For years, June has been — both unofficially and officially — celebrated as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Yet for every person amplifying the visibility of the historically marginalized LGBTQ+ community, there are those who questioned when straight cisgender people are going to get their day. On Thursday, one of the last days of Pride Month, "Heterosexual Pride Day" became Twitter's top trending hashtag.
The hashtag was dominated by those challenging the loud and proud commemorations of equality, but in the course of the day, it was taken over by people pushing back on calls for "heterosexual pride."
According to LGBTQ+ advocates, there's one glaring error to arguments behind the need for a so-called heterosexual pride day — every day, they argue, counts as heterosexual pride day. "Gay Pride was not born out of a need to celebrate not being straight but our right to exist without prosecution," LZ Granderson wrote in a 2013 op-ed tilted Why isn't there Straight Pride month?
To drive the point home, Granderson notes that straight, cisgender individuals have not had their sexual orientation criminalized, they have not been bullied, attacked, murdered, discriminated against, or turned out by family members as a result of who they love. "Maybe instead of wondering why there isn't a straight pride month or movement, straight people should be thankful they don't need one," Granderson wrote.
In a similar vein, Alexander Cheves recently highlighted dozens of public displays of affection straight people take for granted because they don't risk confrontation, dirty looks, or violent attacks when they hold hands or kiss their partners in public.
Pride Month wasn't chosen at random; the month of June was picked in commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, which are widely considered to be a pinnacle moment in the gay rights movement. In 1998, Bill Clinton became the first president to officially recognize June as "Gay and Lesbian Pride Month." Former President Barack Obama continued the tradition when he declared June 2009 — and every June of his presidency thereafter — to be National LGBT Pride Month. The proclamation was designed to "eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people" with a special focus on the struggles and achievements of the nation's LGBTQ+ community.
President Trump, however, has opted not to continue the tradition of proclaiming June to be Pride Month. But his silence has done little, if anything, to dim LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations and events this year.
While critics say the calls for a "heterosexual pride day" or a "straight pride month" are both ignorant and disparaging of the LGBTQ+ community's struggles, they are not new. Debates over heterosexual people deserve a day for themselves have been happening for a while now, and are likely to continue for years to come.