Last weekend was the Straight Pride Parade up in Seattle. Anthony Rebello organized it and then turned out to be the only person in it. It’s sad. I think he just wants a friend. I mean, really, he couldn’t find a single person — a date — to go with him? Be that as it may, the idea of the parade was to spread the word about heterosexuality being okay and “to encourage younger heterosexuals that they should be proud of their heterosexuality.” Clearly, Rebello thinks he is being clever, and I have to admit that his parade colors — white and black — is pretty good. But it might be too telling.
It is something worth thinking about. When people don’t like liberation movements, they often come up with these kinds of responses. This is what we see with a lot of white nationalism — people not claiming to be against other groups but just to be “proud” of being white. And here, our paragon of Seattle heterosexuality just wants to be “proud” of being straight. But we don’t accept such claims, because they are exclusionary. And things like the gay rights parades are not. They have always been extremely welcoming of others.
Does anyone really think that heterosexuality is something that people should be ashamed of? Or that people are being discriminated against for it? Actually, my experience is that there are a lot of people who think just that. I hear from people about how their kids are being taught about homosexuality in school and how heterosexuality is being treated as some kind of aberration. But it really is just the same old complaint of the privileged: I’m no longer being held up as special! This is what is going on with Christians who get mad when department stores say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
This brings us to the issue of Black Lives Matter. On one level, the retort makes sense that “all lives matter.” It isn’t, after all, some childish parody of the type that Mr Rebello is going for, “White Lives Matter!” But it is still offensive on a number of levels. To start with, it implies that the Black Lives Matter movement is a racist one — that the slogan means, “Only black lives matter.” And clearly they isn’t the case. But more important than that is simply that “all lives matter” delegitimizes the complaint of Black Lives Matter. After all, there is a reason for the movement. I am a white guy and I absolutely don’t worry that some police officer is going to shoot me because he’s scared because I moved too quickly to scratch my head. But it isn’t just a question of anecdotes, the data are really clear.
But everything that is wrong with “all lives matter” is wrong with any attempt by powerful majority groups to take on the mantle of “pride.” It questions the motives of minority groups that gather in solidarity. And it says that the minority complaint is invalid. Anthony Rebello’s straight pride parade reminds me of an early Peanuts cartoon where one of the kids asks, “There’s Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day, why isn’t there a Kids’ Day?” And the answer is, “Every day is Kids’ Day.” Well, there you go: every day is a straight pride parade. And in addition to the other problems, not knowing this is just clueless.