The Problem with Straight Pride
April 26, 2010 06:07 AM (PT)
A few weeks ago, thousands of students across the country, both gay and straight, honored an event called the Day of Silence. It’s a day where students pledge to remain silent in order to honor the harassment that many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students face inside the classroom. After all, upwards of 80 percent of LGBT youth report feeling unsafe inside school.
There are some folks, however, who revolt against the Day of Silence. For them, honoring a day to draw attention to LGBT bullying is nothing more than caving in to the homosexual agenda. Because apparently taking a stand against bullying is heretical.
In a rural school district in Michigan, opposition to the Day of Silence took on a whole new level, with a group of about four dozen students showing up to school wearing “Straight Pride” T-shirts. The subtext? According to a Facebook group developed to organize the “Straight Pride” event, it was to point out that homosexuality was an “abomination,” with one student proudly saying “Hell yeah, that’s what I’m talking about … I’m a queer beater and a chaser lol.”
Not sure LOL is the best way to end that comment. More like WTF?
According to the Michigan Messenger, which interviewed a number of folks about the “Straight Pride” event, the “I’m a queer beater” comment was one of the more tame comments made by supporters of the “Straight Pride” T-shirts. One student even went so far as to suggest that the book of Leviticus calls for gay students to be put to death.
That drew an immediate rebuke from a host of organizations, including from a spokesperson at Michigan’s Triangle Foundation.
"‘Straight Pride’ is a coward’s way of showing off a straight privilege. A ‘Straight Pride’ celebration is a slap in the face to all other forms of relationship recognition," Alicia Skillman, Executive Director of the Triangle Foundation said. "Being able to celebrate, publicly, your form of relationship building is a privilege, a privilege that heterosexuals have day in and day out with no hesitation."
Behind Skillman’s words is an important truth: straight students celebrate “Straight Pride” day in and day out by the mere privileges of heterosexuality. Generally speaking, straight students never have to worry about being beat up or ridiculed for holding their boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s hands. Straight students generally don’t get threatened with being thrown off of a cliff because of their sexual orientation. Straight students don’t get shot in the face during English class because of their sexual orientation. Straight students don’t get teased about their perceived heterosexuality, to the point where they feel suicide is the only option.
In other words, the last thing straight students need is a T-shirt to show their pride. All they have to do is just show up for class.
Meanwhile, over the weekend a new study from Harvard’s School of Public Health became available, illustrating that LGBT bullying is not only a real phenomenon inside America’s schools; it’s a downright epidemic. The study notes that LGBT youth are much more likely to be tormented at school, at rates that many people would think are alarming.
"I think people know there’s discrimination, but they don’t know the breadth or severity of it — or how lasting the impact is," said Andrea Roberts, the lead author of the study.
Yeah, come to think of it, WTF is the more appropriate acronym to end on.
Photo credit: Michigan Messenger