Is there any place in the UK body politic for an organisation devoted to “Straight Pride”? The superficial, liberal answer is probably “yes”. After all, gay folks do it. From London to Manchester, Brighton to Bristol, the annual Gay Pride march and associated celebration make for an increasingly joyous, colourful mid-point to the summer holidays.
What harm can there possibly be in a bunch of straight dudes getting together and “celebrating” their, er, straightness? In the case of Straight Pride UK, this involves hosting a website and the occasional straight pride march and picnic. So no harm at all, unless as Straight Pride UK’s online presence appears to suggest, there's a much meaner, darker resentment of imagined inequality at work here.
According to their website, they wish to “raise awareness of the heterosexual part of society and assure that ...their views are heard”. They object to the fact that homosexuals “have more rights then [sic] any sector of society”. These include "the right to take over city streets, dress ridiculously, and parade with danger and contempt, invade hotels and B&Bs run and owned by people who object to homosexuality, and then sue them when refusal is given”.
They also regularly tweet “straight coming out” stories, though it is unclear whether these are genuine or simply a parody of real LGBT stories.
The real problem lies not with Straight Pride UK specifically, but in the basic premise underlying all such backlash groups, from men’s rights organisations through to the English Defence League: the idea that some minority group has suddenly been handed extra rights. In fact, all that has happened is that this group have begun to receive equal treatment.
Gay people are finally beginning to achieve the same rights as society’s privileged elite - mostly straight white men - who are so used to enjoying their privilege they don’t even know they have it. Members of such backlash organisations don't seem to understand that equality is a zero sum game; if you really want to make society more equal, social structures must evolve, and those with privilege now will find they have (relatively) less of it in future.
Where inequality has been the norm, attempts at redressing the balance are often seen as granting “special rights”, or the government, as Straight Pride puts it, paying too much attention to a homosexual minority. If we look at the wider picture, however the idea that gay people have more rights or a louder voice is simply ludicrous.
Many individuals across the world – in Russia, Iran, Africa – risk prison, torture, death today for merely “coming out”. Then there are the agonies faced by young men and women desperate to come out, even in the UK. To tweet, as Straight Pride UK have done, about a girl glad to be straight and her parents reaction ("they said they would be disgusted if I had been a lesbian & would disown me") is both cruel and irresponsible.
There is no real celebration here. Only a narrow petulant defence of privilege. If this is “pride”, then no, we really don’t need it.