“Kinksters should keep away from Pride” is doing the rounds again. It seems to be an annual sport for various trolls and ne’er do wells to suggest those of us of a kinky persuasion shouldn’t support the Pride events. If we do, we should dial down the kink to create a “safe space” for the children. It’s always “the children”.
I understand the concerns some express. Maybe wandering around with your genitals hanging out isn’t a great idea for a family-friendly event. Nor throwing yourself into a full-on BDSM scene outside the local Starbucks (other coffee shops are available). There are limits.
Yet the call for kink to be eliminated from Pride is a disservice in the extreme. It stinks of the behaviour that forced LGBTQ+ people to stay “in the closet”. Keep your perversion out of sight and out of mind. Don’t tell and we won’t ask. There are countless variations on the theme. None of them end well.
It also ignores a huge and important part that LGBT BDSM played in pushing progressive sexual politics forwards. Operation Spanner was an exercise in persecuting gay men engaging in consensual sadomasochism. The operation, and subsequent outcry, is an integral part of LGBTQ+ history that’s being ignored by those making this call.
Pride is meant to be a celebration. It’s meant to be a place for freedom of expression of sexuality. It should show the world there are countless variations on how we interpret and engage in sexual and romantic behaviour between consenting partners.
As one commentator wryly observed: Pride is a demonstration, not a parade.
Image by Adrian Snood on Flickr