Is There Really Any Need For A Straight Pride Festival?

Straight Pride could be coming to Brazil. Fancy singing "We're here, we're not queer, and the wife's going shopping while we stand outside Curry's and watch the football scores?"
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Straight Pride could be coming to Brazil. Fancy singing "We're here, we're not queer, and the wife's going shopping while we stand outside Curry's and watch the football scores?"

I'll never forget my first Pride. Cut adrift from the rest of my group, who'd travelled from York to London in a rented coach that stank of Gaultier Le Male and lemon-flavoured Hooch, I found myself wandering around one of the capital's bewilderingly massive parks, with no idea of where to go or what to do. Bright eyed, but decidedly flaccid of tail, I was a nineteen year-old virgin surrounded by debauchery, leather and water-based lubricant - like Shirley Temple trying to find her way out of an abattoir.

In the years that followed, I soon learned what to expect from my annual pilgrimage to the biggest day in the gay calendar. I also realised that, for all its attempts to make a political statement about equal rights, it was really just an excuse for people to get off their tits and cop a feel in the bushes (the bears in these woods weren't remotely interested in picnics), as enterprising businesses milked the 'community' like a three-handed dairy farmer.

Much has changed since those early amyl-scented days. It was a big surprise in the summer of 1997, for example, to march past Downing Street with a rousing cheer, rather than the customary boos that used to announce our arrival at the home of the Prime Minister.

But as the laws have relaxed, and rights have gradually been granted to afford the LGBT community almost equal status, a small but vocal group of opponents have continued to raise objections. Perhaps put off by the sight of one too many pairs of exposed buttocks waving from a slow-moving float, these critics have managed to convince themselves that those troublesome gays have been granted too many rights, at the expense of regular heterosexuals.

Having fixated about having an unfamiliar lifestyle rammed (repeatedly) down their throats, their over-stretched gag reflex has resulted in the erroneous opinion that they are the new underdogs. Occasionally, one of them pipes up to say "What about Straight Pride?" And although such outbursts are usually met with little more than a derisory snort, in São Paulo, they may just be getting their wish.

After all, "We're here, we're not queer, and the wife's going shopping while we stand outside Curry's and watch the football scores" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

Despite arguing that it was not an anti-gay gesture, Councilperson Carlos Apolinario explained that the proposal for 'Straight Pride Day' was his way of speaking out at the "excesses and privileges" enjoyed by Brazil's gay population, not least the LGBT parade that takes place in the city's Paulista Avenue. If it gets ratified by Gilberto Kassab, the city's mayor, Straight Pride will be held on the third Sunday of every December and added to the city's municipal calendar.

No doubt Richard Littlejohn is already packing his jorts for a week in sunny Brazil. But if the event is a big success, he could soon be lugging his 'Adam and Eve Not Adam and Steve' banner all the way from Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square.

The thing is, I'm not entirely sure what a Straight Pride event would entail. Since gay pride has always offered up a multicoloured celebration of all the kinks and permutations that define the lifestyle, it's hard to see how that might translate into an extravagant display of conformity and convention. After all, "We're here, we're not queer, and the wife's going shopping while we stand outside Curry's and watch the football scores" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

Pride traditionally offers up themed spaces for various subcategories - leather, sleaze, transgender etc - so presumably they'll need to work on a similar principle. Maybe they can turn the car park into a dogging area, with a specially cordoned off zone for seagulling enthusiasts sponsored by Autoglass. The main tent will need to be a monogamy space, full of couples staring fixedly at the floor to avoid getting into trouble for a spot of eye-wandering. And the kids can join in on all the fun, with specially printed T-shirts that read "Mummy and Daddy may hate each other, but they're staying together for me".

Someone will also need to think about booking some headline music acts too. And since we usually get stuck with a piss-poor line-up of clichés and stereotypes, that template will need to be followed in order to create an authentic Pride experience. If we're going to be treated to Lisa Scott-Lee and whatever passes for the current line-up of Bucks Fizz, you can have a Genesis tribute act and someone who used to play bass in Status Quo. But don't worry, you'll be so pissed on over-priced, lukewarm beer, you won't be able to hear them anyway.

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