The Straight Edge Movement of Punk Rock

Image of Minor Threat cover


Straight Edge (also written as "sXe") is a movement spawned within the hardcore scene in the '80s. Its followers have made a commitment to abstain from using drugs, alcohol and tobacco products.

How the "X" Mark Began

Followers of the straight edge movement often wear an "X" on the back of either hand. This was born when the Teen Idles, while underage and on tour, wore X's on their hands as a promise to the club owners where they played that they would not drink. They returned to DC and asked local venues to adopt this system to allow underage fans to see them in clubs that served alcohol. The symbol spread to many straight edge adherents of all ages.

Origin of the Name "Straight Edge"

The movement got its name from the Minor Threat song "Straight Edge." Minor Threat, a band spawned from the Teen Idles, wrote this song to state their beliefs, and in turn, this song helped to spawn the entire movement.

"Straight Edge" - Minor Threat (1981)

I'm a person just like you
But I've got better things to do
Than sit around and f**k my head
Hang out with the living dead
Snort white s**t up my nose
Pass out at the shows
I don't even think about speed
That's something I just don't need
I've got the straight edge
I'm a person just like you
But I've got better things to do
Than sit around and smoke dope
'Cause I know I can cope
Laugh at the thought of eating ludes
Laugh at the thought of sniffing glue
Always gonna keep in touch
Never want to use a crutch
I've got the straight edge

Over the years, the straight edge scene was often noted as being highly militant. One straight edge crew, FSU (Friends Stand United), has been involved in many controversial altercations at shows across the country, although this is also related to the band's strong anti-racist stance.