Thursday, 30 May 2013

The cowardice of being an "oppressed" majority.

Today I learned on Twitter, through @tauriqmoosa (thanks, Tauriq), about an intriguing group of UK campaigners.  Depending upon your viewpoint, you might find them controversial, challenging, psychologically and anthropologically fascinating, hilarious, infuriating... or embarrassing.  Or possibly all of these things, actually.  Check them out: http://straightprideuk.com/

Now, if you react as I did you're probably going to spend ten minutes convinced this has to be a parody.  Part of me still hopes that might prove to be the case (and if so, I will confess myself taken in but take comfort in the fact that I have not been the only one), but I don't really think it's likely.  Based on the balance of what they're saying on their site, combined with their Twitter feed, I think they're serious.

The group's aims, as laid out on their page, are informative:


Personally I can't help finding this immensely funny at the same time as being revolted by it (and as I reread this I find myself unsure again that I don't think it's a deliberate joke), but I'm amused rather against my will and I can certainly understand it if other people are not.

I think my favourite bit may be that these lunatics reckon there is a need to "raise awareness of the heterosexual part of society and make sure ... their views are heard".  This in a world where the default assumption of heterosexuality is so ingrained that a US basketball player made international headlines when he came out as gay earlier this year.  It's funny, but it's also sort of scary.  There are straight people out there who actually believe their voices are drowned out by those of gay people; this is the sort of self-deception of which humans are capable when we try to reconcile nasty, bigoted views with our wish to think well of ourselves.

More than anything, I am reminded by this of the ludicrous complaints of oppression so frequently made by members of the powerful religions.  Christians in the USA whose rights to practise their faith is protected by law but who complain bitterly that they are persecuted while their collective voice is enough to keep gay people from marrying in all but 12* states, and to make it practically impossible for a non-Christian to become President; Muslims who complain that they are victimised when the right they think they have to treat women like livestock is opposed.

There is one sense in which people like those behind the "Straight Pride" movement (I still can't quite believe this is a thing, but it seems to be sincere) could be said to be helping.  Gay people seeking equality already have the support of many straight people, a fact that regularly makes me proud to think that - however far we still have to go in many areas - we humans are, in the broad sweep of things, becoming more compassionate, more given to choosing compassionate secular values over superstitious dogma, and more ethical.  I think people like the members of "Straight Pride" can serve to remind us that the fight against homophobic bigotry is not yet over - in fact, if this does eventually prove to be a hoax, I suspect it will be one perpetrated with precisely this aim in mind.  It may also sting more straight people into openly, actively supporting gay rights - I know I for one would never want anybody to imagine for a moment that the Straight Rights campaigners represent anything I want any part of.

I've been tweeting about this today, and more than one person has said they're reluctant to give such a loathsome movement a platform by publicly opposing it.  People have every right to make that decision for themselves, of course, but for what it's worth my own opinion is that this group's claims to being oppressed are so transparently nonsensical that I don't see much reason to fear we might inadvertently give them legitimacy.  They're not only bigots, they're cowards and hypocrites too; I could allow a tiny, grudging measure of respect for these people if they were at least honest about their obvious homophobia (terms like "heterosexualy [sic] normal" are a dead giveaway, guys).  But by hiding behind this ludicrous fa├žade of oppression they make themselves contemptible not only for their views but also for their cowardice.  I think they can only galvanise the GLBT movement, so far as they can have any effect at all on a societal change that has gained such momentum over the last couple of decades - and for that I thank them.



*Actually not quite that simple, but I don't think my point is affected.

3 comments:

  1. Good grief... I really shouldn't have clicked on that link to their site.

    Right at the top of the page they have this: "There is nothing right with being homosexual, there is nothing right with being bisexual, and there is nothing wrong with being heterosexual". I don't think it can get much more blatantly anti-gay than that...

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  2. Leading with "awareness [of heterosexuality]" was probably not their brightest move.

    This has to be comedy. I know the rest of my family (all straight) find it ludicrous.

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  3. People keep tripping over marking relationships. Majorities often supply the default value when people imagine particulars. Minorities get extra attention precisely because it often takes conscious effort to get people to focus on them and their problems. Then the tin-eared morons in the dominant groups complain that someone else is getting more attention than they do.

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