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.