Opinion: Straight Pride Parades are unnecessary

On+Saturday%2C+Aug.+31%2C+Boston+held+the+largest+Straight+Pride+Parade+in+history%2C+one+week+after+a+much+smaller+one+in+Modesto%2C+California.
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Opinion: Straight Pride Parades are unnecessary

On Saturday, Aug. 31, Boston held the largest Straight Pride Parade in history, one week after a much smaller one in Modesto, California.

On Saturday, Aug. 31, Boston held the largest Straight Pride Parade in history, one week after a much smaller one in Modesto, California.

Photo provided by: Aurora Jimenez Castro

On Saturday, Aug. 31, Boston held the largest Straight Pride Parade in history, one week after a much smaller one in Modesto, California.

Photo provided by: Aurora Jimenez Castro

Photo provided by: Aurora Jimenez Castro

On Saturday, Aug. 31, Boston held the largest Straight Pride Parade in history, one week after a much smaller one in Modesto, California.

Joelle Wittig, Editor-in-Chief

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Hundreds of people paraded through the streets of Boston, Massachusetts, chanting and waving flags in the air. This enthusiastic and lively group was bonded through one shared trait: they were all straight.

Yes, you read that right. On Saturday, Aug. 31, Boston held the largest Straight Pride Parade in history, one week after a much smaller one in Modesto, California. They called their organization Super Happy Fun America, as if compensating for the lack of “Happy Fun” truly present. Before getting into why this parade is all kinds of wrong, let us gain some perspective by recognizing the history behind Pride Parades.

When homosexuality was illegal across the United States, the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York, served as an LGBTQ haven and refuge. On June 28, 1969, nine New York Police Department officers raided the building and, for the first time in history, thousands of patrons stood up for themselves with four days of violent and nonviolent protests against discriminatory laws. These became known as the Stonewall Riots. This caused a much needed scene that raised awareness and courage, ultimately sparking the present-day pride movement. On the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first Gay Pride Parade took place and every year since then they are organized throughout the country.

Clearly, a Pride Parade is not an excuse to party or brag, but to celebrate those who paved the way before us. In many ways, the parade is still a riot, asking for equality and recognition. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, those in the LGBTQ community are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other minority group. Having a Pride Parade is a necessary reminder of the togetherness of the community.

Straight Pride Parades, however, make a mockery of the reasons behind having these celebrations in the first place. It is a complete disregard of the discrimination and threats that the LGBTQ community faces on a daily basis. It was not until 2015 that same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide and is still illegal in over 70 countries around the world. Many entitled straight people forget the privileges they receive all year round and they turn against the LGBTQ community for taking the attention away from them during Pride Parades. The Super Happy Fun America official website includes a list of companies who refused to sponsor their own parade and thus do not “support the straight community,” demonstrating the attention-seeking and uneducated viewpoints of the parade’s founders.

Not only do Straight Pride Parades undermine the oppression and history of the LGBTQ community, but many use it as an excuse to spread homophobic messages and demonstrate their disaproval of those who are different from themselves. They carried signs through the parade with negative connotations of minority issues, such as “Straight Lives Matter,” an immature play off of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, as well as phrases like “It’s Great to be Straight” that disregards the fact that many others do not have the ease of being a majority in a heteronormative society. The parade was not a meaningful contribution, but a way for participants to share their beliefs and opinions with the intention of bringing others down.

Many people claim that having a Straight Pride Parade is only fair since there is a Gay Pride Parade. They weaponize equality against those truly fighting for it, insisting that their own privileges are being taken away. This argument is uneducated and pains me to hear. The parade is a celebration of growth, a remembrance of the past, a promise for the future. If straight people wish to support the LGBTQ community and take part in a parade, there is room in Gay Pride Parades for allies to participate, as long as they recognize they are guests within a queer space.

Having a Straight Pride Parade is unnecessary. It is simply another example of a majority group taking the culture and history from a minority and making it their own. Hopefully, as we continue to spread awareness of the importance of the Pride Parade, the straight community will understand it is not theirs to claim.

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