This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which effectively revolutionized the LGBTQ Rights movement in the United States.
And while, in 2019, we have truly come so far and have so much to be grateful for, homophobia and transphobia haven’t just simply disappeared. Each and every day, queer and trans people have to fight for our individual and collective rights to be respected and to be treated equally under the law. Trans women of color are still being murdered at disproportionate rates, discrimination is still legal in many states, and hate crimes still go unanswered for.
Yes, Pride is a celebration. It’s a lively and colorful party, as it should be. But it’s also a reminder of how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go.
We celebrate Pride because we have been discriminated against and told we are not worthy of the same rights that straight and cisgender people have. We have been told we’re abominations, that we’re going to hell, and that asking to be treated equally is simply asking too much. We celebrate Pride because, in spite of all this, we are still here and we’re not going away.
So, when straight white men call us privileged and make a mockery of our struggles, our hardships, and our victories by organizing their own “Straight Pride” parades, it is not just moronic or misguided. It’s a slap in the face to all the children who were forced to undergo conversion therapy and later took their own lives or were forced to live in shame. It’s a slap in the face to all the queer and trans people who have been brutally attacked, raped, and murdered and never got the justice they deserved. It’s a slap in the face to all the people who might still be here today if HIV/AIDs hadn’t initially been labelled a “gay disease” and therefore deemed unworthy of funding for researching treatments and prevention.
Straight cisgender people, particularly straight white men, have never had to live in fear because of who they love or how they identify. Their rights have never been in question due to sexual orientation or gender identity. Simply put, this is not a game. Waving a beige flag around and banging your chests in the name of heterosexuality isn’t pride. It’s narcissism.