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I have charged myself with the task of writing about Straight Pride UK, and what I would love to be able to say about it is that it’s a hilarious new parody thought up by the people who brought us Brass Eye in the 90s. Sadly, it is instead a nasty little ‘organisation’ brought to us by the kind of people who send off for decorative plates advertised in magazines, and who’ll report you for putting out the wrong bin on collection day.
What is Straight Pride UK? According to their website, they ‘seek full straight equality’ and wish to ‘raise awareness of heterosexuality’ (no, really), addressing the imbalance as they see it in a society where they claim straight people are ‘oppressed and silenced’ and where ‘homosexuals have more rights then [sic] others’. The tagline of their website is ‘Campaign for Heterosexual Equal Rights’ whilst the entire content of their site then goes on to stress how heterosexuality is the majority, is natural and is basically the bee’s knees. Throughout, homosexuality is deemed unnatural and wrong – sending out the signal instead that they consider ‘equal rights’ to be nothing of the sort that you or I, or any rational individual without any kind of personality defect, would recognise.
Were it not for the fact that LGBT Pride is still just as important as ever (perhaps more so now when a large proportion of LGB people think same-sex marriage is the end of the fight, and that it’s ‘equal’ without realising trans* and polyamorous relationships are still oppressed under the bill; that transphobia and a heteronormalising culture of gay guys claiming to be ‘straight acting’ and hating camp/feminine gays is justifiable; and a refusal to acknowledge intersections within queer groups based on gender, race and class aren’t woefully abundant), then Straight Pride UK might even be funny. But as it stands, it reads as the biggest scene of privilege denying since Julie Bindel, Caitlin Moran and Suzanne Moore were locked in a room together and someone shouted the words “TRANS SEX WORKERS”.
Call me sceptical, but I’m pretty sure straights (and whenever I mention ‘straight people’ here on in, I refer to cis-gender heterosexuals) don’t need a version of Pride. My reasoning for this being THEIR WHOLE DAMN LIFE IS ONE BIG STRAIGHT PRIDE. I wonder how often in their lives straight people have to come out – not just once, but all throughout their life to new people that they meet – knowing that rejection could be just around the corner? (Something Straight Pride UK reinforce on their homepage, stating: ‘There is nothing right with being homosexual, there is nothing right with being bisexual, and there is nothing wrong with being heterosexual’).
I wonder how many straight people risk being assaulted, either verbally or physically, for something as simple as holding their loved one’s hand in the street or kissing, or dressing in a way that they feel comfortable, or best represents their gender. Beyond this, I wonder how many straight people would face the risk of murder for simply daring to vocalise a wish to be liberated, or how many would commit suicide following a case of press harassment for just wanting to live their life – as in the case of transgender teacher Lucy Meadows.
How often do straight people have to claim that their sexuality even exists, as is the case with bisexuals and the erasure of their presence, or the constant claims of “Oh, they’re just greedy” etc.? Bisexual people not only have the voices of straight people to shout down, but all too often those of homosexuals too.
Recall how frequently it is that straight people are also smeared with inaccuracies in order to demonise them as a dangerous group. Yet persistently, homosexual men are made the subject of such circumstances – such as the backlash that followed the mass AIDS outbreak of the 80s which still holds certain stigmatisations, or the incessant linking of homosexuality in males to paedophilia (unless you’re straight and male and also of a different ethnicity to Brits in which case our media and politicians on the right are more than happy to claim there’s a link there, too.) These attitudes, again, are enforced by Straight Pride UK’s website, who claim that ‘homosexuals… have chosen to be different’ and that straight people are of ‘natural orientation’. (Equality, anyone?)
How many straight people feel that they have to go to designated ‘safe-spaces’ just so that they can be who they want to be, with a minimised (but not completely eradicated) fear of harassment or attack? Unsurprisingly, this is something else Straight Pride UK has a problem with, claiming that ‘they [homosexuals] have the right to take over city streets, dress ridiculously, and parade with danger and contempt’ ultimately heading to ‘their exclusive dump, sorry ‘village’’. They’re right – we do have the chance to march through city streets, dress fabulously, and parade with conviction in certain cities: ONCE A YEAR. Straight Pride UK claims their parade will be made up of ‘normal everyday people, dressed normally, walking and behaving normally’. I don’t know where their heads have been lately, but look out of the window darlings – that’s pretty much every damn street, all year round.
Most poignantly, however – how many straight people had to start a riot following perpetual harassment to get the recognition and rights that they have now? Their whole argument is completely in line with those of male chauvinists, squealing about not having their own version of feminism. You do – it’s called patriarchy. We are all forced to live underneath it. These people, along with Straight Pride UK, are so blind to their own privileges that they only turn blue in the face when it appears some of those privileges may be extended to others.
Straight Pride UK wants ‘the right to march and say that we are straight and proud’. They have it. Every. Single. Day. And as a genderqueer homosexual, I am never allowed to forget it.