This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Surangama Guha Roy. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

‘Straight Pride’ Parade? I Think You Mean ‘Straight Shame’ Parade.

More from Surangama Guha Roy

In 14th century Florence, a young boy was castrated and then burnt between his thighs with a red hot iron as punishment for presumably engaging in sexual activities with men. In Malta, in the 17th century, an episode of violence against homosexuality involved publicly burning to ashes a Spanish soldier and a young Maltese boy following their confession to having practiced sodomy (mostly referring to forms of non-procreative sex) together.

History is littered with examples of State- and Church-led persecution, public executions, burnings at the stake, castrations, torture, and going to the extent of blaming homosexuality for dark historical episodes such as the Bubonic plague. What is sad, though, is that this relentless persecution of homosexuality is not confined to the past.

Since the dawn of humanity, and ever since man has learnt to hate, individuals whose sexual expression was different from the normative heterosexual order were seen as depraved, perverted aberrations. In 2019, the scenario has changed somewhat—the term LGBTQ is now a force to reckon with. The fight to achieve respect, dignity, and equality has been waged for centuries and today, the ‘other’ population, at least in some parts of the world, has a right to live. In some other parts of the world, queer people can even marry the partner of their choice, without being fined, imprisoned, flogged, or murdered for simply existing.

International Pride Month, celebrated annually in June, is a tribute to the struggles of the LGBTQ community, of the atrocities and injustices faced by them through the ages. It is a commemoration of the Stonewall riots that took place as a protest against police raids of the Stonewall Inn, in Lower Manhattan, New York city, on June 28,  1969. The riot was believed to have been one of the primary catalysts in the birth of a ‘global gay movement’. In its memory, Pride month is a call to all humanity to understand, appreciate, and acknowledge the queer population as fellow human beings.

And then comes straight pride.

The concept of straight pride was developed around the 1980s as a response to gay pride. It came as a form of ridicule, the idea being that heterosexuals do not go out of their way to flaunt their pride in their sexuality, and consequently, it is absurd that homosexuals should. Straight pride has been used to promote values of social conservatism which see queer sexuality as an aberration of nature; supporters of straight pride focus on creating and highlighting a derogatory, offensive imagery of queer sexuality, and the entire purpose of this so-called movement is to negate and challenge the growing social acceptance of same-sex attraction.

Now, imagine living in fear your entire life, being unable to disclose what is an inseparable part of your identity to even your loved ones for fear of being judged and rejected! Imagine not being accepted by your peers, your colleagues and most importantly, your family for being who you are—not a thief, a murderer, or a rapist, just a person who loves another human being of the same gender as theirs, or who doesn’t feel the gender assigned to them is correct. Imagine never being able to come out of the closet for fear of ridicule, of being jailed, beaten, and even killed, and spending your entire life either alone, or in the closet, perhaps even married to keep up pretenses as a heterosexual! How many of us ‘straights’ go through these experiences on a daily basis?

A marcher from the Pune Pride – Source – QGraphy

The stigma attached to the range of fluid genders that lie outside the binary rigidity of the socially imposed genders is something that cisgender people can neither fathom nor experience. But what they can do is to appreciate, support, and stand by those who go through these experiences every day of their lives. If your son or daughter walks up to you one day and informs you that they would prefer to be with an individual of the same sex, what would you do? Would you smother their voice along with their happiness? Would your fear of society come before your love for your child? Or, even worse, would you rather that they fall into the grip of depression and perhaps even resort to taking their lives, because you were too pious to be there for them?

As far as I’m concerned, the social acceptance of homosexuality is, itself, a farce, because who has ever heard of the social acceptance of heterosexuality? Shouldn’t all sexualities, by default, be a part of the human experience? You can accept something only if you have rejected it once, and for societies where androgyny and different expressions of sexuality have been an integral part of their cultural history, it is ridiculous that one even has to ask to be accepted.

It is ridiculous then that one would even consider the idea of Straight Pride. There is no Straight Pride because the heterosexual order is what dominates the social fabric; straight people do not need to be accepted, they do not need to hide or pretend, they will never be ridiculed for who they are. It is, in fact, a matter of shame, and not pride, that for centuries straight people have deprived their fellow humans of their fundamental rights. Straight Shame, thus, seems more appropriate, if at all there has to be a movement, rather than Straight Pride, which is nothing but an expression of bigotry and heterosexual insecurities!

While the Straight Pride parades in the US have become ‘A Thing’, despite regularly running into controversies, I suppose as Indians we should thank our stars that this particular trend has not caught on here yet. For a country like ours, it is not enough to decriminalise homosexuality. One has to find ways to deal with rampant homophobia which is still all-pervasive. It is thus important that we educate ourselves and those around us on different expressions of sexuality, rather than marching in pride for being straight, thus making a mockery of all that is humane and rational.

You must be to comment.

More from Surangama Guha Roy

Similar Posts

By Sas3 Tranimal

By Mythili Kamath

By Harshit Agrawal

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        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