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In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, I'm seeing people post "Straight Pride" things. Now, I have no objection to straight people being proud of their sexuality and their families, but posting that probably means that they don't understand why queer people feel the need to assert their pride publicly. It probably means that they are not aware that straight people have always been able to casually show pride in their sexuality and in their loved ones. They never had to fear flirting with someone in a bar or at a party would lead to them being attacked. They never felt obliged to date someone they had no interest in to look "normal". They never had to fear the consequences of talking about their love at work, at school, at church, at the grocery store, or at Christmas dinner.

I remember being on my first day at a new job, and a very young attorney there was obviously embarrassed to say the word "lesbian". I wanted to say, it's OK to say it, it's not a bad word, but I was afraid that if this was a place where it wasn't OK to even say the word, speaking up could lead to me losing that job. I needed to keep that job so I could support my daughter. I kept my mouth shut (though I didn't feel good about doing so).

I remember when people called their LGBT friends in far away cities to say, "I'll march in your pride parade if you'll march in mine" because the parades were mostly covered by local news, which made marching in your own city much more dangerous than marching a few hours' drive away. I was asked to the first Milwaukee Gay Pride Picnic, not because I am bi, but specifically because I was a college student attending school in a different state, so my face on the Milwaukee news wouldn't mean I would lose my job or be outed to my family.

Straight people have always been free to speak openly about their sexuality, talking about their spouses and other romantic relationships, their weddings and anniversaries and breakups, their loved one's health and welfare, and so on. In short, straight people were always allowed to be proud about and open about their sexuality. They never had to worry they would lose their jobs if they even briefly mentioned their loved one--heck, they could bring a spouse or romantic partner to company parties (even if said spouse was a doofus). They never had to prevaricate about the nature of their primary relationship to keep a job or a friend. They never had their child not want to invite friends to their home because the friends would realize Mommy isn't "normal", and said child reasonably feared that would lead to social consequences at school.

Maybe in the future, now that marriage equality is law, we will get to a point where it is not an act of bravery to say, "I'm queer", but we're not there yet. Saying that IS still an act of bravery, an act that risks the person you say it to trying to shame you or harm you (or your family) in some way.

The pride movement isn't a narcissistic "I think highly of myself" thing. It is a reaction to being told, hundreds or thousands of times, that we should be ashamed to be who we are and of loving who we love. It is proactively fighting all those negative words and actions, fighting for the right to be simply yourself despite valid reasons to fear the consequences of people knowing who you are--and fighting for the next generation, hoping for the time when people like us won't have to be afraid, when we will be able to be as casually and innocently proud of our relationships and families as anyone else, without fear, without harassment and certainly without risk of financial ruin or physical attack.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2015 01:46 pm (UTC)
Yes this. Very much so.

There aren't any straight pride parades because straights haven't suffered centuries of discrimination and hate for being straight. "Straight pride" is at best silly and at worst an attempt to deny the need for LGBT pride.
Jun. 29th, 2015 04:04 pm (UTC)
You know, for some people it is an attempt to belittle or put down queer people's pride. But I think, for a lot of people, it is just an inability to imagine how encompassing the effects of being queer is on a person's daily life.

Also, this country does treat sexuality as something shameful a lot of the time. For some, it may be an attempt to fight back against that, to say, "Despite what the priests and everyone else says, my sexuality (even if it's the most vanilla hetero sort around) is not something to be ashamed of." And if that is the case, while their protest isn't aimed properly, because the oppression they are fighting isn't aimed at their sexuality so much as all sexuality, well, it's at least a start. Attacking them won't make them feel better about themselves or about us.
Jun. 29th, 2015 04:37 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Okay, I haven't seen much "straight pride" so perhaps I am misinterpreting it as being kin to "white pride" movements. To the degree it is simple sex-positive pride, of course I have no problem with it.
Jun. 29th, 2015 04:52 pm (UTC)
It's hard to say why people share memes like this without talking to them at some length, but at least one man who shared one recently has never seemed, to me, to have a problem with queer people.
Jun. 29th, 2015 03:21 pm (UTC)
Ya know ... I thought I understood Gay Pride quite well--so many friends over the years being gay and all. After reading this post, I realize that I only sort of understood. I got the general need for Gay Pride and some of the cultural reasons for standing up in public and "waving the rainbow flag" so-to-speak.

But I never thought through all the day-to-day or even minute-to-minute concerns and stresses that gay individuals need to deal with regarding the "simple" fact of their partner's gender. And I hadn't realized about the marching in other cities' parades being a factor in protecting your job and your safety.

My understanding has just grown. Thank you for educating me.

Oh, yeah...and Congratulations to all who've dealt with the above on getting through it to the point where the Supreme Court recognizes (and decrees!) important human rights that have heretofore been denied and argued.
Jun. 29th, 2015 03:58 pm (UTC)
As far as I know, people don't, any more, trade cities to march in their pride parades. But there are still plenty of states where you can be openly fired for being queer, or have your children taken from you in a custody dispute, or refused the right to adopt a child.

My partner, when she transitioned, was refused the right to visits with her children unless she was dressed as a man. And visiting with them wasn't exactly safe where she lived--she used to give talks to medical students, since her psych was a teaching doctor, and she says the last talk she gave, she started with the fact that things seemed to be getting a little better, since no one had pulled a gun on her in over a year. There were streets she didn't walk down because the drivers would get so distracted by her they would get in an accident, and she didn't want her mere presence to be the cause of harm to an innocent bystander. She used to accept invitations to sit in a service at a church, and then let herself be bodily thrown out when she said politely that she believed her Goddess liked her just the way she was. My experiences have been very mild, in comparison.

Thanks for reading! It's hard to really understand the daily issues someone else faces when you can't walk in their shoes.
Jun. 29th, 2015 04:28 pm (UTC)
Yes. Thank you very much for saying this.
Jun. 29th, 2015 04:39 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome!
Jun. 30th, 2015 02:53 am (UTC)
When I think about you and Vicki, being so open about being pansexual and poly, I feel rather cowardly that I still -- STILL -- hesitate to associate my real name with my LJ and all the truths I've posted there. :/
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 30th, 2015 12:42 am (UTC)
Thank you. *hugs*
Jun. 30th, 2015 03:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not a big fan of Pride (Mac had to march behind Bible-thumping bigots the entire way--no, they weren't protesters, they were PART OF THE PARADE) but I appreciate its existence.

I know trans friends who after coming out were disowned, fired, divorced, pushed into sex work, or made homeless. I have a private loathing for all the focus on pretty young dead trans people, so people can bemoan and wail instead of helping trans people STAY ALIVE. We make good martyrs, but people seem to have very little interest in us if we aren't young, pretty, and dead.

This is a good post. Good on you for making it.

Jun. 30th, 2015 03:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

I don't know if pride parades are really the issue. I think what has changed public opinion is being visible. It's hard to be afraid of queer people when you know a bunch of people who are no more flawed than anybody else who also happen to be queer. By being seen and interacting with people anywhere, we fight the stereotypes. We become real in people's minds and hearts.

And pride parades and pride festivals and rainbow flags and so on--all those make us undeniably visible. Marriages of old queer people on TV, crying with joy like anybody else, but more, because they waited for 20 or 30 or 50 years to be able to publicly proclaim their love make us undeniably visible. And every bit of it matters.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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