Trying to cross Fifth Avenue this morning, much as I was this past weekend, I was interrupted by a parade.
There were all the men, in their khakis and J. Crew shirts—we all know the one, the uniform—marching in time, removing their Ray Bans to dab off some sweat on their way to streamline, strategize, consult, and do their definitely real-sounding jobs.
Before I knew it, the women had joined them, spilling out of SoulCycle and carousing in a cacophonous din, alternatingly sipping their pressed juices and iced coffees before parting ways to their respective homebases—various PR offices in Flatiron.
Around Union Square I glimpsed the couples emerging from the subway, bravely blocking the way for commuters in a rush to get to work with their insistence to walk hand-in-hand on the busy sidewalk, a courageous public display of affection in solidarity with those who are like them: the men and women everywhere who want to show their love in public and just feel normal about it.
All around me I saw these revelers. So many versions of men furiously texting on their phones, confidently charging through the sea of pedestrians without a care for who might be in their way, emboldened by the power haircut—that one that imbues each donner with an insufferable ego irresistible by Bachelorette casting producers.
In between Tinder swipes, their female counterparts joined them, their zig-zagging down the parade route a spell-blinding feat of choreography, or maybe just a byproduct of walking in heels whilst Snapchatting.
Their battle cries could be heard for miles, gruff barkings of “Bruh! Bruh!” and occasional squawks of “Oh my god!” over the din. Seizing the opportunities to buck conventions of a society who cringes at their instincts to be their true selves, the most renegade few sported wild outfits like extra deep V-neck tees and tighter yoga pants than usual.
Their intense, passionate making out sessions—the kind without a care in the world for what passersby might have to witness, in various states of disgust—previously relegated to shadowy safe havens such as “on park benches,” “in the middle of the bar,” “wherever they want,” and “in plain sight” are now taking place out in the open without a care for being judged or disapproved of.
After decades of being marginalized by the media to roles like “The Lead of an Expensive Broadcast Drama” and “Romantic Lead of the Next Major Film Franchise” and reduced to stereotypes and dated clichés, here is their chance to wave their flags in all their diverse glory.
And, in the ultimate display of validity and recognition, they have been gifted with a social media hashtag for the monumental occasion: #HeterosexualPrideDay.
I was unaware while walking through the city this morning that I would encounter this parade—clearly I forgot to update my calendar with this year’s pride date. But I was touched to reach Fifth Avenue and witness this rare display of unbridled, unself-conscious authenticity and jubilation of this community being, finally themselves.
Had I not known that it was Heterosexual Pride Day I would have missed this march, for it’s seldom that I get a chance to see it: only twice a day, once on the way to work and once on the way home. The enthusiasm today was palpable, though. The Sperrys shuffled with more friction. The flats were less scuffed.
To mark Heterosexual Pride Day, a “Day” essentially timed 72 hours after the LGBT community marched down that same Fifth Avenue in celebration of their right to love and be themselves and in defiance of those denying those rights and their safety in the wake of the shooting in Orlando, your friends and mine have taken to social media to comment on the isolated occasion to honor straight people.
Here is the best of their tributes:
—with additional reporting by Peter Slattery.