The misplaced idea of straight pride | editorials
The idea of Pride, in this case specifically LGBTQI+ pride, emerged as a response to overpowering social stigma and discrimination faced by people of non-heteronormative gender and sexual identities. Asserting LGBT pride was a way to take a positive stance in the face of violence and humiliation that people faced every day. It is now a way to celebrate sexual diversity, gender variance and promote self-affirmation, dignity, and equal rights. June, in the United States, is celebrated as Pride Month to commemorate the struggles of a people who fought hard to achieve equality in the face of severe brutality and to encourage ideals of equality and dignity for all. It is, therefore, incongruous that a Straight Pride Parade is being organised ostensibly to “demand an end to discrimination against straights”. Ever since such a “Straight Pride” event was announced, it has been going viral on social media, with strong voices both condemning and celebrating such a move.
Given that most of the discrimination and trauma that LGBT persons have faced has been at the hands of those who identify with the heteronormative idea of sexuality and gender, it is hard to buy the stance that this majority is somehow discriminated against. We appear to have come to such a pass that majority communities around the world — a great example is the white working class in America — feels somehow put upon and discriminated against by the rise of equal rights movements. It appears as though the idea of equality and equal rights for all, which necessarily requires an erosion of unwarranted privileges to the dominant community, is threatening to them. It is important, therefore, to recognise that while equality demands an erosion of privilege, it does not threaten the rights of any community. It is this fear of the rise of the minority (in this case, the LGBT community) that finds expression in these muscular ways. While the Pride Parade was devised as a way for those who are afraid to be in public to occupy public spaces and become unafraid of being visible, the concept of straight pride requires that social sanction be granted to the notion that the heteronormative majority’s rights to public space have somehow been curtailed.
Instead of dismissing this as ridiculous, analysing how and why such insecurities take the shape they do might shed some light on the increasing intolerance in the world. Perhaps it needs a more academic approach to understand the insecurities and discomforts of majorities in order to explain to these dominant groups that equality and social justice are not threats, but something to be aspired for.
Jun 14, 2019 20:20 IST