Leaders of a number of Straight Pride groups across Essex have said that yesterday’s HETEROSEXUAL PRIDE DAY celebrations were a roaring success, and they all hope that the event can continue to grow and thrive in future years. Streets were closed all over the county for a variety of events to help boost awareness of the issues facing straight people in both Essex and across the UK, and social media networks including Facebook and Twitter quickly filled up with the hashtag #heterosexualprideday – thousands of people from all walks of the Straight, Heterosexual and Non-Oppressed (SHNO) community used the event to summon the strength to describe the moment when they came out as straight.

Jason Bull was one of thousands of people taking part in one of the region’s biggest Straight Pride marches on Southend High Street yesterday, and he said: ‘This has really been an eye-opening experience for me, and all I had to do is step into a busy shopping area to find thousands of people who are straight just like me. Usually, it is very difficult to find a bar or a pub that is welcoming towards the straight community in our town – almost 2% of all establishments are dedicated to the LGBT community and this inequality needs to be addressed! I wanted to come here today and show some support for the billions of people around the world who have had to face their parents and come out as straight – conforming to what society expects you to do is one of the toughest points in an individual’s life, and I remember how worried I was about how my friends, colleagues and bosses would react.’

He added: ‘With the number of countries around the world where it is still illegal to be straight, events like Heterosexual Pride Day have never been more important to raise awareness.’

Chloe and Martin Thomas celebrated the event by having a baby at Southend Hospital. Speaking to our Chief Reporter shortly after she gave birth, she said: ‘Being able to reproduce biologically without the need for specialist treatment, surrogacy or adoption is a huge contributor to levels of stress and anxiety across the SHNO community. Once we are allowed to go home, we may even celebrate our new arrival by holding hands while we push the pram down the street in a public show of how straight we are – it is time for society to accept that our sexual orientation is normal.’