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.
Let 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…
And 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.