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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Commentary: The harmful and transphobic reality of ‘super straight’

The new term, coined to dismiss trans women, has been adopted by hateful groups

Trigger warning: transphobia, nazism. 

If you or anyone you know is experiencing transphobia or antisemitism, you can find resources at https://transequality.org/additional-help and https://www.shalomdc.org/resources-and-tools-addressing-anti-semitism/.

Whether you witnessed it on Twitter, TikTok or Reddit, or you entirely missed it, “super straight” took the internet by storm during the first couple weeks of March. Coined by a now-deleted TikTok user, “super straight” is a (fake and made-up) sexuality which many straight men were quick to get behind as it functioned perfectly as an excuse to be overtly transphobic

Those who are backing “super straight” define it as only being attracted to those who were assigned the opposite sex from themselves at birth—thus reinforcing the idea of a gender binary and the inaccurate concrete connection between one’s gender and the sex they were assigned at birth. Personal preference when dating is one thing, but invalidating the identity of trans people (in this case primarily trans women) is an entirely separate thing. 

After TikTok user @Kyleroyce posted the original video introducing “super straight,” many different sides of the internet responded both in support and against this harmful term. On TikTok and Twitter, some users were quick to perfectly break down exactly why “super straight” is nothing more than blatant transphobia. User @procrasclass on TikTok succinctly shuts down “super straight” supporters and points out its basic logical fallacy—”super straight” supporters saying they only date “real women” means they harmfully and incorrectly view trans women as men. Stating that this transphobia is a form of extreme “straightness” inherently limits the women one “can” be attracted to. 

No matter the angle taken, there is no defense for “super straight,” as seen when the creator of the term responded to Insider, stating that “it was never meant to be hateful towards anyone,” even though in the original video posted he states “[in reference to trans women] that’s not a real woman […] I only date women that are born women”—there is simply no way around this statement being extremely hateful toward trans women. 

The exclusion of trans people simply because they are trans within this sexuality is no different from the statement that you would never date a trans person because they are trans—reinforcing the harmful perspective that trans men and women are different, often seen as lower class from cis-gendered people. To put it plainly, “super straight” (whether it is used as a joke or proposed as a new sexuality) is offensive toward the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, and purports extremely harmful rhetoric toward all trans people. 

As things so often do on the internet, the controversy surrounding “super straight” soon gained traction among alt-right and neo-Nazi circles on web forums like the infamous 4chan, and even some parts of Reddit. Groups in these chat rooms adopted the black and orange flag deemed the “super straight pride flag” (some have pointed out it is possibly correlated to PornHub’s logo of the same color scheme), and added double-lightning bolt motifs to it—something strongly associated with the Schutzstaffel or “SS,” the paramilitary organization of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party. 

There was some confusion as to whether these neo-Nazis were the ones who invented the term “super straight,” but it has since been made fairly clear that they simply co-opted something rooted in hatred and ran with it. Transphobia and violence against trans people (most prominently Black trans women) has long been deeply tied to the alt-right and white nationalist movements, so it is not surprising that these violent groups were so quick to embrace the “super straight” ideology, and infuse it with their own. 

Most of the actual chats where these neo-Nazi groups created the connections between “super straight” and white supremacy are gone due to 4chan’s feature of permanently deleting message boards after certain periods of time—luckily there are still screenshots that made their way to Twitter, making it impossible for any supporter of “super straight” to truly distance themselves from the hateful roots of this “movement.” In one set of screenshots posted by Twitter user @DavidPaisley and then verified by Mashable, one user on 4chan stated “Hail SuperStraight Victory” paired with an orange and black SS flag. 

Identifying with a sexuality is a way to create unity and spread understanding and respect for everyone’s different identities. There is no space for things like “super straight” that are rooted in hateful and divisive perspectives concerning sexuality or identity. 

Written by: Angie Cummings — arts@theaggie.org


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