Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of enjoying Orlando Pride for the first time. Overall, I had a wonderful time. The parade, although long, was very entertaining, James and I got a lot of cute, rainbow themed free items, and I met many of my friends at the festival. There was one thing, however, that stuck out in my mind in a negative way. There was an entire group of people in various kink gear walking in the parade.
Now, I’m all for the freedom to do what you and a consenting partner agree to do, but a pride parade might not be an appropriate place to have stuff like that. I’m not even talking about shirtless guys with leather harnesses on their chests, since that’s the least of what was worn in that group, and I think that’s more harmless. The people I’m referring to are the ones who come in puppy masks, full leather kink outfits, and in horse hoof hand covers with a leash that someone else, dressed as a dominatrix, is holding.
There are two problems I have with these people having a spot to march in the parade. First of all, just being kinky doesn’t make them LGBTQ. Pride is a celebration of people ostracized from society because of who they love and who they are. Bedroom preferences aren’t a part of those categories. While a lot of people who are kinky are also queer, pride is a celebration of the identities of people, not their kinks. Kinky people should come to pride in non-kink clothing like everyone else, especially since there are events dedicated to kink stuff separately, like conventions and parties.
The second issue I have with kink people marching in the parade is the most important one. There were two little girls standing next to me watching the parade, both no older than 10, with rainbow stickers on their cheeks and rainbow flags in their hands. They were beyond excited to see the glittery floats, pride themed stilt walkers, and big balloon displays, and their little hands were always outstretched to receive whatever the next group was handing out. The entire event was wholesome and fun, and the girls were having a great time collecting strings of beads and stickers and candy and more little rainbow flags than they could hold at one time. The kink group marched by, and I couldn’t help but feel mortified for the mother of the girls who had to explain what this group was.
It’s easy enough for kids to understand that men can love men and that people can identify as different genders than the one they were assigned at birth, but it’s not so easy when it’s people dressed in leather leading people dressed as horses, people with riding crops and handcuffs on their belts, and people with dog masks and collars.
I’m not saying I’m anti-kink or against people doing what they want in the privacy of their own space, but maybe a parade with children isn’t a great place for very explicit outfits and gear of that type.
About the Author:
Andrew Adams is a transgender college freshman at the University of Central Florida who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. Nationally, Andrew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Drew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff.
Additionally, Andrew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Andrew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.