#HeterosexualPrideDay Proves We Can't Have Nice Things, Let Alone Hashtags

Photo: Emmanuel Hapsis

Sigh.

I have written and deleted the beginning lines of this post several times because sometimes writing about social justice and other things that affect minorities feels like preaching into a vacuum. Sure, these thoughts resonate with people, but they're usually the people who already get it. Meanwhile, those with outdated, ignorant beliefs dig their heels in and take the opportunity to send charming hate mail and leave unhinged comments, like the person who, in response to my essay earlier this week about Cultural Appropriator Extraordinaire™ Justin Timberlake, wrote a dissertation that included the words "welfare," "uncivilized" and "As a white person, I definitely feel sorry for you people." Gotta applaud the tenacity of folks like this, who are wholly dedicated to showing their entire ass when freaking out on the internet.

But ultimately it's better to put these thoughts out here. If I make one single racist/homophobe/misogynist second-guess himself (and these people are almost always a himself) for a fraction of a second, I'll count that as a win. So what ridiculous cultural phenomenon are we dealing with today? #HeterosexualPrideDay, a.k.a. the stepbro of #AllLivesMatter and #WhiteGirlsRockToo.

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Twitter has become a medium that allows people whose voices aren't reflected in many places of power to speak their truth. Twitter has also become a medium that then allows those who traditionally hold these places of power and feel left out from said truth-telling to make everything about them. It's an attempt to take back control of the playing field (a home game advantage enjoyed time immemorial). And when minorities push back against this, they're met with a volley of rude epithets (if I took a swig of bourbon every time I've seen miscellaneous homophobic epithets like "butt-hurt homos" or "fag" linked to #HeterosexualPrideDay, I would already be dead of alcohol poisoning).

Straight people taking over aspects of gay culture isn't exactly new (see: all the drunk hetero people at any Pride event), but mere weeks after the events in Orlando, and during the final days of Pride month, one might naively expect straight people to adopt a modicum of chill and wait a little while longer before co-opting the idea of pride (you know, because being the established norm is hard work). LGBT people have Pride as a reminder to celebrate who we are, in spite of the global culture urging us on the daily to do otherwise. Instead of wishing you had your own Pride, thank your lucky stars you don't have the need for one.

But I get it. When most of the world's history has been about you, it's a new, uncomfortable feeling to not be the center of attention, even for a second. LGBT people, people of color and other minorities can sympathize because we feel that way ALMOST EVERY SINGLE DAY. So stop with the inane hashtags. Stop interrupting minority stories to declare your own. Stop refusing to use your privilege in a positive way. Just stop.

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And to all the straight people out there who don't need these reminders, thank you and I love you. Please help spread the word to those who need to hear it.

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