Happy Pride, and: “Straight Pride” is a Misnomer

Pride month (June) has become an overarching celebration for all LGBTQ people. If you attend a pride event you’ll probably hear the word queer a lot. During June we celebrate diversity and the fluidity of gender and sexuality.

Listening to Dan Savage the other day in the car (which my new tedious drive home has given me the time and space to do) I heard him chat a bit about straight pride. The usual, predictable, yawn-worthy “but what about straight pride?” retorts that come about every spring.

I really like Dan’s response, because he tells listeners that straight people should have pride in their sexuality. Not in being straight, but in having the choice to be or not be as sexual as you want to be.

Your typical heterosexual cis-person doesn’t need to fight for any of the same rights that someone who is trans or gay has needed to /continues to fight for, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t different themes of identity struggle or identity celebration.

All people – regardless of gender or sexuality – can struggle with the free and open expression of sexuality. Having pride in your sexuality means celebrating you the way that you are.

It’s not actually “straight pride”

Calling it straight pride is a misnomer. We celebrate gay pride because of the struggle that non-heterosexual people have had to go thorugh, and continue to go through. It’s not about saying “hey, listen about how excited I am about being gay!” Straight people don’t need to validate the existance of their identity/sexuality because literally no one gives a shit. (Therefore, dedicating a month to celebrating how amazing being straight is would be a real dick move.) During PRIDE we remind ourselves that the LGBTQ community shouldn’t have to validate themselves, either.

But sexuality is still something we can feel proud about!

When celebrating identity and sexuality we can use that opportunity to break down the boundaries of what it means to be heterosexual. We can think more critically about what sexual orientation means and how it (and the boxes that define things like heterosexuality) limit us.

We can also use it as an opportunity to better understand why sexual expression is still under attack (see: abstinence only education, the war on women’s bodies.)

Take the month of June to focus on your LGBTQ friends and family. There will be an extra-ton of resources available to you! Read more about current issues and see where and how you can get involved. Carry froward this work forward as the year goes on.

After you get a handle on that, take some quiet time to think about what your own sexual identity means, and how you can better own it.

How are you celebrating PRIDE this month?

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