Dear Straight People at Gay Pride:

I just got back from my third Pride of the year.

What? I have a lot of Pride!


Anytime a large group of queers congregates in one place I just… want to be there.

But anyway, this was another smallish town pride. They do it at the end of August so that all the college kids who have been away for the summer can participate. And It was great. Guys– it was GREAT! We got our faces painted  and there was burlesque dancing and drag and awesome. Lots of awesome.

But there were also at least two bachelorette parties there. All decked out in matching tiny tank tops with tiaras and sashes and all the vomit inducing bachelorette traditional garb.

And.. guys… it pissed me off.

push matisseLet me clarify, straight people at gay pride, it did not piss me off that there were straight people there. I have nothing against straight people. In fact, I have some really good friends that are straight. I know! I actually *looks around* even have some *whispers* family members that are straight. I don’t… like.. advertise it, but I do. And I love them and try to support them even when I don’t understand the choices that they make. I mean… I don’t understand why they have to be so obvious about their straightness. In the middle of a huge group of people I could just tell that they were straight because they just gave off a straight vibe. And I would appreciate it if they wouldn’t be so blatant about their straightness when I am trying to have good queer fun. But whatever.

In all honesty, straight people, I am happy that straight people come to Pride. I think it is great to show support and to learn more about how queer people experience the world. I think that’s great. For realz.

But what I DON’T think is great… is this…

shinygays2And when Bachelorette parties show up to Pride to oogle at the shiny gays as part of their heteronormative mating rituals…… it’s just not okay. In most of the country it is not legal for LGBTQ people to get married, so when you come wearing a bridal veil, squealing with laughter at the hilariousness of the drag queens, and then leave in a giant  huff because “people keep giving us dirty looks” that is not called ‘being supportive,’ that is called ‘FLAUNTING YOUR PRIVILEGE IN OUR FACES.’ Which we don’t appreciate.

We are not circus performers or zoo animals that are here for your personal entertainment.

We are people. Humans. With rights and feelings and needs.

If you are coming to stand by us in solidarity,

If you are coming to acknowledge your privilege humbly,

If you are coming to say, “I want to learn more about things I don’t know”

If you are coming to declare that none of this should be a fight to begin with, but since it is you are on the side of equal rights and don’t expect to get a cookie for being a basically decent human,

then, welcome. I’m glad you’re here!

Sit over there, observe, take notes and don’t talk too much. Okay, I guess you can dance, but don’t get any of your straight cooties on me.

But if you are just coming to Pride festivals to be entertained by the funny queer people….




*Update: This post is from several years ago and every year in June it has an uptick in views. I’m guessing because folks do some kind of google search about straight people being at Pride events and my blog pops up. That’s awesome. Welcome.

In the current political climate, what I said 4 years ago has even more weight. Chicago Pride is positively teaming with straight people looking to appropriate our celebration by wearing rainbow tutus and getting blackout wasted before the parade passes by. Since my personal safety and the safety of everyone I love is being actively threatened by the current occupants of the White House (excuse me while I barf) I think it’s even more important that straight people understand we are not just your excuse to day drink. You have St. Patrick’s day for that. Or literally any other holiday, really.

I’m not saying don’t come. Come to the Parade. Come to the Fest. But you know what shows actual support? Like, more support than drinking vodka out of a rainbow flask? Calling your representatives and telling them you will not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQIA+ folks. Tell them that trans folks have a right to pee in public restrooms that match their gender identity. Tell them that queer folks have a right to adopt children. Tell them that conversion therapy is barbaric. Tell them that at the time of this writing 11 TWOC have been murdered in the US This. Year. Alone. Give your money to organizations owned by/run by/that support LGBTQIA+ folks. Go see our artists. Donate to our charities. Invest in our businesses.

Don’t invest in the people who want to see us all dead.

That is what support looks like.

12 thoughts on “Dear Straight People at Gay Pride:

  1. I’m not sure why you’re the person in charge of who is welcome at pride events.

    I am a queer identified FTM, raised by lesbian mothers (with involvement from our biological father, a gay man). So I’m welcome, right? Even though you can’t tell I’m queer, and I look like a regular bio guy?

    My wife is a straight identified bio woman. She’s married to an FTM, which I think makes her queer enough to come along, right? Or not? Does it help that she volunteered in the Women’s Center in college?

    My sisters and brothers are all straight-identified, but since they grew up in LGBT culture, they can participate…I think. Maybe we should ask you.

    You can’t guess how someone is affiliated with queer culture, and you shouldn’t try. Unless you believe in a very segregated queer world (and some people do…Mich Fest, I’m looking at you), why not broaden your idea of community to include everyone who feels they have a place at queer events? The point of pride fests, in my opinion, is to extend the pride a community feels into other communities.

