For the Straight Folks

Pat Parker’s poem is geared at “straight folks” who follow a pattern of hypocrisy in relation to “gays”. Throughout the poem, she highlights events where people who identify as straight will publicize personal information while also wishing that people who identify as gay “weren’t so blatant”. As we were reading the poem aloud in class, I was nodding my head and saying to myself “this is so true”. Most of my reactions stemmed from personal experiences of either hearing someone talk about their intimate life in public or discussing how people who identify as gay are too public with their relationship. These are the reasons this poem stuck out to me because I was shocked yet excited that Parker decided to call out this type of hypocrisy.

One of my favorite stanzas of this poem is where Parker mentions how straight couples sit next to you in a movie theatre and you hear sound effects, which I interpreted as the couple deciding to makeout. She ends this stanza, as she does with each stanza, with saying “BUT, gays shouldn’t be so blatant”. This is the most common scenario that I run into which is probably why that stanza in particular jumped out at me. There have been countless times as well where I have seen people, who I presume to identify with the LGBTQ+ community, holding hands in public and there are negative comments being made or people staring at the couple. However, when there is a heterosexual couple holding hands, there is less likely there will be any comments made, at least in my experience, because it is considered the “norm”. It was not until I read this poem that I started to think deeper about the hypocrisy between those who identify as straight and those who identify with the LGBTQ+ community. Since I was exposed to this poem, I have shown it to most of my friends because I personally feel like everyone should read this. I would like to thank Beth McCoy for sharing this poem with our class because as long as I have it, I will always randomly bring it up to my friends. I love poems that I can easily relate to through my own identity or experiences. As I mentioned earlier, this poem hits the nail right on the head with the description between “straight folks” and the LGBTQ+ community which I admire.


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