Pride 2024: Why we don't have a month dedicated to heterosexuality

Boston held a straight pride parade in 2019. In 2023, a Denver father sued the local school district for not flying a straight pride flag. This year, a bar in Idaho is offerings deals for "Heterosexual Awesomeness Month."

The LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride Month during June to commemorate the Stonewall uprising. But amidst a political and social environment that has become increasingly hostile towards queer people, events and promotions celebrating heterosexuality seem to push back on the celebration.

Heterosexuality is the norm, and experts say that creates the need to dedicate a month to LGBTQ+ visibility. Here is why America celebrates Pride as a month dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community.

See maps: These states have made progress in legal protections of the LGBTQ+ community

Why don't we have a month dedicated to straight people?

As the LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride this June, some may wonder why there isn't a month to celebrate straight people.

Imara Jones, a journalist and founder of non-profit news organization TransLash Media, said we have dedicated months, including Pride, Black History Month and others, because those communities have been historically marginalized.

"People have been systemically written out of history and excluded and made invisible," she said. "One of the antidotes to that has been the idea that we will make people more visible and that there needs to be increased visibility in order to counteract that."

She also pointed out that the majority of people in the U.S. identify as heterosexual. According to December 2023 data from the UCLA Williams Institute, 5.5% of adults in the U.S. identify as LGBT.

The norms of heterosexuality are widely reflected in mainstream media, she said, mentioning shows like "Bridgerton" and "The Bachelor."

She said Pride is about, declaring "this is who I am."

Pride Month commemorates Stonewall riots, celebrates community

Pride Month commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and the fight for equal rights.

The Stonewall Uprising began on June 28, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a prominent gay bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The protests that followed are credited with a shift in LGBTQ+ activism in the U.S.

The following year saw some of the first Pride parades in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Despite the pivotal role transgender people and women of color played in the riots, including trans activist Marsha P. Johnson, they were largely excluded from early Pride celebrations.

Today, Pride Month presents an opportunity for visibility and community. In addition to celebrating LGBTQ+ love and joy, it’s also a time to highlight important policy and resource issues the community faces.

Anti-LGBTQ+ hate, legislation on the rise

The last few years have seen waves of legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community.

In 2023, more than 500 bills were introduced in state legislatures and 84 of those were signed into law, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

This year, more than 475 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced.

In 2023, the Southern Poverty Law Center identified approximately 30% more anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups, more than they had ever listed.

The 2022 FBI crime data shows that anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes were also on the rise, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Jones said the political pushback against inclusion and impending presidential election trickle down into Pride celebrations. She has seen intense anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric online seep into real life with real consequences for the community.

"We can't ignore... the role of intimidation in all of this, to be quite frank about it." she said.

Contributing: Sara Chernikoff

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: As LGTBQ+ hate rises in US, so does push for 'Hetero Month'