Why Straight Pride Doesn't Exist

Why Straight Pride Doesn't Exist

Let's get one thing straight- everything is.
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It is currently October 11th, National Coming Out Day, as I am writing this and once again, I woke up grateful, happy, and proud of my decision to come out over two years ago. However, this initial reaction quickly dissipated once I logged onto social media to do my daily rounds and found the question that I had completely, and fortunately, forgotten about - “Why isn’t there a national straight people day?”

Once more, my heart sank, my eyes rolled to the back of my head, and I had to hold myself back from throwing my phone across the room.

But then I realized this would make a great article topic, so here I am, your friendly, neighborhood gay girl answering one of the most ignorant questions I’ve ever had to answer.

So why isn't there straight pride? If there's gay pride, shouldn't there be straight pride? Yanno, equality and all?

To understand the current concept of gay pride, let’s go back to the start, back to the late 60s, back to the Stonewall Riots where gay pride was born.

The Stonewall Inn was an underground gay bar located in Greenwich Village of New York. Why was it underground? Because being gay was illegal and punishable. Not only was it illegal, but it was genuinely unsafe for gays to be out publicly because they ran a high risk of being beaten or killed. So, underground bars were designed to be a safe place for the LGBT+ community.

On June 28th, 1969, police raided The Stonewall Inn, as they had in the past. Unlike the previous times though, the people were not going to let them win and so they did the only thing they could do— they fought back.

Marsha P. Johnson, a trans woman of color and a prominent figure in LGBT+ rights threw a brick and from there, the riots began, and the police were barricaded inside the club. This lasted three days until finally, they had won.

Following this pivotal moment, other members of the LGBT+ community began to speak up and fight back against the injustices they had tolerated for far too long.

Thus, a year after the Stonewall Riots, June 28th, 1970, the first Gay Pride Parades were held and LGBT+ Pride had begun.

There’s the first answer to that dreaded question — gay people literally, physically fought for their right to exist peacefully. It still baffles me that my own existence was considered illegal at one point (and still is in 74 countries), but it serves as the foundation of this article. I know damn well that if the Stonewall Riots didn’t occur, LGBT+ history would be entirely different, hell, maybe it would be nonexistent, and I owe so much gratitude to the pioneers of the LGBT+ Rights movement.

Another reason straight pride fails to exist? Aside from the fact that it’s unnecessary?

We live in a heteronormative society, meaning that yes, society is *gasp* centered around heterosexuality. Think about it, for just a second— The couples on TV commercials? Straight. Characters in novels? Straight. Characters in romantic comedies? Straight.

Aside from the very hetero-centric media representation, maybe reflect on your own experiences. For example, growing up I was always asked if I had a boyfriend, or which guys in my class I thought were cute— the concept of asking whether I had a girlfriend or which girls I thought were cute didn’t cross people’s minds prior to my coming out.

Being straight is the very unfortunate “norm” set in our society and just another way that LGBT+ identities are erased.

Additionally, living in this heteronormative society has its own consequences, such as being afraid to hold your significant other’s hand in public, gay conversion therapy, lack of LGBT+ sexual education, limited amount of positive and diverse LGBT+ representation in media, fear of coming out due to possible backlash from loved ones, legal discrimination laws, and the list goes on and on.

Living in this society cultivated by straight people, lead to the need for LGBT+ pride because we wanted safe spaces to be ourselves and days to celebrate our identities.

Basically— National Straight People Day exists every day of the year, minus October 11th.

So please, if you’re actually asking this question, realize you are a part of the problem and are a reason why gay pride exists.

Let us have this one goddamn day out of 365.

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My Asexuality Is The Last Thing I Hate About Myself

Oh, by the way - mom and dad, I'm Ace!
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This week my fellow UCF Odyssey writer and asexual Chris Mari wrote an article explaining his asexuality and his complete detest for it. He goes into detail about how is sexual orientation developed, what it is, and how he feels about how it affects his relationships. It is a really insightful article about the accepting process of discovering your own sexuality.

However, I feel like Chris is taking this the wrong way. Being asexual, or any sexuality for that matter, is nothing to be ashamed of and you should never hate yourself for it. It took me a while to figure it out and it took me even longer to accept it. But once I did, my life, relationships, and my view on my asexuality got better. I don't see it as a curse or a disease. I see it as being a part of the awesome person I am (not to brag).

There are many things that I don't like about myself, but my sexuality is not one of them. I hate that I am messy, that I like to mix all of the fountain drinks into one cup, and that I am a terrible driver. I do not hate the fact that I am a five-foot-two asexual woman who eats a lot of pasta.

To be clear, like most sexualities asexuality has a spectrum with different attraction levels and variances between each individual. There are many types of asexuality and each type varies on sexual orientation, lack of sexual attraction, and romantic orientation, which is completely different from sexual orientation. At its core, being asexual means that you lack sexual attraction to others, have low sexual desire, and never initiate sexual activity.

