Straight people at Pride?

400-foot Philadelphia Pride flag
The 400-foot Pride flag in Philadelphia (June 2024). (Photo: Kelly Burkhardt)

While members of our community were out celebrating the beginning of Pride Month, some chronically online social media users contributed to discourse around “straight” people attending Pride events.

I put “straight” in quotes because while there are legitimate straight people who attend Pride events, calling people “straight” is refusing to acknowledge the nuances around gender and sexuality. If you see what you believe is a straight couple at a Pride event, maybe you can ask yourself a few questions.

1. Could one or both of them be bisexual?

2. Could one or both of them be trans?

3. Could one or both of them be nonbinary?

4. Could one or both of them be aromantic or asexual?

5. Could they both legitimately be straight and they’re there to support an LGBTQ+ friend who left them behind temporarily to enjoy the festivities?

This discourse seemed to begin when one social media user said that bisexual women should leave their cishet boyfriends at home during Pride events. But it should be noted that their boyfriend decided to forego watching the big game, drinking beers with the boys, or eating chicken wings (I’m not straight nor am I a man. I don’t know what straight men do.) to attend Pride instead. Isn’t that pretty cool that he chose to support his girlfriend?

I understand that there is some nuance around bisexual people in straight relationships possessing heterosexual privilege. There’s also concerns about straight people taking up space in LGBTQ+ events. For the former, we — the LGBTQ+ community — should try to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that these straight-presenting folks are here for a good reason. For the latter, let’s speak to straight people directly here: You are a guest in this space. Don’t make this event about you. Instead, use it as a chance to uplift our community, learn something new, or support one of the LGBTQ+ vendors by buying their wares in the streets.

It should also be noted that while these chronically online people are bemoaning the fact that straight people are in the same space as rainbow flags, twinks in speedos, and endless dance parties, they are also effectively erasing history. Pride began as a protest, kicked off by the Stonewall Riots in 1969. It has evolved to become a party of sorts but that’s only because of the brave souls who stood up against the police brutality our community was facing at the time. Sadly, our community is still under attack. 

Trans kids are in danger. 

Politicians are actively taking away our rights.

People are killing us.

Pride is STILL a protest. And we need all of the people we can get on our side.

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