AHEAD of Benidorm’s ninth Pride event, which culminates in a parade of thousands in the resort on September 7, a row erupted on Facebook when someone described the event as ‘one-sided’ and lamented the fact that no events celebrating ‘straightness’ ever take place.
People responded by pointing out that the event was being promoted simply as ‘Pride,’ and that it was a family-friendly celebration open to all who value tolerance and inclusivity – and enjoy wearing wild, wacky and extravagant costumes. Why, even pooches with rainbow ribbons relish the outing, as my photograph taken at Pride 2018 so clearly illustrates.
I was about to join in the increasingly acrimonious debate when the thread disappeared. I intended pointing out that ‘Straight Pride’ events ARE taking place. It’s a uniquely American phenomenon, at least for now, but horrible trends that surface in the US regrettably don’t stay in the US.
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Why is ‘Straight Pride’ bad? Because the organisers are nasty, white supremacists who use their rallies to generate vicious intolerance towards LGBT communities, people of colour, immigrants and anyone who thinks religion is a pure baloney.
All this is done in the name of ‘family values.’ If you visit California Straight Pride Coalition’s website you’ll learn that it exists ‘to defend the children’ and ‘prevent current and future generations from being destroyed by the inherent malevolence of the Homosexual Movement toward our founding principles.’
Ironically, the coalition’s national motto is ‘normal, natural, healthy, sane’ – the very antithesis of what it actually is.
This loathsome outfit, headed by a ninnyhammer called Don Grundmann, was due to hold a ‘Straight Pride’ event in Modesto, California last month, but city officials laughingly rejected the event.
They had good cause to guffaw. Grundmann, arguing before the council to be allowed to stage his hateful march, accidentally let the cat out of the bag by describing his coalition as ‘a totally peaceful racist group.’
Apart from his involvement with the coalition, Grundmann is a member of The Proud Boys, a far-right neo-fascist organisation that admits only men as members and promotes political violence.
Last year, in the run-up to Benidorm Pride’s 2018 parade, I wrote a piece explaining that the first Pride marches I attended in the 1970s were essentially political in nature, and were not the joyful rallies we see today in cities stretching from Sydney to Tel Aviv.
In it I said that in those days we were angry, and had a great deal to be angry about. Back then police harassment was endemic, and it was still fresh in many older protesters’ minds that one of Britain’s greatest geniuses, Alan Turing, the gay computer expert who played a pivotal role in enabling the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, had been prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952.
When people advocate ‘Straight Pride,’ they should be aware that what they are effectively calling for is a return to an era in which deranged Christians and neo-fascist groups felt free to attack, with impunity, LBGT communities. Pride now exists to tell these hate-mongers that those dark days are gone, and that we are no longer compelled to accommodate their bigotry by donning mantles of invisibility.