Asexuality means many things to many different people. You can still be in a sexual relationship with someone and still consider yourself to be asexual. You can be attracted to others and still have romantic relationships and still be asexual. It does not have to confine you, your relationship, or you sex/non-sex life.

Unlike Chris, I figured out my asexuality as a teen. Around my senior year in high school, I noticed that I wasn't experiencing the same feelings towards sex and sexual desire as a lot of my friends. For a long time, I thought that there was something wrong with me. I blamed it on me being "too mature" for relationships in high school, and that "all the guys in my grade were unattractive." Which, by the way, was not true.

It wasn't until I started Googling these question I had that I found out what the issue was. I am asexual. And it wasn't until the first relationship I had that I realized I was more of a gray-asexual than strictly asexual. I sometimes feel sexual attraction to others, but only when a strong emotional connection is formed, and even then my sexual attraction is little to none.

Having sex does not mean having a relationship and having a relationship does not mean having sex. Trust me, I know. A romantic relationship is built on a strong emotional connection, respect, and intimacy, which does not necessarily mean sex. My past relationships were built on strong emotional connections and mutual respect. Sometimes there have been feeling of sexual attraction, but in a lot of cases, there weren't. If/when I am in a relationship, there is a lot of emotional intimacy, caring, and a lot more Netflix binging than in most non-asexual relationships.

Chris, it sounds like you are still dealing with the fact that you are asexual. And let me tell you, from my own experience, once you accept it your feelings towards it won't be so negative. There is an entire community of people like you and I that understand what you are going through. But this is something that you shouldn't hate yourself for.

Being asexual does not mean you are broken, have a disease, and are not capable of being in a relationship. If you surround yourself with accepting people, accept who you are as a person, and find that person who loves you for who you are and not your asexuality, then you will see how awesome it is to be who you are meant to be. Trust me, it's good to be part of the plus! We give it that extra credit!

Cover Image Credit: Jon Ly

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A Day In Immigration Court

"America is a nation founded by immigrants" could not be more true in this space.

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This past month, I started my summer internship with a local immigration attorney. Throughout the summer, I will be observing the day-to-day responsibilities of an immigration law office, which includes observing client appointments, compiling evidence and legal research for cases, and attending hearings at the federal immigration court in New York City. Immigration court is vastly different than anything I had ever experienced, and the harsh reality of the American immigration system manifests itself in the immigration courts themselves. Yet after only a couple of days witnessing various hearings in court, I want to look beyond the inefficiencies ingrained in our current immigration system and instead paint a picture so that you can understand the underlying effects of the American dream taking place.

There are two floors designated for the immigration courts in the federal building. After exiting the elevator, there is an overwhelming presence of individuals and family units awaiting their presence in court. One time I saw a woman holding a baby that was days old outside of the courtroom. Courtrooms are numbered and labeled with the last name of the immigration judge on the door, and individuals are expected to wait outside with either an attorney, accredited representation, or any other people accompanying the respondent before his or her trial.

Aside from the large conglomerate of immigrants on this floor, there are multiple signs taped to the walls contain directions in languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, etc. While on these floors, you cannot help but be surrounded by different people, languages, and cultures. In its essence, this is the presence of the American "melting pot" at its finest. There is something inherently beautiful about intersecting cultures and ways of life, and being in the presence of such different people can allow yourself to open your eyes to such different perspectives. Is that not what America is about?

The popular saying, "America is a nation founded by immigrants" could not be more true in this space.

Since my first time at immigration court, I have witnessed individuals win and individuals lose their case. However, a loss does not have to be the end for some individuals. There is an option to appeal the decision from the immigration judge to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) within thirty days. In cases where the individual receives legal status, it feels as though a large burden is placed off of the individual's shoulders. No longer do they have to struggle through the American immigration system after years of perseverance, and in some cases, individuals can move towards becoming an American citizen.

It is almost funny to think that my presence in a government building could spark an inspirational motivator. However, I think my experience in immigration court is more humbling than anything. It puts into perspective the lengths that individuals take to make their case in front of a judge. For them, America is worth fighting for. Although there are various inefficiencies within the current immigration system, I am not trying to romanticize the reality of immigration court. Most of the time, the lines are long, interpreters are unavailable, and cases are more difficult than ever to win. However, instead of focusing on these points, I think it is important to re-focus on the bigger picture behind the immigration courts, realizing the positives amidst all of the negatives.

Although this is only the beginning of my internship, I am excited to see where this opportunity will lead me. I am excited to hear the stories of others, which showcase their determination against hardship and persecution. And I am determined to not only witness but also initiate change first-hand, one case at a time.


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