“Where’s the straight Pride? Why do the gays get a special day to themselves? It’s not fair.”
If I had a pound for every time I was asked that question, well, I’d have quite a few pounds.
Straight Pride is being able to walk down the street holding hands with your other half without being catcalled by groups of teenage boys hanging around on a street corner.
Straight Pride is being able to walk into a club or a bar without someone threatening you, without men putting protective arms around the women they are with and glaring at you. (Because gay women fancy ALL women, don’t you know? Especially the ones with large, insecure boyfriends attached. Challenge, innit.)
Straight Pride is being able to tick the ‘straight’ box on an equality and diversity monitoring form at work without wondering who might actually read it, and what their views might be about your sexuality.
Straight Pride is being able to kiss who you want to kiss, wherever you are, without self consciousness or a quick furtive glance around you afterwards to see who might have been looking.
Straight Pride is being able to exchange rings and vow and make a lifelong commitment without having to kowtow to an almost second-class, businesslike ‘partnership’, when what you actually want is a ‘marriage’.
Straight Pride is when your dad is awarded an MBE, meaning you can get married in St Paul’s or Westminster Abbey… But you can’t take advantage of that, because they won’t let you marry a woman in there.
Straight Pride is where strangers don’t ask you whether you’re ‘straight’ – because your sex life isn’t their business.
Straight Pride is being able to say ‘no’ to a man without being told ‘I could turn you’ – as though your sexuality is completely malleable, silly you, for thinking that you couldn’t change it.
Straight Pride means being able to live your life without fear of bullying, harrassment, and rejection.
Straight Pride is not having to come out to friends, family, colleagues and strangers, over and over again.
Straight Pride is not having to lie through your teeth about your love life because it’s easier than telling the truth.
Straight Pride is never having to worry if your son will be bullied at school because his mum is gay.
Straight Pride is never having to suck it up when your straight female work colleagues organise weekends out clubbing over your head and in your earshot – but don’t invite you because they’re not sure “where your sort hang out”.
Straight Pride is not having to walk through a crowd of jeering protesters with banners saying GOD HATES FAGS and men and women shouting in your face – in order to attend a Stonewall conference.
Straight Pride was never uninvited to a wedding for wanting to take their partner.
Nobody was ever kicked to death for looking a bit straight, or correctively raped for falling in love with someone of the opposite gender.
I was assaulted in a bar in Southend a few years ago. I had my hair cropped in a buzz cut. If there’s anything ironic about the situation, it was that I was mistaken for a gay man. Apparently, to the drunk fellow skinhead standing to my right as I entered the bar, that was all the justification he needed to shove me, punch me, and tell me that “faggots aren’t f***ing welcome here.”
I’ve been told I’m “too pretty to be gay”, perpetuating the damaging and insulting myths that all gay women are those bottom-of-the-heap rejects that are only gay out of choice because “no man wanted them”.
Straight Pride is taken for granted every single day. It’s invisible, unshocking, quietly permeating everyday norms.
It’s straight pride and straight privilege that asks the belligerent question, Why do the gays get their own special march?
I’m thankful that, due to tireless campaigning and a gradual shift in attitudes, I am growing up in a generation where I CAN hold hands with a woman in public, cut my hair short, and come out to thousands of people as quickly as I can hit a ‘Publish’ button.
To bastardise the Martin Luther King quote, I have a dream that one day a man will be judged not by who he falls in love with, but by the content of his character.
I’ve done the keeping up appearances thing, had close male friends I take to events because I don’t want to upstage the bride or “cause a scene”.
This wasn’t supposed to be an ‘outing’ post – but I’m tired of suppressing a smile when a journalist asks if I have a boyfriend. And if I lose fans and readers by unceremoniously strolling out of my closet, then so be it. It was going to all come out one day anyway, so to speak.
And with the short shaggy haircut, the sleeve tattoos, the Magnum walking boots, the thumb ring, and the consistent lack of a boyfriend – I’m not exactly a stereotype, but I’m girl called Jack, for crying out loud. A gay one, and a proud one.
Happy Pride day everyone. Please continue to enjoy your Straight Pride for the other 364 days this year, but this one’s for us.
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe