The Closet Is Not An Excuse For Homophobia
So why is “Straight Pride” such a big issue?
To start, same-sex marriage is illegal in 73 countries. Whereas heterosexual marriages, or more commonly known as just "marriage," is legalized literally everywhere.
The point of pride festivals and parades is that they allow those who identify as LGBTQ+ to find stability and comfort in their identity while protesting systematic ideologies that portray homosexuality as an abnormality or lesser-than to traditional societal norms. To see a country such as America, despite all of its other problems, legalize the act of marriage between same-sex partners defies these dangerous assumptions that LGBTQ+ relationships are harmful to countries as a whole.
However, marriage equality for all still has its haters. Amidst the celebrations across the nation commemorating Pride month, three guys in Boston filed for a permit to hold a "Straight Pride" parade.
People within the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike took to social media to express their disdain for the parade - one of which was none other than Captain American himself, Chris Evans. However, there is a single part in Evans’ tweet that does rub me the wrong way.
People often assume that hatred towards LGBTQ+ citizens stems from “inner gay tendencies”. Evans is certainly not the first to bring this concept to light. Popular television sitcom Glee created a storyline between token gay, fedora wearing, high-pitched-voiced Kurt Hummel and his aggressive and brutal bully Dave Karofsky. After Karofsky is seen pushing, shoving, and verbally bullying Hummel, viewers learn that Karofsky is closeted and crushing HARD on Kurt. While this scenario may be totally plausible, realistically it communicated to millions of Glee viewers that hatred of LGBTQ+, to the point of physical harm, is just the “inner gay tendencies”.
So... is it likely homophobic people are just closeted gays?
There’s mixed research - some say very likely and others say not likely at all. But we need to change the way we talk about homophobic people.
Homophobia is a range much more expansive than people typically realize. Telling someone who identifies as LGBTQ+ to “tone it down” or “not, like, shove it down our throats” is absolutely homophobic. Telling someone to “tone it down” just alerts that person that you are only comfortable with their identity when it still fits your personal, normative values. Homophobia is also making regulations and laws against the LGBTQ+ community and allowing people to legally discriminate against them in name of religious freedom.
What am I getting at here?
Please stop acting like homophobic people are all closeted. At the end of the day, they’re still (typically) the ones making laws against LGBTQ+ people, and in some cases inflicting real pain and violence. Just in 2019 alone, Dallas has experience the murder of three black trans women. That’s not being "closeted", that’s literal, unapologetic hate. At the end of the day, these people do not see LGBTQ+ folks as human beings. We have no rights, no exemptions, and no agency to decide what we do with our bodies: no representation.
Don’t get me wrong, Chris Evans’ response is brilliant, witty, and important. But homophobia is more serious than just a scared, gay man behind a computer. It’s a baby-boomer behind a desk in Washington D.C. who thinks straight people are supererior to sick, ill-minded, non-heteronormative citizens.
Remember this the next time you engage with someone spitting homophobic nonsense and think about quipping back with a closet-joke.