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No, “Straight Pride” is Not a Thing

No, “Straight Pride” is Not a Thing

Earlier this week a GOP candidate for the Texas state board of education named Lady Teresa Thombs shared a photo calling for “straight pride.” When she was called out, she defended herself by saying that she loves the sinner but hates the sin, just like how we still love murderers but not the murders they commit. Because gay people are like murderers, I guess.

No. No. No. Lady Teresa Thombs, you’ve just made it worse.

While that murderer comment is bad, it’s pretty easy to demolish. Being gay doesn’t hurt anyone. Being a murderer does. That’s kind of the definition of murderer.

But let’s talk for a second about pride movements. (Also, consider this a warning to all of you who are planning on making white history jokes come February.)

The point of pride movements – be they gay pride, or black pride, or whatever – is to take back some legitimacy for a group that the larger society has deemed illegitimate. It’s a way for an oppressed group to own what makes them different and say that those differences don’t make them subhuman.

I’m a straight, white, cis person living in the United States. I’m only a penis and a few million dollars away from being dealt the royal flush of life. Still, there’s a lot of privilege there. I live in a world that values these things over the alternatives. Even if I don’t want to unfairly benefit from this, I do simply by virtue of being. This is why “straight pride” is insulting, and it’s also why you shouldn’t ask why there isn’t a white history. The world benefits being straight and white every day in ways that can be hard to notice.

It’s of course OK to be proud of your heritage. Those differences make the world a more interesting and wonderful place. They provide different perspectives and ways of thinking. However, if you come from a background (i.e. white, straight) that is generally valued more than others, you need to be careful.

This is true even if you or your ancestors never owned slaves. This is true even if you’ve never thrown a homophobic slur. Because the world as we know it has been shaped by the actions of people who did those things. Today’s national borders were shaped by colonialism. The United States is still trying to shake off the legacy of slavery. Homophobia was so ingrained that it’s codified in law. Even if you don’t want to benefit from these things, if you’re white and straight, you probably do.

None of this privilege makes you a bad person. I cannot say this enough. Just because you benefit from a bigoted history doesn’t make you a bad person. What does make you a bad person is if you try to wedge yourself into the conversation about an oppressed group’s issues and history.

There isn’t a “straight pride” movement because there doesn’t need to be one. Homosexuality has been largely erased from history, and we’re only just now starting to get it back. The gay rights movement has made a lot progress over the past few decades, but there are still a lot of terrible people who suffer no consequences for being openly hostile to gay people. Co-opting pride movements is just another mechanism by which to hide or minimize oppressed groups, and it’s really not OK.

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Photo Credit: Tim Green via Flickr

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241 comments

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2:54AM PST on Jan 30, 2014

Why can't straight people have pride? or white?

11:25AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

There is no need for "straight pride" but there is a need for people to stop pressuring each other about sex and sexuality, on all sides from all angles.

5:29PM PST on Jan 26, 2014

thanks

2:08PM PST on Jan 26, 2014

Gay-straight-black or white---we should all be proud to be who we are.

4:26PM PST on Jan 25, 2014

Michelle S.
Being oppressed is absolutely not the same as "inability to oppress others".

Rape and child abuse are illegal in our society. Do you think rapists and child abusers are being oppressed?

3:35PM PST on Jan 25, 2014

Sounds to me, Michelle, as if what you REALLY want is the ''freedom'' to be incredibly RUDE by waving your religion around like a flag...whether anyone shares that religion or not.

Ever considered how rude it is to impose your religion on people who don't share it?

Think about that.

3:32PM PST on Jan 25, 2014

.........help subsidize. Best keep a low profile on that one, Michelle....I know more than a few citizens who are about to launch a large tax-reform campaign to eliminate tax breaks for religious institutions.

3:31PM PST on Jan 25, 2014

Michelle "Kids can't pray in school, schools can't have anything Christian showing, even if it is a part of the school's history, school sports teams are not allowed to pray before a football game, prayer is not allowed before any sort of government meeting, the 10 Commandments have been removed from our courthouses."

+++++++++++ OF COURSE kids can pray in school...SILENTLY. Sounds as if you're pissed because the Constitution forbids endorsement of religion in PUBLICLY-funded areas....schools, courts, etc.

Sounds to me as if you're pissed because you can't cram your religion down the throats of the rest of us.

Sounds to me as if you REALLY want to live in a theocracy....GREAT! Move to Borneo! Move to Iraq! Move to Saudi Arabia! Send your child to parochial school!

Get over it, Michelle! You're not ''oppressed." You're allowed to worship your deity any time you go to church or pray at home or host a prayer meeting in the church hall! Nobody says you can't be Christian! Nobody says you can't raise Christian children! And...as I suggested...if you want them praying publicly in school...PAY FOR PAROCHIAL SCHOOL!

Just don't expect to provide that kind of experience with the tax money of millions of others who are not Christian.

What you CANNOT do is try to jam your religion into the lives of others who have paid taxes to subsidize public schools, courthouses, etc.

And do I need to remind you you're worshipping in a building which MY taxes help s

12:45PM PST on Jan 25, 2014

The only reason I ask is because I know that many Christians seem to miss why gay people feel oppressed by them, so I figure maybe as a Gay person I am missing something. I do know that Christians have the same rights other people have other than LGBTQ people, so please enlighten me. How is it you are oppressed.

12:27PM PST on Jan 25, 2014

Michelle S.
I would love to know what it is about christians that make them think they are oppressed. Is it because people don't want them passing laws to for their beliefs on others. Other than that I do not understand. You are still the majority, You are still allowed to believe what you like and have services. No one has yet to strip you of any rights or freedom, other than what some perceive as their right to force their beliefs on others. How exactly are Christians oppressed?

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