OPINION: #HeterosexualPrideDay Proves Mainstream Homophobia Still Exists

The insensitive hashtag is a sign that, culturally, we still have a lot of work to do.

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On Tuesday, the world celebrated the 47th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It goes without saying that the protests in New York in 1967 constitute one of the most iconic moments in American LGBTQ history. There would be no LGBT Pride Month if not for this historic attack on social injustice and institutionalized homophobia. But only a day later, reality has set in as the hashtag #HeterosexualPrideDay is trending worldwide.

Heterosexual Pride Day? Isn’t that like every day? Sigh.

Moments like this show how we can go a few steps forward only to tumble back dangerously. While many are now mocking it, others actually support it.

You would think that as a culture — despite laws and institutional barriers — we would be more progressive than this. On a platform like Twitter that is known for attracting younger audiences and addressing social issues, it’s quite disturbing to see something so out of touch garner the attention it’s gotten.

LGBT Pride Month isn’t simply about LGBTQ people celebrating being LGBTQ; it’s also a reflection of the sacrifices and resilience it has taken for us to advance. This back and forth on social media reminds me of how individuals ask every February why there is a Black History Month but no White History Month. Yeah, I’m not even going to waste my time arguing that — but this viral Twitter trend might actually make me reconsider.

Truth be told, many of my straight friends really don’t understand why Pride is still needed to begin with. Society has done a good job of making things appear so accepting and inclusive that the idea of having parades and rainbow flags feel outdated. People really think elected officials, the religious right, and the deep South are the only ones keeping the LGBTQ community from prospering. That’s just flat out not true — there are so many other contributing factors within pop culture and our social culture that hinder progress.

For one, the fact that folks still feel as though straight people are being left out of recognition in some cultural public tradition shows how absentminded society can be. Let’s not forget that legalized weddings were not too long ago the ultimate straight people’s ritual. And even today most of our bathrooms, films, and public accommodations still make LGBTQ people feel like second-class citizens.

The reason why there should be no comparisons regarding both groups is because one is striving to obtain the same equality the other one already has. Straight people don’t need any more selective celebration of their identity because they’re the silent yet visible majority. This should be common sense. Tragically, Twitter has shown us that it just might not be.

It would be nice for everyone — including allies — to actually take some time to understand what Pride really is. No, don’t just plan to go to one next year, seriously do some background on what led to the formation of this historic annual event. Because hopefully then will society stop trying to feel as though marginalized communities are receiving preferential treatment for fellowships that are all about striving to have what clearly many have taken for granted.