in public.
^^^ Actually yea, I have friends who are black too. I’ve dated black women. Kinda makes you wonder how that’s possible if I were actually racist. The arguments that come back are usually something akin to “all white people are racist” – because having white skin automatically gives you a certain set of characteristics (which is ironically the definition of racism), and I secretly AM racist, just on some subconscious level that I’m unaware of. This has more to do with you wanting to assume the role of victim than with me actually being racist.
In that same way, it seems you actually want straight-pride to be anti-gay. Keep in mind that there was literally no other prompting that straight-pride, on it’s own, meant anything anti-gay. This is what people came up with on their own as soon as they heard the term, because they insist on an “us-vs-them” mentality. As we get closer and closer to equality, now with gay marriage being legalized, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission now interpreting the Civil Rights Act to include LGBT people, how will you keep this going?
When 2nd Wave Feminism established equality for women, 3rd Wave feminist in the 90s had nothing to fight for. So they began making shit up – like the wage gap caused by sexism, the long debunked theory of objectification, the existence of male privilege, and so on. This is allowed lots of young women a chance to feel persecuted, and “continue fighting” against nonsense that no longer exists, and some that never existed at all.
Is that really where this is going? To stay relevant, do we have to start dreaming up that everyone who isn’t like us is now an enemy out to get us? Do we *REALLY* need to build ourselves up by tearing others down?
It appears so. And that’s why I’m no longer a part of that “community”.