This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Karthika S Nair. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

This Pride Month, Straight Allies Should Be Calling Out The Bigots

More from Karthika S Nair

(Trigger Warning: Homophobic Slurs)

I am straight!

There I said it.

The thing about being it is that I didn’t have to hesitate. Not in terms of family, social circle, future, religion, history or sanskaar (culture) or khaandhaan (relatives) or the law. I think that alone is more than enough to put a label called “privilege” on heterosexuality, built over generations at the cost of people in the LGBTQIA community.

A group in the US sought permission to conduct a Straight Pride Parade in Boston. It is meant to celebrate the “oppressed majority” and for equality for all. Well, putting “oppressed” and “majority” in the same sentence is like trying to mix lava and ice—polar opposite things with opposing effects. It highlights the irony in itself. In this current political scenario, it simply fans a fire, which affects those who are not aware of the seriousness of how people are oppressing queer individuals around the world.

NEW DELHI, INDIA – NOVEMBER 30: Indian members and supporters of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community hold placards and dances during a Gay Pride Parade

That’s literally what is happening with the Straight pride. Like people of Caucasian descent who felt “discriminated against” when the Marvel “Black Panther” came out. Or when a black actor was cast in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, after which #WhiteGenocide trended on Twitter. Not only this, but 2017 witnessed an Alt-Right rally at Charlottesville, with the slogan “White Lives Matter” in a country where Black people have a higher chance of getting shot while white people have a better chance of getting lenient punishment for crimes as heinous as rape. There are bigger WTF moments where male fans edit Avengers films (where the presence of women and minorities is already less) to remove female characters, because they feel ‘oppressed’.

Author James Fell gave us the best explanation about the mediocrity of ‘Straight Pride’.

Straight people never had a history of facing bigotry for their sexual orientation. It doesn’t take a social activist to understand that, in general, heterosexuality is the only accepted form of sexual orientation. Heterosexual people don’t hear slurs that demonize them such as “faggot” or “batty boy”. Religions do not teach gay people that straight people will earn the wrath of God just because of their sexuality. I am yet to read about a country that will punish or execute straight people for being straight, that includes ‘straight conversion therapy’ being endorsed by powerful political leaders. Films, books, and other artistic media are not boycotted in large numbers just because straight people are present in them. I am yet to see a parent who is concerned about how heterosexuality will “confuse” or “affect” their children.

The only thing straight people can confidently say affects them are divisions based on religion, class, caste, able-bodiedness (I don’t see any of this penalising their sexual nature) which is not the focus of the ‘Straight Pride’, clearly.

As per the reports, the organisers of the Straight Pride in Boston happen to be part of the Alt-Right and white supremacist groups. Which means that the ‘Straight’ pride is nothing short of a response to Queer Pride. Just like how there was a “pro-gun movement” was conducted at the same time as “March for Our Lives” (which was in response to the mass shooting which took place in Marjory Stoneman Douglas school in Parkland Florida). “White Lives Matter” was seen hijacking “Black Lives Matter”, and only this year we saw the “Mard March” in response to the Women’s March, in a country that is notorious for honour killings, forced child marriages, and religion-based oppression faced by women.

The whole idea behind Queer Pride is to be able to embrace your own sexual orientation and gender identity, when you are marginalised on the basis of these. Trans people in India still face anger and flak from cis people, even from within the human rights movements like the Women’s March in the USA, and many Pride events have seen the presence Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, most notably what happened at London Pride in 2018.

Actor Josh Hutcherson, of Hunger Games fame, co-founded the organisation Straight But Not Narrow to call straight people to fight alongside the LGBTQIA community. Recently “Captain America” star Christ Evans hit back at the Boston Straight Pride. And these are examples to follow.

Straight allies should be calling out this kind of bigotry.

Featured Image source: Sanna Reponen/Facebook.
You must be to comment.

More from Karthika S Nair

Similar Posts

By JYOTI SINGH

By Saras Jaiswal

By Saras Jaiswal

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below