    Maybe I’ll see you at a pride event sometime. I’ll be the in the group you don’t think should be there.

    1. Soooooo I get sarcastic when I rant… which is what I was doing. And in my ranting maybe I was unclear so allow me to fix that.
      My frustration is not about appearance. It’s about behavior. It’s about people coming to a Pride Fest because they want to observe the gays in their natural habitat. They want to be entertained by us as if we were trained monkeys, not because they want to support us, which your family obviously does (support us, I mean. And you. And that is AWESOME!!!) These girls, to which I’m referring in my post, pointed and laughed at people as they passed by. They audibly mocked women who were presenting MOC and said terrible things about the drag queens. So my point is– I was frustrated that during one of the few events I feel safe to really be me, I was still being laughed at by the same popular crowd that tortured me in high school. This is what pissed me off. I mean, maybe you like being mocked in your own safe space… but I just don’t.
      I know very well that you can’t tell someone’s gender or sexual identity from appearance alone. And if those girls hadn’t acted like I was a performing seal that was supposed to do flips for them, I wouldn’t have felt the need to rant about it. I have lots of straight friends that I love to come with me to Pride. And my brother, who is straight, is the single best person I know. I love him to come to Pride too, because he doesn’t act like a douche bag. But if my family and friends, straight, queer and in between, came to Pride with me and were being assholes like those girls were, I’d want them to leave also.

  2. Huh. I was writing a response when I saw what you posted about a “trolly comment.” So I’m going to be done. I think you misunderstood an attempt at dialog as trolling.

  3. As an ally I’ve always seen this as a problem. A straight is deemed unworthy amongst lgbt because they are straight. It’s hard to support a group that doesn’t see you as an equal.

    1. It’s not about not seeing you as an equal, especially since straight people are much more “equal” in this country than queer folk. It’s about this is our space, our community, and saying you don’t hate us doesn’t get you a golden ticket and a backstage pass. Being supportive doesn’t make you one of us. Being a decent human being doesn’t earn you a cookie. You’re not entitled to be welcomed into every community of people that you want to, and if you think you have that right… well… the word privilege comes to mind.
      The world is made up of groups of humans… communities of people. Some are based around common interest, some around shared characteristics, some around genetics. As a straight person (and I’m going to just guess that you are a white, straight, male) you are granted access to like 90% of these communities. So you aren’t invited to the after party for that other 10%? Cry me a river.
      If an invitation to the tree house is a prerequisite for your “support” aka believing that I’m an equal human being and deserving of equal rights.. then I’d say your “support” isn’t actually anything resembling support.

  4. I liked this post, it made me feel that I would be welcome at a pride event. Some of the comments seem a bit stupid, I dont think you came across to be anti-straight at all. Male tears lol. I’ve always wanted to go to one because they just look so fun and because its a massive F** you to people who have a problem with people being open about themselves. Such a shame that some people dont recognise their privilige.

  5. I read your post and I couldn’t agree more. I think in some ways these chicks are someone well meaning but don’t see the actual harm they are doing. As a Gay man I have seen this SO much. I will even admit to having perpetuated it by having a few FagHag female friends in the past to whom I was no more than a token Gay they wanted to flaunt like an accessory. I didn’t see the toxicity of them at the time. One would introduce me as her “GAY friend” as if to somehow clarify and identify me. But I digress.
    I actually completely understand when the straights come to the drag shows. They can be fun. Almost are like a comedy show or a circus. But just behave and don’t treat every gay like circus monkey there for your amusement. Relax! We’re people! We have a lot in common. ALOT! LoL.

  6. Yes, you are right, I am guilty as charged….I have Googled “straight people at Pride” and I’m re-upping the conversation for another year. Our local Pride celebration is coming up and I’d like to go….not to the picnic, just the parade. I’ve seen it once before, happened to be at a cafe which was on the parade route, and it was fantastic. Now I would like to go to the parade on purpose, and I wondered what fraction of the LGBTQ community really DON’T want straight people there….am I showing support or just taking up space? I am glad we have a diverse community in our city, and that there’s enough interest, enough people, and enough safety to have a Pride celebration. I just wonder whether most of the participants would rather I show support elsewhere, at some other time.

    1. I think just by asking the question you are already way ahead of the curve. And I think if you want to go to show support, that’s awesome and you should do that! I would just also encourage you to show support in other ways. I think it also depends on where you live. Different cities have different vibes and different ratios of who shows up to the Pride events. Act in the spirit of truly wanting to elevate and support, and you’ll be fine. Happy Pride!!

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