In response to Pride celebrations, a reactionary movement has sprung up to “reclaim” space for the black and white of heterosexuality amid rainbow hues.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,
Queer+ (LGBTQ+) community has
only recently garnered widespread
acceptance with the advent of increased
representation, favourable leaps in
legislative matters, and a heightening
of social awareness, which were
achieved after arduous struggles by the
marginalised community. The concept
of Pride in queer context implies the
promotion of self-affirmation, equality,
and dignity within individuals with a non-
binary sexual identity, a remembrance of
the bigotry (still) faced by the community,
and a celebration of the strides made.
Pride events like parades, festivals,
marches, and formation of queer
collective aim to normalise homosexuality
in the face of the tyrannising
heteronormative binary. Pride is also
quite a revolutionary concept that has
emboldened a community to embrace
their identity, which, earlier they had
to veil with a monochromatic shroud.
The conspicuous and colourful nature of
these celebrations reflects the collective
coming-out of the long-closeted
community into the mainstream.
Most Pride events happen annually
during June, which has been instated
as “Pride Month” to commemorate the
New York Stonewall Inn Riots of 1969 –
the first robust act of resistance against
a repressive administration. This year
witnessed the 50th anniversary of this
pivotal moment of the gay liberation
movement. Queer representation hit
the peak of main(lame)-stream with the
release of Taylor Swift’s kind of excessive,
kind of stereotypical, yet allegedly well-
intended “gay” music video, You Need to
In India, on 6th September, the first anniversary of the scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised homosexual intercourse, was celebrated with great fervour across the University of Delhi (DU) in various institutions. Kamala Nehru College, in collaboration with Nazariya, a queer, feminist resource group, organised a Pride event in their college. Lady Shri Ram College observed a hearty affair as well, with a queer-themed open mic, and a Pride party, followed by a Pride march organised by the college’s Women’s Development Cell. Throughout the North and the South Campus, a galore of Pride celebrations with a multitude of Pride flags, representing the multitudinous sexuality spectrum were fluttering through, strewn across streets, sewn into outfits, and painted on faces.
However, the ostensible nature of these celebrations, going in full-swing irked the likes of a few. A reactionary movement to reclaim the allegedly tarnished pride of heterosexuals, given the increased homosexual social movement, sprang up. Boston, and Massachusetts observed a Straight Pride Parade on 31st August. The organisers, who hold ties with the extreme-right movement in America, justified the event by accusing the identity politics of the left and calling for greater representation for straight people.
An elementary school in Mumbai, which goes by the name of Sanskriti School, joined in on the fad and insisted upon a Straight Pride Parade. An Instagram handle was made to perpetuate the novel idea but it can no longer be found on Instagram, reportedly owing to the negative feedback it received from the community on Instagram.
The Straight Pride Movement is not an idea in its nascence, and can be traced back to the 1980s, but something is to be said about its fledgling popularity. Even though both the aforementioned efforts were dwarfed by counter-protesters, they still gained traction and were valid enough for a few to latch on to it. This reveals the fragility of a small group of heterosexuals who feel insecure and attacked by the growing acceptance of a long-ostracised community.
Pride is a resistive, cultural movement with a lot of history, gravitas, and significance for the LGBTQ+ community, which is being undermined by such reactionary, shallow ventures. It is rightly said, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”
Feature Image Credits: Akarsh Mathur for DU Beat