4 Reasons Every Straight Person Needs to Go to Pride (At Least Once)
4 Reasons Every Straight Person Needs to Go to Pride (At Least Once)
By Matt Hershberger / matadornetwork.com
Jun 19, 2016

I HAVE LIVED IN CITIES WITH PRIDE celebrations for many years, and I had never attended. It always seemed like a party that was meant for a group of people to which I, a straight man, did not belong. But a couple of years ago, I moved to Asbury Park, a small town on the Jersey Shore with an active LGBT community, which happens to be the town that annually hosts the New Jersey Pride celebration. So this year, for the first time, I went to Pride.

Pride celebrations in 2016 are less marginalized and more commercialized than they have been in previous decades, but for someone as separated from the LGBT community as myself, it was still an incredibly powerful experience. I am white, male, straight, and cis. I was raised in a conservative place where homophobia was the norm. So seeing such an open display of bravery, tolerance, and (of course) pride was deeply moving.

Pride is not a celebration that needs to be co-opted by straight people. It should always belong to the LGBT community (Meg Ten Eyck broke down how straight allies should behave at pride for us last week). But that doesn’t mean straight people shouldn’t attend. Here are a few reasons you should go to the next Pride celebration near you.

1. It’s really fun.

In Asbury Park, at least, Pride was basically the same as any other local festival — there’s a parade, there are food and drinks and music, there are politicians glad-handing constituents, and there are kiosks set up for local businesses and organizations. Festivals is always fun regardless of the occasion. As a straight guy, I imagined that Pride was going to be more politically charged and defiant, and while those elements were there, at the end of the day, the New Jersey Pride was more fun than anything else.

2. You’ll be surprised how many businesses, churches, and faith groups support your local LGBT community.

I haven’t regularly attended church since I was a kid, and I was raised Catholic. So in my mind, religion has always been conflated with homophobia and intolerance. But while the parade passed us by, I started noticing just how many churches and faith groups were in the procession.

The next thing I noticed was just how many large brands and smaller local businesses took part in the parade. I generally hate advertising, but for some reason, seeing the brands in the Pride parade was comforting: it was a sign that we’d reached a tipping point where being LGBT-friendly was seen as beingprofitable for businesses. That may not be the most principled reason to be open-minded, but it’s a sign of a larger trend in America. Regardless, seeing so many local institutions openly supporting the movement gave me a lot more respect for my community as a whole.

3. You’ll get a better sense of the local politics and history around the LGBT movement.

It’s easy enough to follow the LGBT movement on a national level — there are plenty of people reporting on Supreme Court cases and on the boycotts of homophobic companies like Chik-Fil-A or Hobby Lobby — but local reporting on more marginalized groups isn’t always easy to find.

While at New Jersey Pride, I stopped at a few of the local activist booths. It was there I heard about Laurel Hester — a police officer in a nearby town who, ten years earlier, had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and then tried to transfer her pension over to her domestic partner. The local Republican freeholders tried to stop her (citing the “sanctity of marriage”), but eventually gave in. Hester (who has since passed away) was the subject of the 2007 short documentary Freeheld, which won an Academy Award, and a 2015 movie starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page.

I’d had no idea that this all happened in my backyard. Events like Pride are more than just a celebration and a political statement: they’re a place where you can connect with the movement and learn about what small battles are happening in your corner of the world.

4. You’re an integral part of building a more tolerant community.

There’s a reason Pride is a thing. As we saw this weekend, it’s still dangerous to be lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and out. Pride is essentially an act of bravery: it’s a marginalized group declaring that they exist, and they are unapologetic about it. If there weren’t straight (sometimes closeted) people that were terrible and violent assholes to people in the LGBT community, then Pride and the entire gay rights movement would never have been necessary.

As a member of the group that’s in the privileged position, you’re the one that has to do the changing. You’re the one who has to accept the LGBT community into the larger community. Pride is not about straight people. But it is (in part) directed at straight people. It’s something we need to witness if we ever want to change. 

Like facebook.com/matadornetwork for more like this. 

4.0 ·
1
Trending Today
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 10,455 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Obama's Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Stansfield Smith · 6,061 views today · It should be a scandal that leftists-liberals paint Trump as a special threat, a war mongerer – not Obama who is the first president to be at war everyday of his eight years...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 2,113 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Make The Serengeti Great Again | Resource Scarcity, Demagogues and How Creativity Can Trump Hate (2017)
5 min · 1,496 views today · A Familiar Tale of Resource Scarcity, Demagogues, and How Creativity Can Trump Hate A quick, original, illustrated allegory that pokes at the demagogues we’ve got with an...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,172 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Baraka (1992)
97 min · 873 views today · Featuring no conventional narrative, this film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world. From chaotic cities to barren wilderness, the movie takes...
What Is a Gift Economy? - Alex Gendler
4 min · 755 views today · What if, this holiday season, instead of saying "thank you" to your aunt for her gift of a knitted sweater, the polite response expected from you was to show up at her house in...
Deconstructing Hierarchies: On Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power
Colin Jenkins · 673 views today · Bosses don't grow on trees. They don't magically appear at your job. They aren't born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 595 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Union Co-Operatives: What They Are and Why We Need Them
Simon Taylor · 448 views today · Neoliberal policies contribute to alienation, disempowerment and non-unionised jobs, but a new model for unions could break the vicious circle, argues Simon Taylor.
Why I Think This World Should End
4 min · 368 views today · Sorry if this offends you. - Prince Ea
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 298 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 263 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw
Gavin Aung Than · 246 views today · Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old Iranian artist. She was recently sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison for drawing a cartoon.  
Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More
Josh Jones · 243 views today · Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have a access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, self-actualization…? Everyone seems to have...
The Myth of Romantic Love May Be Ruining Your Health
Susanne Vosmer · 193 views today · Romantic love in Western societies is often portrayed in a stereotypical way: two yearning halves, who search for each other to find their complete, original state. Few find...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 192 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Trump Is a Symptom of a Sickness That Is Raging All Across The World
1 min · 184 views today · This is why we are here. And this is what we need to remember. 
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 174 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
Here's How We're Going to End Factory Farming
2 min · 172 views today · Factory farming is a huge problem. But the solution is simple, if you'll join us. Watch this short 2 minute video to see how... Help make a kinder world possible...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
4 Reasons Every Straight Person Needs to Go to Pride (At Least Once)