As an out and proud queer, this year’s Pride is a little complicated for me. There’s been a lot of discourse around whether or not kink, BDSM, and leather culture should be allowed at Pride. The central argument is that consent is required before anyone (especially the children!) can be made to look at a pervert existing, and I think that’s so valid. For this reason, I want to do everything in my power to honor gatekeeping kink out of pride, but how can I when my kink is bank-sponsored parade floats?
While some killjoys will rattle on about Pride being a riot and a protest, I consider Pride to be more of a celebration. Specifically, it’s a time to celebrate and be thankful to the general public for not oppressing us as much as before. Everyone should be welcome at this celebration, and the only way to make everyone welcome is to shut out a smaller group of people whose presence makes some others uncomfortable. And I’m one to practice what I preach, but how can I when I absolutely flood my basement and begin to froth at the mouth like a crazed sex freak every time I see a rainbow float transporting some cis white gays lip-syncing Diana Ross and the whole orgiastic scene is sponsored by Citibank?!
Accidentally looking at some leather daddies could potentially ruin someone’s entire experience of Pride. The reason why doesn’t matter. Maybe they’re vegan, or maybe this image triggers them in the same way that cis lesbians have used being triggered by “male” bodies as a reason to exclude trans women from queer spaces. The whole point is Pride is a place to hide the parts of yourself that are unacceptable to polite society, and I desperately want to be a part of keeping it that way, but for me, it’s almost impossible. I’m a sick, sick puppy with an evil desire to watch twinks on a float hand-out t-shirts with Black queer appropriated language on the front and Chase bank advertising on the back.
Please, God, forgive me for my sin.
We must keep kink out of Pride, but as a person whose kink is central to Pride’s very existence (unlike those subversive kinks and sexualities), I’m not sure where to stand. I guess I’ll stand near the cops so that if a child witnesses my eyes rolling back into my head in unfettered, grotesque ecstasy as a Bank of America float rolls by I can turn myself in immediately.