The internet is often lauded as a technicolour cyberscape where lonely queer kids can find like-minded people and feel less alone. If you spend enough time online, it’s easy to fall into a false sense that everything everywhere is super gay. There can seem to be countless safe spaces online; a platform like Tumblr can be seen as a fountain of “new” sexualities and identity labels; on TikTok, any pop-cultural obsession or niche-interest can be. But, utopian as it can sometimes appear, it’s also impossible to forget that the internet is also where some of the most aggressively straight people live and seethe — from 4chan’s incels to Reddit’s… redditors to the newest transphobic movement: Super Straight.
Claiming to be a movement that represents a new sexual orientation, Super Straight is supposed to be a designation for people who are so straight that they can’t possibly be attracted to a trans person. It gained a growing ubiquity this week, mainly because of how quickly and aggressively its posts and hashtags are being chased off social media platforms.
On Tuesday, the Super Straight subreddit was banned from Reddit for “promoting hate towards marginalized or vulnerable groups.” On TikTok, all that remains of the movement are videos using #superstraights — a hashtag that’s actually used on videos that criticize and parody the movement, as well as host necessary conversations about transphobia. These videos have collectively amassed over 3 million views. Meanwhile, the original hashtag — “#superstraight” — doesn’t yield any results. Instead, a message from TikTok explains that “this phrase may be associated with behaviour or content that violates our guidelines.”
The movement's merchandise website: www.superstraight.net appears to no longer be available. (Please name a straighter domain.) The movement's only stable-ish online presence is an Instagram account that collects memes and TikToks that elaborate on what it means to be Super Straight. And perhaps the straightest post of them all is the first post: a screenshot of an Urban Dictionary entry that defines “super straight,” as “a sexual preference in which one prefers only the opposite sex with the exclusion of transgender people. The Super Straight flag consists of black and orange.” It feels very apt that the Super Straight flag bears the exact same colours as the Grindr logo. On a good day, its merch could be mistaken for Pornhub merch. Everything about it is divinely meme-able.
There’s more to the Super Straight movement than just being super-straight and selling merch, though: It also stands against cancel culture and appears intentionally committed to co-opting elements of LGBTQ+ discourse in a weird attempt to Uno-reverse criticism. By calling Super Straight sexuality, tagging the letters “SS” to the front of the LGBTQ acronym, bearing a flag, and explaining that, since Super Straight is a sexual orientation, it is not transphobic, Super Straights hope to confound the “blue-haired girls” who would argue that not being attracted to trans people does not make you part of an oppressed identity group.
Every identity is “valid” as long as it is true to the person claiming it. But, if your identity is based on stigmatizing trans people, then your identity is genuinely transphobic. Stating this doesn’t invalidate your identity, it’s just being honest. Nobody is required to date or have sex with trans people, but it’s eerily violent to organize an identity and a movement around excluding them. For Super Straights to do just that, while claiming that they’re persecuted is the ultimate irony. But, lucky for them, there are no political, medical, or religious institutions out to exclude and exterminate them, or pretend they’re just some transgressive novelty of modernity. Even though, that’s exactly what Super Straights are — a novelty, a footnote, a trend soon to be forgotten.