“Straight pride” (lol) protesters and counter-protesters clashed outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Modesto, California, over the weekend, the Modesto Bee reported Monday. The showdown, involving some 30 “straight pride” supporters and over 100 counter-protesters, apparently resulted in several arrests, a smoke bomb going off outside the clinic, and police in tactical gear showing up with pepper-spray.
Straight pride, for those who heterophobically assumed it was just a gathering of men in khakis grilling in the yard, is actually a real, organized thing! The National Straight Pride Coalition is a Christian group that claims to stand up for straight people by targeting not just LGBTQ rights, but reproductive rights—which explains why Planned Parenthood was the venue of choice for its planned Saturday protest. According to the group’s thinking, abortion and contraception, like same-sex marriage and other protections for LGBTQ people, are fundamental attacks on the white, heterosexual nuclear family, because they give women and pregnant people the option to not be state-controlled, child-birthing ovens (our words).
Not so surprisingly, the coalition is also deeply rooted in white supremacy, claiming abortion rights amount to white genocide—though, it seems worth noting, they also harp on about abortion being Black genocide, too. In 2019, Modesto-based straight pride supporters told the city council, “We haven’t done anything. We’re a totally peaceful racist group.” Saturday, then, was apparently just a couple of “peaceful racists” hanging out, enjoying each other’s company outside the city’s Planned Parenthood clinic!
Counter-protesters, wielding signs advocating for LGBTQ and women’s rights, reportedly showed up at the Planned Parenthood clinic before the straight pride protesters arrived on the scene around noon. By 11:30 am, the Modesto Police Department had closed off a local street as a result of the protest and posted a warning to residents about an “unlawful assembly of demonstrators.”
It wasn’t long before more police in full tactical gear, armed with pepper spray, batons, and bean bag guns, arrived to try to disperse the crowds, and allegedly indiscriminately attacked straight pride supporters and counter-protesters. “They came at us with batons, they jabbed us, they hit the crap out of us,” one counter-protester told the Modesto Bee, apparently through wheezes. By the end of the day, three people were arrested for failing to disperse, and two people were injured.
It’s not clear whether those hurt or arrested were straight pride advocates or counter-protesters, but in any case, it’s hardly surprising that police apparently attacked abortion and LGBTQ rights supporters. In the aftermath of Roe v. Wade being overturned in June, police routinely brutalized pro-choice protesters who took to the streets, in several cases unleashing teargas—a known abortifacient for pregnant people—on them. Police also have a long history of turning a blind eye to violent or threatening anti-abortion protesters outside abortion clinics. Just earlier this year, an officer in Louisville received a $75,000 settlement from the city for being briefly put on paid leave for protesting outside an abortion clinic in uniform.
On Sunday, Modesto city council member Chris Ricci took to Twitter to condemn the event. “Straight pride’s hateful bile is a disgrace and the event today is a black mark on our community,” Ricci wrote in a tweet.
The straight pride protest in Modesto this weekend comes amid an intense anti-LGBTQ moral panic, as Republican governors try to write trans kids out of existence and almost comically hypocritical right-wingers accuse nearly every LGBTQ adult of “grooming” kids. Straight pride stems from bigoted right-wing conspiracy theories that more and more LGBTQ people feeling emboldened to come out as queer means straight people will inevitably go extinct. As Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Ga.) put it in May: “Probably, in about four or five generations, no one will be straight anymore. Everyone will be either gay or trans or non-conforming.”
In honor of straight pride, I’ll leave you with this snippet from an obituary for straight people from Jezebel’s Kady Ruth Ashcraft:
“So without straight people on the planet, one might be wondering: How will humanity continue? Or even more crucially: Who will request Steely Dan songs at karaoke bars? Luckily, the year is now 2145, the year Greene predicted this would happen, and babies are now conceived through the blockchain. In lieu of flowers, donations will be accepted to buy cargo shorts in straight people’s memory.”