How to Not Be THAT Straight Person at Pride

author-pic at Grand Valley State University  

It’s June, so you know what that means: Pride Month! What better way to celebrate our LGBTQ+ neighbors than to go to your nearest city’s Pride festival? Now, if you’re the token straight friend, this may seem a little intimidating. You want to make up to your queer friends for the countless nights you forced them to watch Nicholas Sparks movies, but you’re worried about being labeled as the straight friend no one likes. Here are some ways avoid being THAT straight person:

5.) If you don’t know gay lingo, don’t pretend you do:
If you’ve hung around your gay friends enough, odds are you’ve picked up a word here or there (most likely tea, token straight friends know what tea is). But if you haven’t, please don’t throw around words like you’re trying to win Scrabble. A read and a drag aren’t interchangeable, you don’t always snap while saying yas, and not everything does that. If you don’t know, ask before you make a fool of yourself.

4.) Don’t get defensive:
It’s a natural reaction to defend your heterosexuality, especially with the phrase, “I have a gay best friend!” Guess what: so does literally everyone else at Pride. That’s the point. You don’t even have to tell anyone you’re straight. You’d be surprised by how well you’ll blend in, unless you’re dressed in khaki shorts and a Polo shirt. Then there’s no helping you.

3.) Don’t ask questions:
Just like how you don’t have to tell anyone you’re straight, no one has to tell you anything about themselves. There are going to be people decked out in their Pride gear, and there will be people in drag, but that doesn’t mean you get to ask uncomfortably personal questions. Would you like someone to come up what your genitals are like? Yes? That’s weird. Most people don’t, so don’t do it to others at Pride.

2.) Leave your expectations at the gate:
If this is your first Pride, you probably have some wildly inaccurate idea of what to expect, like a rainbow streaking party where everyone tries to summon Lady Gaga. Don’t worry: most people at Pride just want to walk around in a rainbow jockstrap, get trashed, and watch the parade. Relax and buy yourself an elephant ear, the only scary people at Pride are the protestors at the festival gates who insist everyone is going to Hell.

1.) Don’t be a spectator:
Pride isn’t a zoo for straight people. If you walk inside the festival gates, you’re an active part of Pride. Don’t gawk at random people walking along the fairway, even if they look fabulous. Don’t get weirded out if people come up and talk to you (unless they’re being weird about it). You are Pride, you’re not watching Pride. Remember that.

Following these easy steps, you should be able to avoid being that straight person! If these seem too hard, that’s okay: just don’t go to Pride. If you don’t think you act normally, then we don’t really want you there.

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