Is Straight Pride Hate Pride?
A linguistics study of a poster following Van Dijk's Ideological Analysis
The poster about straight pride was launched on the official website of the political organization "Super Happy Fun America". This non-profit organization was founded in 2019 and one of its founders and the current president is the republican politician John Hugo, who ran for congressmen in 2018. The poster presents the main arguments of why being straight should be something to be proud of, this being the fact that it has always been like that and that it's the only natural way to procreate.
This page evoked several reactions from North American society and even worldwide. The ideas displayed by this group caused hatred and disappointment towards the LGBTQ community. However, some organizations within this community, the Boston Pride organizers, for example, tried to ignore these claims as they said they were only trying to get a rise out of vulnerable communities. On the other hand, when the Straight Pride parade took place in Boston, there were several counter-protesters that decided to manifest their disapproval by stating that "Straight Pride is Hate Pride". This ideology had an enormous impact on public opinion as well, as it even provoked influential figures' opinions on social media, such as politicians, actors, and so on.
According to Van Dijk, the first step in the ideological and discursive analysis of an image is to identify competing or clashing perspectives. In order to do this, two categories for ideological analysis will be applied: actor description and victimization.
Van Dijk defines actor description as the categorization of members of groups or as individuals, by first or family name, function, role or group name, as specific or unspecific, by their actions or (alleged) attributes, by their position or relation to other people, and so on. The overall ideological strategy is that of positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation.
The producer of the message is Super Happy Fun America (USA), a group that stands for the human rights of the heterosexual community. The addresser is known as the ingroup or "US" and they are doing this type of campaign on social media, creating those posters and organizing the Straight Pride Parade (August 31st, 2019 Boston City) because they want to show that, unlike the LGBTQ community, they are the real oppressed group, even though they are a majority. They try to change people's mindset about the real discrimination a straight person can suffer just for the sole fact of being straight. They feel the need to build a society that treats them as equals among all the other sexual orientations. Everybody who understands the importance of respecting the straight community's rights is welcomed to join the group. In relation to other similar groups, they have other organizations as allies and supporters like Camp Constitution, Women Of Eve, Trump Unity Bridge, Moms for America, and Dr. Felecia Nace.
-They stand up for straight people's rights in order to build respect, inclusivity, equality, diversity, unity, awareness, dignity, social mobility, tolerance, and so on.
-They encourage everyone to embrace the community's diverse history, culture and identity regardless of sexual orientation.
-They are the group that is capable of preserving the human species without artificial methods.
-They support the historical and biological process of procreation.
There are several false syllogisms and oversimplifications in this presentation. Firstly, the fact that only heterosexual people can have babies. All of them? The poster oversimplifies a much more complex issue, the possibility of having a child, by reducing it to a matter of sexual orientation and defining gender as determined by genitals.
Secondly, the poster shows the image of a white, hegemonic slim middle-classed monogamous, and Christian couple as a representation of straight people. This could be seen as a false syllogism as we cannot be certain that all people that are straight share the same physical, economic, and moral features.
Thirdly, the group considers that being attracted to the opposite sex and being able to have babies is natural, that is to say, it goes beyond what humankind can modify or choose. This is false because there is evidence that human beings can be attracted to people of the same sex (gender) and this is not an obstacle for conceiving children.
Other sexual orientations that surpass that binary ideology are unnatural.
Homosexual people cannot make babies.
LGBTQ members of the community are not as beautiful as straight people (controversial).
LGBTQ members are not an oppressed group, they are (controversial).
There are several topois present in the poster. The group uses history as an argument to validate their beliefs saying that "it's worked since the beginning of humanity". Also, the producer of the message implies that homosexuals do not share the same qualities as straight people: they are not white, hegemonic, slim, middle-classed, monogamous, Christian and they go against history and nature.
The second category that will be applied to the analysis of the poster is victimization.
From what can be seen in the poster, the ideology of this group is overt, that is to say, open to critique and self-reflexive. They do not try to hide what they think about why they should be equally recognized in terms of rights fight or social representation in comparison to the LGBTQ community. In fact, in the poster, their ideology is explicit, as they do not make use of lexical relations such as metaphors or euphemisms to cover their beliefs.
Straight people suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation, they do not feel free to express their identity for fear of being criticized and stigmatized and are not represented among the other sexual orientations in the community. One of their allies, Women Of Eve, has joined together across the country to ask the LGBTQ community to include the S for straight. They enquire not to exclude the women and men of this world that procreate because after all without them there would be no LGBTQ.
Straight people feel that they are not the beneficiaries of the dominant culture but rather victims of "inequities." They claim that they are repressed, they do not have rights, they get killed and beat up and bullied every day for being heterosexual. Moreover, they deal with self-hatred over their sexuality too, 40% of them have attempted suicide because they cannot deal with how straight they are, and not only that, they are four times as likely to try to kill themselves when they are teenagers. They support this argument by stating that "If gay people have pride, why shouldn't straight people have it too?"
All things considered, it is clear that the poster presents several competing ideologies, that being heterosexuals vs. homosexuals, natural vs. unnatural, Christian vs. non-Christian marriage, and finally the ability to procreate vs. the inability to procreate. Moreover, the poster represents the idea that straight people should be proud of themselves because they do not corrupt the natural way of existing as human beings and because history evidences the success of their condition. They are also capable of procreating and in this way, they avoid humanity from disappearing as a species. These views are conveyed in a visual format, a poster published on the organization's official web page and on their social media profiles in order to encourage people to join them, to show why they are relevant to society, and to celebrate their identity and sexual orientation.
Super Happy Fun America. It's Great to be Straight (2019). Retrieved from: http://www.superhappyfunamerica.com/
Ellen, Barbara. (2019). It's time gay people stepped aside…hetero whiners have rights too. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/08/time-gay-people-stepped-aside-hetero-whiners-have-rights-too
Straight pride (2013). Retrieved from https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Straight%20pride