Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she hopes the Straight Pride participants “grow enough over the next year to support / join LGBTQ family next #Pride.”
Pride month may officially be over, but as anyone in the LGBTQ+ community knows, the fight for tolerance and inclusion is a continual work in progress. And even as the glitter settles from this year’s joyous festivities, there’s still plenty more work to be done to ensure everyone is free to openly express their sexuality orientation and gender identity and live their truest, most authentic life.
Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ equality wasn’t top of the agenda for the mostly male parade who took to the streets of Boston for a ‘Straight Pride’ march on Saturday. The parade, made up of dozens of far-right activists, Trump supporters, and free speech advocates marched “for the rights of straights”, which is as bewildering as it sounds, considering society favours those who are straight and cisgendered.
In a video from the parade, the sparse group can be seen waving American flags and marching with posters that read “Straight Lives Matter,” “Make normalcy normal again” and “Take back the rainbow.”
But as New York Rep. and fierce advocate for LGBTQ+ equality, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, sagely pointed out on Twitter, the parade had few female participants. It looked overwhelmingly homogenous, in fact: straight, white men with American flags and pro-Trump signs. Worryingly, according to a Buzzfeed report, the group also has ties to white nationalist groups.
“For men who are allegedly so ‘proud’ of being straight, they seem to show real incompetence at attracting women to their event,” Ocasio-Cortez said one of her blistering Twitter takedowns, alongside footage of the march.
Then, for the mic drop: “Seems more like a ‘I-Struggle-With-Masculinity’ parade to me.’”
“Straight people are an oppressed majority,” John Hugo, the president of the parade’s organising group, said in a statement. “We will fight for the right of straights everywhere to express pride in themselves without fear of judgment and hate.”
And while the organisers’ claim that the objective of the parade is to “achieve inclusivity and spread awareness of issues impacting straights in Greater Boston and beyond,” it doesn’t take a genius to ascertain that there is zero substance to their argument. Do straight people suffer disproportionately from mental health illnesses? No. Do straight people live under the ever-present threat of abuse and violence? No. Do people have their career prospects jeopardised because of their sexuality? No.
The truth is, as Ocasio-Cortez highlighted, that ‘Straight Pride’ is a shameless display of toxic masculinity, promoted by a (thankfully) small group of people going to bizarre lengths to assert their dominance and privilege over a historically oppressed minority.
Instead of giving them our energy, as the congresswoman smartly advised, we can reorient our focus on the LGBTQ+ community “impacted by Boston’s white supremacist parade” by amplifying their voices and experiences. That, and contributing to the Bail Fund for the LGBTQ+ activists who marched in the face of hate to protect the Boston community, and Boston GLASS, which provides a drop in centre, mentoring, and more to QTPOC youth.