As most people know, June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate and a time to reflect on LGBTQ+ history and achievements. It’s a time of love and togetherness. People around the world spend June participating in LGBTQ+ pride celebrations, often in the form of Pride Parades, a mainstay of Pride Month, giving the LGBTQ+ communities a place to celebrate being proud of who they are. But there are some straight people who are fed up with that. They see these pride events, events giving focus to communities that have been historically (and still currently) discriminated against, and they’re sick and tired that focus isn’t constantly on them. Case in point, a group, Super Happy Fun America, plans to hold a ‘Straight Pride’ parade in Boston later this summer. There announcement was met with outrage and mockery.
The ‘Straight Pride’ parade was announced in a Facebook post by Mark Sahady, the vice president of Super Happy Fun America, a group that claims to advocate “on behalf of the straight community…” and whose website reads more like a parody of the movement they claim to be a part of. According to the Facebook post, the date of the parade is tentatively set for August 31 and will include floats and vehicles. The parade is planned to run along the same route as the official Pride Parade, from Copley Square to City Hall.
John Hugo, president of Super Happy Fun America and one of the organizers of the parade (and unironically has “living openly as a straight man” in his bio), told The Washington Post that the organizers “feel we’re an oppressed majority,” and that they feel that criticizing Massachusetts’s effort to support the gay community is being unfairly labeled as hate. Hugo also told The Washington Post that the parade’s keynote speaker would be “a very famous gay conservative.” Though he declined to name the speaker to the Post, an article on the Super Happy Fun America website reveals the speaker to be Milo Yiannopoulos. Remember Milo? The alt-right figure and self-proclaimed ‘provocateur’ who believes sex between 13-year old boys and adults is okay, and has ties to neo-Nazis? Yeah, that Milo.
While news of this parade has garnered some support, the organizers have also been met with a wonderful amount of mockery. Twitter users wasted no time making fun of the ‘Straight Pride’ parade. “Boston has a straight pride parade every time a sports team wins,” writes one user. Another user wrote, “Thank God that somebody is finally paying attention to that long-ignored group. Or something.” In a now viral tweet, our lords and saviors Smash Mouth, had a short but powerful message for the organizers. “Straight Pride Parade?????” The band wrote, “FUCK OFF !!!!!!!!”
As hilarious as this proposed parade and the jokes it spawned are, it is worth noting that its organizers have close ties to far-right groups. Mark Sahady has a history of participating and organizing controversial right-wing events around Boston for Resist Marxism, a group with tendencies for anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ+, misogynist, and racist rhetoric. John Hugo is also tied to Resist Marxism. In 2018, Hugo ran unsuccessfully for the Massachusetts’ 5th Congressional District with the support and endorsement from Resist Marxism. While the organizers of the ‘Straight Pride’ parade claim to want inclusivity and tolerance, their ties to neo-fascist groups says otherwise.
LGBTQ+ Pride is about remembering and commemorating oppression both past and present. It’s about remembering the struggles faced, and continue to face, by LGBTQ+ communities regarding marriage equality, rights to adopt children, equal opportunity for housing and employment, and access to health care. It’s about remembering the sacrifices of countless people who gave their lives by expressing themselves and paved the way for pride parades to even be held today. LGBTQ+ pride is about proclaiming your identity—whether it be gay, lesbian, bi, trans, nonbinary, intersex, asexual, or any of the many forms gender and sexual identity can take—in the face of those adversities.
In many countries around the world, it’s illegal to be gay and/or have a gay marriage. In many of those same countries, it is legal to jail or even murder someone for being gay. In many states in the US, it’s still legal to deny health services, employment, and housing on the basis of a person’s identity. That is why ‘Straight Pride’ isn’t a thing. In the history of the world, straight people have never been discriminated or persecuted or murdered just because they were straight. No one has denied a couple a marriage license because they were straight. That’s what LGBTQ+ Pride is all about. To be seen, to be heard, and to fight to have the same rights and privileges that straight people have enjoyed since the dawn of time. Men like Mark Sahady and John Hugo have become so used to those privileges, that seeing the LGBTQ+ communities come out to fight to have those same privileges makes them feel like they are the ones being oppressed. Having a ‘Straight Pride’ parade would only serve to undermine the whole reason pride parades are held in the first place.