Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Why isn't there Straight Pride month?

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Shannon Cram kisses her girlfriend Michelle Molina at the 43rd Los Angeles Pride Parade on June 9.
Shannon Cram kisses her girlfriend Michelle Molina at the 43rd Los Angeles Pride Parade on June 9.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alan Turing, "father of computer science," killed himself, "convicted" of being gay
  • LZ Granderson: 60 years later, it's legal in parts of U.S. to fire someone for being gay
  • LZ: Gay Pride month is a time to celebrate the right to live without persecution
  • The day being straight becomes a crime, LZ says, Straight Pride will be born

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and was a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @locs_n_laughs.

(CNN) -- On North Halsted Street, between Buckingham and Roscoe in Chicago, a monument stands with a plaque in honor of a brilliant thinker who is as responsible for the way we live our lives today as any person who has ever lived.

His name is Alan Turing, a Brit, and among his many credits and accolades, many historians refer to him as "the father of computer science." When Time magazine listed him among its 100 most influential people of the 20th century, it said "that everyone who taps at a keyboard, opening a spreadsheet or a word-processing program, is working on an incarnation of a Turing machine."

Men attend the 2013 Capital Pride parade in Washington on June 8\n
Men attend the 2013 Capital Pride parade in Washington on June 8

A pretty high honor to say the least. And yet in 1952, while filing a robbery report with the police, Turing -- the man whose algorithms cracked the Enigma code used by the Nazis in World War II -- found himself arrested at his home in England.

His crime? Being gay.

Turing was convicted of "gross indecency," a felony in Britain at that time. He was forced to choose between prison and being injected with female hormones, a form of chemical castration.

He reluctantly chose the latter. Despite his accomplishments, he lost his job. And in June 1954, he lost his will to live. He was 41.

LZ Granderson
LZ Granderson

If the Western world is somewhat haunted by what Steve Jobs might have accomplished had cancer not taken him from us, we should be downright tormented by what we lost from the senseless excommunication of his predecessor.

Turing's plaque is one of 18 that make up the city's Legacy Walk, which honors LGBT people who have made a contribution to history. It's a reminder of where we were and how far we've come. But as much as it seems the nation is talking about this topic, the fact remains that in much of the United States, it is still legal to fire someone for the same reason that Turing was fired 60 years ago in Britain.

Perhaps the prejudices in our rear view mirror may appear farther away than they actually are.

First same-sex couple marries in France
Celebrating gay pride in Tel Aviv
Atlanta Pride Parade

June is Gay Pride month. So if you find yourself exhausted from all of this gay rights talk and want to leave a not-so-kind comment on a story, remember it's because of an openly gay man that you even have the technology to do so.

If you're a black person who gets offended whenever the Civil Rights Movement is mentioned in the same sentence as the fight for gay rights, remember the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s close confidant and most influential mentor was an openly gay black man by the name of Bayard Rustin.

And if you ever find yourself wondering "How come there's no Straight Pride month?" I say the day being straight becomes a crime -- as being gay still is in many parts of the world -- start one.

Gay Pride was not born out of a need to celebrate not being straight but our right to exist without prosecution.

Just as Stokely Carmichael's "Black is Beautiful" became the rallying cry against racism in the 1960s; just as "I am woman, hear me roar" was the anthem against sexism in the 1970s; "gay pride" is the banner that flies over a people whose dignity continues to be put to a vote in 2013.

News coverage in June may focus on the celebratory nature of Gay Pride parades, but it cannot rewrite the history that made these parades an integral part of our survival.

Why isn't there Straight Pride?

Because Congress has yet to pass a law requiring people to hide the fact they are straight. Because the streets are not filled with children who have been kicked out of their homes for being straight. Because there seems to be a lack of stories in which someone has been beaten, tied to a fence and left to die or shot in the face at point blank range because they were straight.

For this Gay Pride month, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said he expects to take up legislation to address workplace discrimination "soon." This month, the Supreme Court may make a ruling on whether or not same-sex couples can marry.

This month, 11-year-old Marcel Neergaard wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed that "during my first year in middle school, I experienced severe bullying. I was called terrible names that were quite hurtful. At that time, I had just realized that I'm gay, and the bullies used the word 'gay' as an insult.

"This made me feel like being gay was horrible, but my parents told me otherwise. Their support was tremendous. But as powerful as their love was, it couldn't fight off all the bullying. I don't want anyone else to feel the way I did. No one deserves that much pain, no matter who they are."

Yeah.

So maybe instead of wondering why there isn't a straight pride month or movement, straight people should be thankful they don't need one. I'm sure Turing would have rather filed the police report and stayed home. I'm sure Marcel would prefer going to school in peace.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1221 GMT (2021 HKT)
Carlos Moreno says atheists, a sizable fraction of Americans, deserve representation in Congress.
August 31, 2014 -- Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says Democrats and unions have a long history of mutual support that's on the decline. But in a time of income inequality they need each other more than ever
August 31, 2014 -- Updated 0423 GMT (1223 HKT)
William McRaven
Peter Bergen says Admiral William McRaven leaves the military with a legacy of strategic thinking about special operations
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1724 GMT (0124 HKT)
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1330 GMT (2130 HKT)
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2242 GMT (0642 HKT)
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2335 GMT (0735 HKT)
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1919 GMT (0319 HKT)
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1950 GMT (0350 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2052 GMT (0452 HKT)
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2104 GMT (0504 HKT)
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
ADVERTISEMENT