By D’Anne Witkowski
If you said the words “Super Happy Fun America” to me and then asked me what that was, I would have guessed it was the name of a low-budget, USA-themed amusement park with lots of red, white and blue cowboy hats, Big Macs at every concession stand and a requirement that everyone in attendance carry a gun.
That, it turns out, is incorrect. “Super Happy Fun America” is actually more awful than that.
It is, in fact, the name of the organization that put on the so-called Straight Pride parade in Boston on Aug. 31.
On the SHFA website, President John Hugo says, “Straight people are an oppressed majority. We will fight for the right of straights everywhere to express pride in themselves without fear of judgment and hate. The day will come when straights will finally be included as equals among all of the other orientations.”
That Hugo co-opts the language of LGBTQ equality groups is no accident. It’s clear that SHFA has done its homework.
In an interview on Fox’s “Watters World” before the event took place, Hugo is so unhinged that he makes host Jesse Watters, who is basically a palmful of hair gel in a suit, seem reasonable and smart.
“Are you just doing this as a joke to be provocative, or do you really feel this strongly about this?” Watters asks.
“No, no,” Hugo insists. “We knew we were going to trigger the left, and that’s why we called it Super Fun Happy America.”
“Can you understand why the LGBTQ community is a little bit upset by this?” Watters asks.
Hugo responds that Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay man who makes a living pissing gay people off to the delight of anti-LGBTQ right-wingers, is the head of their parade.
“We’ve got gay people who are helping us,” he says. “We’ve got gay allies.”
Hugo also says they want to include an “S” in LGBTQ because “it’s more inclusive that way.”
And then he laughs in this really creepy way. It’s uncomfortable to watch Hugo because he is clearly not a man who is confident in himself, especially compared to the overly confident Watters. That makes him the perfect person to lead this charge of hetero-misfits.
In a video of the parade posted online, there’s a giant pro-Trump float (fun fact: that monstrosity originated in Michigan and is available to rent for “weddings, parades, birthdays, rallies” according to its Facebook page) and lots of white men in red MAGA hats. There is also someone in a shark costume carrying a sign that reads, “Straight Lives Matter” next to someone wearing an inflatable T. Rex costume who is waving a Trump 2020 flag.
In other words, it was a circus, only it was a circus filled with people who are terrible and no fun at all. It’s the bleakest parade I’ve ever seen.
In the video, it’s hard to see who is part of the parade versus who is covering the event (lots of people seem to be wearing press badges). There are also lots of police officers.
According to The Guardian, the event “drew more than 1,000 counter-protesters and a few hundred supporters.”
In other words, not an ideal ratio for the straight priders.
SHFA Vice President Mark Sahady declared the event “a huge success.”
And for them it was. The fact that they got a couple of hundred people to show up is pretty impressive.
It’s hard to tell how seriously SHFA expects people to take it. On the one hand, they claim to be very serious. On the other hand, well, they call themselves Super Happy Fun America.
But it would be a mistake to dismiss the whole thing as a joke. The aim is to minimize the very real struggle for LGBTQ equality. That a straight pride parade exists seems, on the surface, like a perfectly reasonable response to the fact that an LGBTQ pride parade exists.
But, of course, it isn’t. There is no history of heterosexual oppression (unless you count the religious right’s war against birth control and sex outside of marriage, but that’s just heteros oppressing themselves). There hasn’t been a systemic effort to deny or punish the existence of straight people.
Presenting the straight pride parade as if it is equally legitimate (or equally illegitimate, which seems to be the argument SHFA is going for) to a traditional Pride event is to intentionally diminish LGBTQ Pride.
It also allows people who reject the idea that LGBTQ people are deserving of equality and respect to celebrate their hatred openly.
It’s another example of the majority seeing equal rights as a zero-sum game. It’s not super, it’s not happy, it’s not fun. But it is America, for better, or, in this case, for worse.
—D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.