Stay with us here, ShortList columnist Danny Wallace argues that, actually, a Straight Pride march would be a terrific idea
So I’ve just typed in the words ‘Straight Pride’ and there are plenty of people on social media asking why there isn’t a Straight Pride Month, because if there’s a Gay Pride Month, then it must be only fair that all the straight people get one too, they say.
A month seems to me to be a very long time to want to talk about being straight. It’s not like When Did You First Realise You Were Straight or Being Straight In A New City are topics of conversation you hear spilling out of pubs, but still: why can’t straight people have a parade? they say.
And of course some of them are making a joke that is always made at this time of year, just as on International Women’s Day the comedian Richard Herring is forced to spend endless hours telling strangers online when International Men’s Day is. Others asking about Straight Pride are wilfully ignoring the persecutions, and history of attacks, and bullying and far, far worse that straight people have never had to deal with, just because they’re straight. And others still are probably flat-out sociopaths.
But I have come to realise that a Straight Pride march is a terrific idea.
I think we should have a Straight Pride march. Because only when we finally have a Straight Pride march will those people realise how terrible a Straight Pride march would be.For a start, it would take planning. You need a certain immediate look that screams “straight”, so that passers-by and onlookers might point and say, “What a lot of straight people!”
Now, the LGBTQ community already has the rainbow flag, thanks to Gilbert Baker’s original eight-striped version. But a Straight Pride march would only have one reason for being, which is “we’re straight and we want a parade, because parades are like the straightest thing ever”. Plus, the primary colours have already gone. So this march need only feature one (non-primary) colour to represent the unacceptable imagined denial of an unneeded parade straight people have silently suffered through since the early Seventies, and the obvious colour is fawn.
So marching under a fawn flag, we need a venue for the march to take place.
Well, Britain’s straightest road is the A15, between Scampton and the M180 just by Scawby. It is wonderfully straight, and even passes through Spital-in-the-Street, perhaps a reflection on the frothing gobs of excitement that such a march might produce.
So, we’re in Lincolnshire, it’s early morning, and we’re starting the first mile of our 18-’straight’-mile walk down an A-road.
We’re dressed appropriately – attendees would be encouraged to turn up in sensible clothes like cagoules (in fawn) and Pac A Macs (fawn also, or tan if unavailable).
We’ve prepared our Straight Pride signs while standing in the drizzle at Sleaford Road service station on the A15 just before Lincoln, where I’ve looked it up and there’s an MOT & repairs centre, a Land Rover specialist, a Small Beer company, and an auto parts store for classic cars called Rimmer Bros – so a pretty straight start so far!
Maybe one of our number – a Gary – has been working on some fun chants that summarise the shared straight experience and journey (in this case, a literal journey down the A15). The chants (which mustn’t be too jaunty) will ensure people know this is about having a well-meaning parade without prejudice. So Gary might suggest shouting, “I’m straight but I’ve actually got a gay friend!”, which is such a great conversation-starter with the LGBTQ community, and which they all love. Someone else might start chanting, “I’m as straight as the A15, mate!” but there’s no way that wouldn’t come across as a bit aggressive, so it’s lucky everyone would be distracted by Top Gear: 50 Years Of Bond Cars being beamed out on big screens, or the sounds of Status Quo.
And slowly, you begin to realise that this is not a Straight Pride march. This is a slow-moving real ale festival.
I also think, from the mainly-male demographics of the mock-confused people online asking why there isn’t a Straight Pride Month, any Straight Pride parade might have trouble attracting women – just as many of the men asking the question must.
So really, a genuine Straight Pride march would just be about 50 men. Many of them, from their avatars, choosing to show how straight they are by having shaved heads. Parading around. Together. Just men with shaved heads. How straight is that?
So when you add all that together – and when you consider that being straight has never been a top 10 reason people suffer discrimination or violence in all corners of a supposedly civilised world – let’s consider this the final word on Straight Pride and rain on its parade.
And anyway. Fawn has never really been my colour.
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