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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The Manchester attack will define this election: Broadcasters have a careful line to tread

It's right that the government should be given a chance to respond, but they must not be allowed to use it to campaign.

Every election campaign has its story, its place in the political history of this country. 2017 will forever be known for Manchester and the horror of the attack on Britain's young; and fighting terrorism will be a theme, overt or underlying, of what we see and hear between now and polling day.

The broadcasters have covered the events comprehensively yet sensitively. But they are aware that we're in an election campaign too; and when other news drives aside the carefully-balanced campaign formats, ministerial appearances give them a dilemma.

The fact is that what the Prime Minister and Home Secretary are doing in response to Manchester is newsworthy. It was Theresa May's duty to implement the recommendations of her security advisers on the elevation of the terror alert, and it would have been unthinkable for the news channels not to broadcast her various statements.

But it is also true that, if the bomb hadn't been detonated, Tuesday would have been a day in which the PM would have been under relentless damaging scrutiny for her u-turn on social care. All the opposition parties would have been in full cry across the airwaves. Yet in the tragic circumstances we found ourselves, nobody could argue that Downing Street appearances on the terror attack should prompt equal airtime for everyone from Labour to Plaid Cymru.

There are precedents for ministers needing to step out of their party roles during a campaign, and not be counted against the stopwatch balance of coverage. Irish terrorism was a factor in previous elections and the PM or Northern Ireland secretary were able to speak on behalf of the UK government. It applied to the foot and mouth epidemic that was occupying ministers' time in 2001. Prime ministers have gone to foreign meetings before, too. Mrs Thatcher went to an economic summit in photogenic Venice with her soulmate Ronald Reagan three days before the 1987 election, to the irritation of Neil Kinnock.

There are plenty of critics who will be vigilant about any quest for party advantage in the way that Theresa May and Amber Rudd now make their TV and radio appearances; and it’s inevitable that a party arguing that it offers strength and stability will not object to being judged against these criteria in extreme and distressing times.

So it's necessary for both broadcasters and politicians to be careful, and there are some fine judgements to be made. For instance, it was completely justifiable to interview Amber Rudd about the latest information from Manchester and her annoyance with American intelligence leaks. I was less comfortable with her being asked in the same interview about the Prevent strategy, and with her response that actions would follow "after June", which edges into party territory and would be a legitimate area to seek an opposition response.

When the campaigning resumes, these challenges become even greater. Deciding when the Prime Minister is speaking for the government and nation, or when she is leader of the Conservative Party, will never be black and white. But I would expect to see the broadcast bulletins trying to draw clearer lines about what is a political report and what is the latest from Manchester or from G7. They must also resist any efforts to time ministerial pronouncements with what's convenient for the party strategists' campaign grid.

There might also usefully be more effort to report straight what the parties are saying in the final days, with less spin and tactical analysis from the correspondents. The narrative of this election has been changed by tragedy, and the best response is to let the politicians and the public engage as directly as possible in deciding what direction the nation should now take.

Roger Mosey is the Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He was formerly editorial director and the director of London 2012 at the BBC.

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