Straight Pride: finally, someone is standing up for the oppressed heterosexual majority

"Coming out as heterosexual in today's politically correct world is an extremely challenging experience," claims a new lobbying group. Perhaps it is . . . in Opposite Land.

I remember quite distinctly coming out to my family, as I am sure every gay man does. Not wishing to bore you with the details, let me condense the experience. My sisters responded with “yeah, and?” My mother went around the house for a month hunched in the approximate shape of a question mark, muttering “what did I do? what did I say to make you like this?”

My father was more enterprising; he chased me around the house with a pair of scissors in order to cut my hair, presumably believing my long locks to be the source of my desire for other men, as if I were some sort of Gay Samson. An aunt, a woman built like a filing cabinet and with about as much compassion, sat me down and tried to convince me to find a nice girl, have a family and engage in my “hobby” discreetly. Ironically, some years later I discovered that her husband had similar hobbies.

I have a less clear memory of my sisters coming out as straight. Perhaps because it never happened. Some of their boyfriends were introduced, some were not, some were liked, some were not, weddings happened, grandchildren, the odd divorce. So, when I read on Straight Pride UK's Facebook page that, apparently, “coming out as heterosexual in today's politically correct world is an extremely challenging experience” which is “often distressing and evokes emotions of fear, relief, pride and embarrassment”, I was left a little baffled.

Maybe I came from a really modern family. Maybe in other families when a son tells his father he likes girls, the father chases him around the house trying to effect an impromptu effete coiffure to turn him gay. Maybe Straight Pride UK are utterly deluded. Or maybe it is all a massive wind-up. I am still holding some hope it is just that - an elaborate prank, but it is looking increasingly elaborate and so increasingly unlikely. So, I read on.

“Homosexuals have more rights than any sector of society.” That's right, privileged black lesbian on minimum wage. Stop grumbling, transsexual teacher hounded by tabloid papers. And you too, slightly delicate kid, leaving school before last period under some pretext to avoid another beating - quit your kvetching. You all have more rights than, say – ooh – a white, straight rich man. Want to know why? Because you have “the right to take over city streets, dress ridiculously, and parade with danger and contempt”.

Blogger Oliver Hotham tried to elucidate some of these matters, with the good folks at Straight Pride UK. The result was a press release which was then retracted and Hotham threatened with legal action. You can read it here, if you can bear truly, mind-numbingly awful grammar. “Straight Pride admire President Vladimir Putin of Russia for his stance and support of his country’s traditional values”, they explain in said release. “Straight Pride support what Russia and Africa is doing, these country have morals and are listening to their majorities.” (Surely, that should be Russia and Bongobongoland.)

A screenshot from the Straight Pride website.

 

So, there you have it, in a nutshell. Apparently, people being beaten, tortured and murdered, for no reason other than their sexual orientation, is this group's idea of "pride" in being straight. Obliquely, they also assert their inalienable right to use no punctuation whatsoever and capitalise things like The Homosexual Agenda, the Pink Mafia, and Anything Else That Might Sound Dramatic. 

They are recruiting, if you are interested “and are a straight, married, single heterosexual”. Consider their invitation carefully. “Being heterosexual is the 'default setting' for the human race and the only moral and natural way that the human race can continue to grow and evolve.” What we, the Pink Mafia, must not do, is respond to this as if it somehow represents the feelings of some community. Other than a community of people used as extras in the film Deliverance, it really does not.

We will evolve, with the help and solidarity of our enlightened straight brothers and sisters. But we will continue to do so in the opposable thumb direction, if that's okay with you, Straight Pride UK.

"The Pink Mafia", otherwise known as a gay pride march. Photo: Getty

Greek-born, Alex Andreou has a background in law and economics. He runs the Sturdy Beggars Theatre Company and blogs here You can find him on twitter @sturdyalex

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Jeremy Corbyn's Labour conference speech shows how he's grown

The leader's confident address will have impressed even his fiercest foes. 

It is not just Jeremy Corbyn’s mandate that has been improved by his re-election. The Labour leader’s conference speech was, by some distance, the best he has delivered. He spoke with far greater confidence, clarity and energy than previously. From its self-deprecating opening onwards ("Virgin Trains assure me there are 800 empty seats") we saw a leader improved in almost every respect. 

Even Corbyn’s firecest foes will have found less to take issue with than they may have anticipated. He avoided picking a fight on Trident (unlike last year), delivered his most forceful condemnation of anti-Semitism (“an evil”) and, with the exception of the Iraq war, avoided attacks on New Labour’s record. The video which preceded his arrival, and highlighted achievements from the Blair-Brown years, was another olive branch. But deselection, which Corbyn again refused to denounce, will remain a running sore (MPs alleged that Hillsborough campaigner Sheila Coleman, who introduced Corbyn, is seeking to deselect Louise Ellman and backed the rival TUSC last May).

Corbyn is frequently charged with lacking policies. But his lengthy address contained several new ones: the removal of the cap on council borrowing (allowing an extra 60,000 houses to be built), a ban on arms sales to abusive regimes and an arts pupil premium in every primary school.

On policy, Corbyn frequently resembles Ed Miliband in his more radical moments, unrestrained by Ed Balls and other shadow cabinet members. He promised £500bn of infrastructure investment (spread over a decade with £150bn from the private sector), “a real living wage”, the renationalisation of the railways, rent controls and a ban on zero-hours contracts.

Labour’s greatest divisions are not over policy but rules, strategy and culture. Corbyn’s opponents will charge him with doing far too little to appeal to the unconverted - Conservative voters most of all. But he spoke with greater conviction than before of preparing for a general election (acknowledging that Labour faced an arithmetical “mountain”) and successfully delivered the attack lines he has often shunned.

“Even Theresa May gets it, that people want change,” he said. “That’s why she stood on the steps of Downing Street and talked about the inequalities and burning injustices in today’s Britain. She promised a country: ‘that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us’. But even if she manages to talk the talk, she can’t walk the walk. This isn’t a new government, it’s David Cameron’s government repackaged with progressive slogans but with a new harsh right-wing edge, taking the country backwards and dithering before the historic challenges of Brexit.”

After a second landslide victory, Corbyn is, for now, unassailable. Many MPs, having voted no confidence in him, will never serve on the frontbench. But an increasing number, recognising Corbyn’s immovability, speak once again of seeking to “make it work”. For all the ructions of this summer, Corbyn’s speech will have helped to persuade them that they can.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.