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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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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I Won't Forgive The Anti-Semitic Students Of Spain Park, Not Yet

Maybe it isn't time for an apology.

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I am Jewish. It is something I have never been afraid of and something I value as much in life as I do with my family and friends. Throughout my life, though I have witnessed hate of the Jewish people and jokes made about Jewish people.

In high school, I had to listen to jokes about Jews and the gas chambers and was asked because I was Jewish if I could do someone else's math homework.

To say I had to deal with anti-Semitism in the South does not come close to describing what I had to go through. As time went by the jokes stopped and I thought I would not have to deal with instances of prejudice or bigotry but I was wrong. Growing up as one of the only Jewish people in my friend group and in high school it made me consider myself strong and ready for college but in my freshman year I had to go through other jokes about my religion and even in sophomore year had to witness someone I thought was my friend make a joke about my religion because "he thought it was funny."

I let the instances of anti-Semitism serve as times when I could prove people wrong I learned to forgive and forget.

But I had to witness other acts of hate towards Judaism while in college. From swastikas on a fraternity house, a synagogue shooting, the BDS movement and more hate speech, the hate towards Jews have seemed to grow and I do not understand why. I get hurt each time I hear of an instance but it has not allowed me to view my Judaism any differently. However, there was an occurrence that has affected me in a different way.

It happened in my home state and it has not sat well with me.

On Monday a video surfaced of multiple high school students making anti-Semitic and anti-Black comments. The video featured a guy turning around the camera multiple times to show he was laughing and thought it was funny while others made comments about concentration camps, what would happen if Jews ruled the world and asking what the world would be like without the Holocaust. The students were from Spain Park in Birmingham and have gathered quite a reputation online.

To say I am filled with anger, disappointment, and embarrassment is an understatement.

This is my home state and these students are not only disrespecting the Jewish and Black people in the state of Alabama but throughout the US and possibly even in the world. I am hurt by this instance but I am not ready to forgive these students just yet.

After the video was leaked online some of the students sent messages to the person who uploaded the video apologizing. That I took as a mature gesture until I read the apology from the girl in the video. The apology asked if the user could remove the video because it would ruin her life and reputation. It was later found out that the female student is the daughter of the manager of the Toyota dealership in Hoover after the manager posted an apology.

Any remorse I had going for these students was now gone.

They were not sorry. They were sorry that they got caught and were facing consequences. They gave the apology that your parents made you say when you did not want to apologize. They did not care about who they had harmed or what they had said, they cared because they had to face consequences and they know that this mistake would follow them for the rest of their life.

I'm at a loss for words.

I don't know how to feel. I know someone will tell me I am overreacting but how am I supposed to approach this? What they said was wrong and there is no proper way to express frustration for it. I know people get offended by certain things but some things are not meant to be a joke. So I hope what you said was worth it and was fun to say because it will follow you for the rest of your life. Some lessons are best-learned overtime and it looks like you will have a chance to reflect on these events.

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