The Need for Straight Pride: Coping in the Aftermath of Pope Prancis’s Announcement
by Karen ’21
Last week, Pope Prancis’s refusal to bless opposite-sex unions came as a blow to the heterosexual community. Prancis, who has been historically more progressive than previous popes, inspired a hope for monumental change in the Church’s policy towards heterosexual couples. While the Church does not outwardly condemn heterosexuality, it is still viewed as a sin among many priests and adherents.
In light of Pope Prancis’ decision, the heterosexual community reaffirms the need for straight pride and visiblity. Especially for religious heterosexuals, the refusal brings back memories of years of religious trauma for many—being told that their sexuality is unnatural, will cause eternal damnation, etc.
Straight pride attempts to combat historical oppression and modern prejudices and discrimination. The celebration is held annually, often featuring parades and parties with fellow members of the heterosexual community. This week is not just a celebration, but also a form of healing and catharsis; gathering together with others who accept heterosexuality is crucial for the mental health and safety of straights.
As a Catholic institution, Providence College upholds the doctrine that only homosexual marriage is valid in the eyes of God; as a result, the College refuses to allow a straight pride week on campus.
Like Pope Prancis’s announcement, the College’s refusal to host a straight pride is damaging to the heterosexual community on campus. SHEEP, Straight Heteros Expecting Equality and Peace, is the resident heterosexual club on campus, whose existence and inclusion provides a refuge for many heterosexuals and allies on campus.
This week, SHEEP released a statement regarding Pope Prancis’s words and the College’s response: “SHEEP is disappointed at the College’s refusal to hold a straight pride week as well as the decision of Pope Prancis to deny blessings of straight couples.
These incidents only serve as painful reminders of historical oppression against heterosexual people, which have no place on a college campus. SHEEP wishes to remind heterosexual students that they are loved and celebrated despite evidence to the contrary.”
The College has a responsibility to the wellbeing and safety of all of its students, especially those most marginalized—straight students especially. Because of this fundamental responsibility, the refusal to host a straight pride event actively harms its heterosexual students and perpetuates prejudices and oppression. While Pope Prancis and the Catholic Church may condemn straight marriage, as an educational institution, the College must allow a straight pride week.