Does kink belong at Pride? Well, obviously we believe the answer is a resounding yes, but let’s talk about it.
First off, when people talk about whether kink belongs at Pride, they never define what they mean by Pride. The parade itself? The big festival that happens in many cities? Or the many unaffiliated events that happen during pride weekend? Gay Pride weekend is like any other holiday - no one owns it and anyone can throw an event in honor of Pride. If we are simply looking at Pride as a holiday that takes many forms, of course there are many events, like pride dance parties, pride burlesque nights, and pride play parties, where kink is more than appropriate.
When we’re talking about Pride as a family-friendly parade and festival, that’s where people might feel a bit more unsure about how appropriate public displays of kink are. But let’s look at the modern history of queer life: for a long time, simply being queer or trans was seen as kinky and deviant. Because of that stigma against any kind of queer sexuality, kink has always been more widely accepted in the queer community as naturally being one of the many forms that sexual connection and pleasure can take. So what is being defined as kink at pride?
The fight for mainstream acceptance was never just about love, it’s also about sex and who we want (or don’t want) to have sex with and how we do it. Mature adults understand what displays of love and sexuality are and are not appropriate depending on the venue. Kink at pride parades usually takes the form of leather pride groups marching in leather - for some it’s revealing and for some it’s fully covered, but either way, it’s primarily about serving looks, not overt public sex acts.
Our sexuality as queers is liberatory in a world that teaches us to hide, and we all deserve the right to spaces where we can celebrate that expansive pleasure and joy, in whatever form it takes.