Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Why isn't there Straight Pride month?

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Thu June 13, 2013
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
updated 8:27 PM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
The ability to manipulate media and technology has increasingly become a critical strategic resource, says Jeff Yang.
updated 11:17 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Today's politicians should follow Ronald Reagan's advice and invest in science, research and development, Fareed Zakaria says.
updated 8:19 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Artificial intelligence does not need to be malevolent to be catastrophically dangerous to humanity, writes Greg Scoblete.
updated 10:05 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Historian Douglas Brinkley says a showing of Sony's film in Austin helped keep the city weird -- and spotlighted the heroes who stood up for free expression
updated 8:03 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Tanya Odom that by calling only on women at his press conference, the President made clear why women and people of color should be more visible in boardrooms and conferences
updated 8:12 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
When oil spills happen, researchers are faced with the difficult choice of whether to use chemical dispersants, authors say
updated 1:33 AM EST, Thu December 25, 2014
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
updated 6:12 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
updated 8:36 AM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
updated 2:14 PM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
updated 10:35 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
updated 7:57 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
updated 11:29 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
updated 4:15 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
updated 1:11 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
updated 1:08 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
updated 1:53 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
updated 3:19 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
updated 5:39 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
updated 8:12 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
updated 12:09 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
updated 4:34 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT