What the "Kink at Pride" Discourse Gets Wrong

We are by NO means anti-kink-at-pride, however, there are some staple lines in The Discourse that we see over and over that run counter to our experience. So, here's our asexual perspective along with some added nuance to properly complicate the conversation. We know this is a hot-button issue and we really, truly come in peace. Please do not assume what our stance is without listening to the whole episode, as we cover A LOT of ground.

Transcript

Courtney: Hello everyone. Welcome back. My name is Courtney, I’m here with my spouse, Royce. Together, we are The Ace Couple. It is my misfortune. To inform you. That we are about to engage. In kink at Pride discourse. I know, I KNOW. That everybody is sick to death of this discourse. However. There are some fundamental things...that we have been noticing, for years...that the kink at Pride discourse does wrong. We see next to NOBODY actually...talking about it. Or...acknowledging it, or addressing it. Anyone who even comes close to...approaching. These ideas, is...absolutely buried. Ratioed. Attacked. I want to make very, very clear, right off the bat. We are. NOT. Anti. Kink at Pride.

[laughs]

Courtney: That’s not what we’re here to do. We...come in peace. But there are some things that...we DO think are worth analyzing. So…[awkwardly] let’s get into that.

Courtney: The. Very first issue. Is...how undefined this is. For a discourse that has been ongoing for so many years. People just call it “Kink At Pride Discourse,” and it becomes this “Is kink ALLOWED at Pride? SHOULD kink BE at Pride? Is there a PLACE for kink at Pride?” So what the absolute heck-

[laughs]

Courtney: -does ‘Kink at Pride’ actually. Mean. I see very few people define it, in...a way that lends itself to. Having specific, real, nuanced conversations. Or, I see people defining it “bad.”

[laughs]

Courtney: Obviously, if you have been exposed to this discourse, at all, I’m sure you are well aware, by this point. That the kink community, the leather...BDSM communities, have been. Integral, to...the ongoing fight toward. Queer liberation. LGBTQIA+ rights. And, of course, PRIDE. The original Pride, and...Pride...as we know it today. We are not trying to discredit that. We aren’t going to get into the full history, because that’s just...a little outside of the scope of this. Particular conversation. But. I do want to...acknowledge that. We are not going to...discredit or take that away by ANY means.

Courtney: But the fact, that. The kink community has been so integral...to...Pride. Is the thing that is thrown around to justify this, very, usually vague, concept. Of kink at Pride. That argument ITSELF is not necessarily the issue. The issue is what people say...in the discourse. What. Kink at Pride. Actually. Is. All too often. I see it boiled down to...“It’s just a twink in a jockstrap.” “It’s just a gay man in a leather harness. That’s ALL that kink at Pride is!” I feel. Like I am on a different. Plane. Of existence. Either that, or you are all LYING to me. I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I really, really cannot.

Courtney: Royce, you and I. Went. To Pride. Together. Several years ago, at this point. I feel like, even before this kink at Pride discourse GOT, as big as it has?

Royce: It would’ve been before I had heard of it, yes, because...it wasn’t on my mind while we were there.

Courtney: That’s true. And...people were getting flogged. Out in the open. In broad daylight. During the...alleged family-friendly hours.

Royce: To clarify- anecdote time-

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: This was the...local Kansas City Pride. Several years ago, I don’t remember how many years. They had. Two distinct...sections. It was...before...8 pm- maybe 10 pm, something like that- was the family-friendly hour. After. That point in time, 8 or 10, after dark, was. 18-only. You need an ID to get in. We were walking through, we had gotten into the...festival grounds, we were just walking through the shops. And...in the stalls, where there was merchandise, and there are people getting...little...flags on their faces and whatnot...

Courtney: There were face-painting. There were children there getting their face painted...and it was…[flustered] next to the henna tattoo station!

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: Right. And there was. A leather stand. That had a variety of goods there. At one point in time, when we were turned away from the stall, we started hearing. Some loud smacks. Immediately behind us. This was all fully clothed. But...a patron had walked by, and I guess...I didn’t hear any discussion, I guess...talked to the shop owners, for a...test of the merchandise?

Courtney: Well...there was merchandise testing, but there was also, a. Full on. St. Andrew’s Cross, just...stood up, in the shopping, vendor area, that people were...stopping to stand by and watch...and...taking turns. Like, I don’t know if you had to...pay, or if they were tipping...the mistress, or if it was just...free-for-all, like “Wait in line for your turn to get flogged.” But...that was happening. [crosstalk 05:48] Right there, in broad daylight. During the family hours.

Royce: That was-

Royce: That was what I was referring to. Was someone...sitting down on a bench. Fully clothed, but. Receiving...hits with a...flogger, and a paddle.

Courtney: Yes. There were restraints involved, too. I want. To make this abundantly clear. I personally don’t really care. Me. Observing that. Did not bother Courtney. Because Courtney. Has been to goth clubs, and she has seen way worse in the goth clubs.

Royce: It was mostly just a surprise, for me. I didn’t expect that. In the middle of the days, in the shop area, which [crosstalk 06:31] was-

Courtney: When kids are getting face paint...

Royce: There was also nothing obscuring visibility. There [crosstalk 06:38] were no curtains.

Courtney: Wasn’t in a tent. Nothing like that at all.

Courtney: This is why. When everyone’s like, “Well, kink at Pride just means people wearing leather.” I’m like, “What Pride did you go to? And did ours just majorly fuck up?”

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: Yeah. You started this off by trying to define what ‘Kink at Pride’ is. But what Pride do you mean? Because there are...who knows how many, dozens [crosstalk 07:05] or hundreds of cities setting up Pride events every year.

Courtney: Hundreds.

Royce: They aren’t all organized by the same people.

Courtney: No!

Royce: There isn’t a central...Pride authority, that is auditing all of these places.

Courtney: Of course not. Nor should there be, ’cause every...community is going to be different, and have different needs. But-

Royce: But that means that it’s inherently...disingenuous for you to say that, “Well, I didn’t see this happening at the one event I went to this year, therefore it isn’t happening anywhere else in the world.”

Courtney: Yes. Absolutely. This is what...absolutely astonishes me about the online discourse. I actually...saved a couple of screenshots, because I see this every year. And, every year, I’m like, “Why doesn’t anyone see what I see? Or are we all just ignoring it for the sake of the argument?”

Courtney: Someone else did this really big thread about “Here’s WHY the kink community’s so important, and here’s WHY they are allowed, and should be allowed.” And...this thread was...ended by the fact- ‘cause, of course, people will throw around the “Think about the children!” argument, which...we’re gonna talk about here in a bit. With some more nuance, hopefully- but I understand why people are over that argument. There absolutely are...straight people, and straight parents, and more conservative people, that aren’t necessarily a part of our community, that raise issues about that. And...they don’t get an opinion. Don’t engage their opinions.

Courtney: My fear...is that people in the community who express very valid concerns, then absolutely get dogpiled. Because people are so afraid of this corporatized, “family-friendly” sanitation, that...outsiders to the community are trying to press upon us. That...it has led to this weird climate, where even within our own community we can’t really dig into the nuances, because...people will just be like, “Oh, well, you’re just a TERF” or “You’re just homophobic” or... As asexuals, especially, there are plenny [sic] o’ people who don’t think asexual people belong in the...queer community, so as soon as an asexual says, “Well actually, maybe, is there an issue?” They’re just like, “See?! You’re not one of us. You don’t belong!”

Royce: That’s actually something that happens in queer communities, that’s much...bigger, and more widespread than Pride, is... One, the fact that there are conservative groups that will use sort of scapegoat arguments. Disingenuous...arguments. To try to undermine something, or try to change something, and we’re seeing this all over the place, with all of the conservative bills that are being passed. Particularly, you mentioned with the “What about the children?” That is used very frequently, to...harm the queer community.

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: And it seems like. There’s a pretty consistent...I don’t know if “overreaction” is the right...word, or [crosstalk 09:56] phrase? But-

Courtney: Knee-jerk. Knee-jerk.

Royce: There is an increasing inability to tell the difference between a good faith and bad faith argument.

[Courtney hums in agreement]

Courtney: That. Very much, that. We will attack our own JUST as viciously as we will attack an openly transphobic bigot.

[laughs]

Courtney: That’s its own problem. You also see it in this discourse, as well. The thread I was referencing, of course, was trying to head off the arguments about the children by...sort of wrapping everything together and saying...the fact that parents took their kids there is the parents’ fault, not the kinkster who...belongs there.

Courtney: The person making this thread uses the word “apparently,” which also makes me wonder, have you been to Pride? Why are you using the word “apparently’’? I feel like people who haven’t been to Pride. Also shouldn’t have a place in this argument. I have literally seen videos. Of...people in the kink community. Who don’t go to Pride, for whatever reasons are their own, who say,”Well, from what I’m HEARING, all it is is people wearing harnesses.” It’s like, why are you talking about something you aren’t there to witness yourself? ’Cause of COURSE, if you’re looking at the discourse, that’s gonna be your impression. But.

Courtney: This person here says, “The most kink you apparently see at Pride is just people in harnesses, leather, and kink-related flags.” Untrue. Debunked. But also, they follow that up with, “If anyone actually starts fucking, then they’d likely be kicked out of the event.” [exasperated] There’s a consent line between wearing a harness and full-on fucking that nobody’s talking about! There is [crosstalk 11:41] a line somewhere in there.

Royce: Yeah. You took that from 0 to 100 really quickly.

Courtney: Yes, and overwhelmingly everybody was agreeing with...these tweets. I’m sure it’s the audience. This person doesn’t have a conservative audience. They are getting in front of the eyes of other queer accounts, who know at least the basics of the history and support kink having a presence in Pride. ...This is what I had to screenshot. This tweet literally says, “‘Kink,’” in quotes, “‘Kink’ at Pride is literally just folks wearing leather. Nobody is breaking out the St. Andrew’s Cross and a sounding rod during a parade.” Are you kidding me? Yes. The fuck. They are. I seen it with my own eyes.

Royce: To go back to consent real quick- and I know we’re going to dig into this more, but- in order to establish any kind of consent, you also have to properly set expectations.

Courtney: Yes!

Royce: There was no...“Hey, heads up, there’s gonna be occasional flogging at the KC Pride during family-friendly hours,” right?

Courtney: No.

Royce: What does “family-friendly” even mean?

Courtney: Exactly. Family-friendly, and over-18, means...almost nothing. If you don’t actually define that. Which is also, like, “kink at Pride”...virtually means nothing...unless you define that.

Courtney: I will be real, I am...very much on the sex-repulsed side of asexuality. But I find kink endlessly fascinating. I think kink, as a concept, is way more interesting than sex, as a concept.

[laughs]

Courtney: I mean, I am...no such thing as a part of a kink community...nothing like that. But as far as watching videos, listening to podcasts, reading and learning about...kink, and safe kink practices, and the history of the kink community is something I’m very much interested in, and in favor of. Because kink is...also something that is...not inherently...sexual, to...everybody who participates in kink. To people who know...very little, or next to nothing, about kink might be...surprised by that. I think the average person’s reaction to “kink” goes...immediately to [spookily] “sexual deviancy.” But...as an asexual, I...do have a bit of a fascination with certain areas of kink. That, to me, and to many other aces, has nothing to do with sex, or sexuality, or...sexual attraction. You know, I even had a FetLife account for...all of a week.

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: Oh. Me too, actually. I may have made it...a day or two before I was like, “Oh, this isn’t the space I thought it would be.”

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: “I don’t see anything happening here.”

Courtney: That’s great. Tell me more. What brought you there? And then...what drove you away?

Royce: Curiosity, I think, was the simplest answer. I guess I kind of assumed it was going to be more like...how dating sites work. Just in a...community of people that were all...more openly proclaiming kink interests. But, from what I remember, I looked around and it seemed like. It was kind of small. It seemed like I had come into a...relatively small community of people that knew each other. And I [crosstalk 15:14] was just...the new person to create an account or something.

[Courtney hums knowingly]

Courtney: Who also has social anxiety, and-

Royce: Yeah.

Courtney: Yeah, I can see that. For me, joining FetLife was...almost exclusively...BECAUSE I am asexual. Because I knew. That there are people in...the kink and fetish communities. Who are interested in...certain types of play that are NOT. Sex. I was looking for someone who might be interested in a relationship, and I was like... Listen. If I was with someone who wanted me to scratch the hell out of their back, flog them a time or two... Someone interested in a little blood play, things like that, I can be down with all of that, as long as they do not. Want. Intercourse.

[laughs]

Courtney: So I was recommended, “Well, maybe you can find someone like that on FetLife.” And I was like, “Sold. Let’s try it.” But...like all social media at the time, I was very, very new. It was...probably...around the same time I set up...this OkCupid account, that I just let sit, and didn’t do anything with for a very long time until YOU. I just...poked around on it for maybe a couple of minutes, went “Huh.” And then logged off and never went back on, so...that’s about the extent of that story.

Courtney: That’s fascinating, ’cause you’ve also been...interested in...and curious, and learning about kink things in the past. That’s something that we both have...in common, to a certain extent, even though we are both asexual. For anyone who isn’t familiar with FetLife, obviously, that comes from the word “fetish.” So it may...warrant saying. To people who aren’t familiar with these kind of communities, that a fetish. Is not the same. As kink. I don’t know if we necessarily want to go into all of the nuances of that, ‘cause I don’t wanna get WAY too off-topic there. But, you can have a foot fetish. But having a fetish for feet. Does not mean that you are in. A kink lifestyle, or a kinky relationship. There are differences between the two things.

Courtney: I also...don’t want people to hear, “Well, kink isn’t sexual,” and immediately jump to. All the bullshit that asexual people have gotten, that have only seemed to ramp up over the last couple of years, where [sarcastically] “Oh, you’re grooming children, because you’re trying to teach them that nothing is sexual so that you can lure them into...sex...things!” I’m sorry. My TERF impression. I haven’t honed it yet, it needs a little work. But those are the kinds of things people say, and that. That’s a bad faith argument. If you take the concept of “Kink is something that means different things to different people.” And immediately jump to “You’re going to do evil with this”? You’re already...way too many steps away from...where we need to be in this conversation. How. Ever. No, I do not think. That kink. Is. Inherently. Sexual. It IS sexual. To some people. [strained] This is where there’s a lot of very weird, gray area. And that’s why we need to have this conversation. Because, at a certain point, it’s not just about you. It’s about everybody around you, if this is in a public setting. That’s where things get messy and muddy.

Courtney: When I...see people make the argument of “It’s just leather daddies. It’s just leathermen.” “Yeah, someone might be wearing a pup mask, but they aren’t even on a leash on their hands and knees, they’re just walkin’ in the parade. Just wearing their gear!” Here, I’m goin’, there’s nothin’ sexual about that. Nothin’ wrong. No harm, no foul. It’s basically functioning as a costume, at that point. Some of the more tame...leather things. If someone’s just wearing a leather collar, for instance. Some of that is very...undistinguishable from some other...subcultures. Other...gothic fashions. Things of that nature. So, no. 100%. Nothing...inherently sexual. Nothing wrong. But when you DO have the separation of “Here’s family-friendly hours.” And you literally have a St. Andrew’s Cross that people are getting...restrained...and they are getting whipped. At that point I do have to say, “Have we set expectations correctly?” I’m not even saying don’t have it at all, because I think that’s kind of up to each individual community, and each individual Pride to determine what their community’s needs are. But, at that point, the expectations have not been set. They have not been set for any parents who are bringing their children, because I would not think St. Andrew’s Cross and flogging is family-friendly. I would not say that. That’s why we need to actually talk about what this looks like. Because people can wear whatever the heck they want at Pride. And any other time, if someone is literally complaining about a man wearing a leather harness? They need to get over themselves. That’s getting into...slut-shaming territory. And we don’t do that.

Royce: Yeah. Or, are they showing more skin than a woman in a bathing suit?

Courtney: Well, I’m for that matter. Like I’m very much “free the nipple.” So I’m not a prude for showing skin or nudity.

Royce: Yeah. I was just trying to compare to existing public decency laws.

Courtney: Yes, So...where would you want? I’ve seen some people even say...even some people in the kink community saying “Is wearing a pup mask too much?” I personally don’t care. To me. That is. Clothing. The line for...me, and the line for a LOT. Of people in the kink community. Whom I’ve listened to. And learned from. Is...consent is violated when you are...acting out an actual kink scene, in public, with spectators who did not consent. To being a part of that scene.

Royce: Yeah. It’s the sort of...exhibitionist scene, that...relies on...the presence of others. For the purpose of the scene.

Courtney: Which, usually. The kink community will condemn, if they see someone...violating the rules of public consent. There are people who will call it very...unethical, to see that happen. This is why. I was still so confused to see this, because there are...a few different videos. Any videos we reference, we’ll have in our show notes as per usual, if you’d like to see the entire thing. Kat Blaque, for instance, is a...pretty prominent...YouTuber. She is a black trans woman. And she is very involved in...her local kink community. And talks about...all these sorts of topics. It was big news, a couple of years ago. Where...a woman was...walking, a man, in a pup mask, in [sic] all fours, into a grocery store. It made huge headlines. It was such a scandal. Kat Blaque was one of...many. People involved in kink at that time. Who I saw coming out, and saying, “That’s not okay. The people at that grocery store did not consent to watching that scene, and as spectators, they are a part of that scene.” So when I see people in the kink community condemning that, it makes me wonder. How that conversation does translate to Pride. Most people in the kink community will just say “We belong here,” and...leave it at that.

Courtney: I know, I’m sure there are...much more nuanced conversations happening. In certain circles. I’m talking about the...larger, wider public sort of...Twitter-y discourse. The YouTube discourse. But then. I was scratching my head, ’cause I was like, well okay, if that’s the line that...ethical members of the kink community are drawing, is that...acting out a scene, in public, is violating the consent of onlookers. Then surely, they would be opposed to...whipping, and flogging, and the cross...and all of these things at...Pride. Out in the open, at least. At least not behind a, like, 18-and-only [sic] tent.

Courtney: It so happened, very shortly after...condemning this one grocery scene, Kat Blaque DID do a little video about kink at Pride. She said, “I went to Pride a couple times, but it’s not really for me. So I don’t go anymore, and I haven’t been in a while.” She kinda said the same thing. She’s like, “Well, most of the time people are just talking about a twink in a jockstrap-”

[laughs]

Courtney: “-and that’s fine.” She said, “People aren’t actually acting full-on kink scenes, because if they were, I would not be okay with that. I’ve talked about that before. I think that’s unethical.” That’s when I was like, but they-

[stutters in frustration]

Courtney: That does happen! At least, sometimes.

[laughs]

Courtney: And I do want to clarify. I want to make it abundantly clear that she does say that she doesn’t condone people throwing out her earlier video about not condoning the kink scene in the grocery store. She doesn’t like people using that video to justify no kink at pride. If in fact, what you’re arguing is really just down to what people are wearing, because she does say repeatedly, she is not in favor of kink scenes being acted out in public.

Courtney: So, the. Reason why I am citing that video is I am saying. We SAW a kink scene. Being acted out in public. YOUR mileage. May vary. Maybe. Maybe it is the fact. That Kansas City Pride. Just...fucked up. Maybe they absolutely should not have had that out in the open, during those hours. Maybe a majority of kinksters would agree that that is not good practice. But I refuse to believe that that is the only Pride event. In the entire world.

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: In the history of Pride events.

Courtney: In the HISTORY of Pride events that...MAY have crossed a line.

Courtney: Also. Talking about tents. A lot of people do say, “Well, sometimes there is an 18-and-over tent at Pride,” or a closed-off 18-and-over section where...there might even be. Nudity. And there will be. More overt kink scenes. It’s sort of…”enter at your own consent” kind of a situation. I’m not opposed to that. I think that’s...totally fine.

Royce: That could have been the possible solution to this issue, was. Not have. The scenes happening in the storefront. Move that off somewhere else.

Courtney: Yes, and maybe ’cause we...didn’t actually go...during the “after dark” hours. We were just...making it a midday trip kind of a thing. So I don’t know what that looked like at our particular Pride, on that particular year. But the only sectioned off tent. That was present. While we were there. Was...a young LGBT club. Under-18 club. Which I do think that’s cool. Give. The kids and teens their own place to talk to each other, and meet each other, I think that’s really, really valuable. But...given the other things I saw, that made me wonder if the intent was to. Shepherd all the kids over here. Like, “That’s the kiddie table. You guys go over there. Then the adults play over here” kind of a thing. I don’t think that’s quite the right answer, either. Again. The kids might wanna buy a Pride flag.

Courtney: I am not a child psychologist. I don’t know at what age it might be appropriate for a child to see something like that. So I’m not qualified to speak on it.

Royce: But statistically, I think most children. In their young, adult teenage years have seen some sort of pornography.

Courtney: Oh, yeah. I’m not even necessarily worried about like, the teens, but they’re there are some, like, under 10 kids that do occasionally, come to these things and I honestly think that’s a good thing. Some people don’t think that’s a good thing. But like I was probably, I was probably 12 when I first saw Rocky Horror Picture, Show, and that was like, my mother actively showed me that movie and I loved it. I just loved how weird it was. So I am not saying like a 12 or 13 year old is going to be scarred for life if they see someone getting flogged at a pride event because I think that’s probably not going to be the case for the average kid, but I’m also not, you know, a trauma specialist a trauma counselor.

Courtney: Are there people- children, teens, or even ADULTS- who...could. Be. Triggered. Could. Have. Negative. Reactions to. Just happening upon...a scene like that. When they weren’t expecting it? I’m sure there are some people like that out there. To what extent. I do not know. It’s worth noting, as well, that there are plenty of people with trauma who actually...work through some of that trauma, and begin to heal BY. Engaging in. The BDSM community in a very...healthy. Consensual way. But. Not all traumas are the same. Not all people are the same.

Courtney: I may have already branched a little further than my expertise goes here, but that is something that I would be...curious to learn more about. The one thing that I do. Wonder if, is a concern. Is when you do get into very young children. If they are seeing someone. Who is getting flogged. At what. Age. Is the child actually...capable of understanding. Consent. In that. Context.

Royce: Particularly if they walk into the middle of a scene, and not...the beginning of it.

Courtney: Yes. We should absolutely...be teaching our kids consent. At every stage of their development. I have to believe. That there is probably- maybe, a child psychologist. Could actually. Talk about this, in. Detail. With me. I’d like to know that. I wanna dig in more into that. I could see there being a situation where a child is young enough, where they...can’t. Conceptualize this. As...a healthy, consensual thing. In a way that we as adults. Do. Or even how a teenager might. I don’t know what age that is. There probably is a developmental cutoff there at some point. That...might be worth actually finding, and discussing.

Royce: Yeah. Without context of consent or culture, it just looks like corporal punishment that people are watching for fun.

Courtney: Yes, it looks like ‘buse. So that’s that sort of my bottom line there. So when I’m saying, I do want to consider the children, that is where my brain goes. For what those considerations should actually be and what they need to look like, because one thing I don’t want is to throw that question out to a bunch of people who aren’t educated on consent and child development and what this might or might not do to a child’s psyche at different points in their development.

Courtney: I don’t wanna throw it out to people that know nothing about that, and let them just answer based on their feelings. I don’t want people to just say, “Well, that sounds icky, so I’m gonna say no.” I want the studies. I want the people who...are experts in this. To weigh in. On where that sort of line is.

Courtney: For me, it’s the expectations. When we boil down. The conversation to “Is kink allowed at Pride?” and we either don’t define it at all, or we say “It’s just clothing. It’s only clothing. No one’s doing scenes. It’s only clothing.” We’re doing everyone a MASSIVE disservice. If there were a council. A Council of Queers in charge of overseeing all Pride events- very, very theoretical here- and they decide tomorrow, “Kink. Free-for-all. Pride? You can act out your kink scenes. We wanna see leashes, whipping, flogs. Bring it all. We’re goin’ for this, all in.” Do I think some people would stop going to Pride? Absolutely, but...if those expectations were SET. And everyone knew that? Then, yeah, it’s gonna be your own fault if you just show up.

Courtney: The issue is. I think some people...already treat that as a given. Some people are like, “It’s already a given that there’re gonna be kink scenes.” But it’s not, because so many people are claiming that it’s not happening. So it’s very weird. It is weird of you guys!

[laughs]

Courtney: It is weird of everybody. Who is making that argument, in that way. Nobody is gonna benefit from that. I mean, that...particular facet of that question is “What should you expect when you go to Pride?” Kind of...bleeds into the question of “Well, who is Pride for?”

Courtney: The queer community is vast, and not even everyone can agree on that. There are some people who- I’m just gonna say, they’re wrong, and they also don’t get an opinion. Like, a TERF who thinks that...being trans is a [mockingly] “perverse choice.” No. Wrong. You’re wrong. I’m sorry. You don’t get an opinion anymore...on the kink at Pride discourse. You have already proven yourself. Unreliable, in this conversation.

Courtney: There are some adults. Who just...hate children. I’m going to say it, ’cause not a lot of people say it very often. I love children. I don’t have my own. I don’t plan to have my own. But I taught children for many, many years, and I love kids. And I can’t tell you how many times. I have been in a queer space. With a bunch of queer adults, who do not have kids, never want to have kids. And just...speak about children as if they are not human. They are subhuman, they are other...I don’t want them near me. I don’t wanna talk to them, I don’t wanna see them, I don’t wanna have to cater to them, or allow them into the community. That’s not a queer...person-specific thing. There are straight adults who hate children, too. But…man, there are some people who just hate kids.

Courtney: So. Occasionally, in this kink at Pride discourse. I’ll see it bleed into that territory. People being like, “Kids don’t belong at Pride, anyway.” Like, “I don’t even want kids there. So why should I have to give up how I want to celebrate kink? Just because other people are bringing-” And...this is how you know they hate kids, ‘cause they’ll start saying [grouchily] “their spawnlets” or their “crotch goblins.” It’s like, okay, but...that’s a young human you’re talking about.

[laughs]

Courtney: I think those people are also wrong. I think...kids should be allowed to participate in Pride.

Royce: Well, saying that kids. Shouldn’t participate in Pride is kind of. Arguing against the “Born This Way”...concept. Kids are just as queer as adults. They just may not have...everything figured out, and have the words for it yet.

Courtney: Absolutely. There are people who will say “the kink community is subversive. Pride is a protest. We aren’t here to make you comfortable.” and “Being open in our sexuality, and our kink practices, is an act of resistance, and rebellion, and protest.” I do think those are valid...contributions to the conversation, but. Are we not at a point. Where having...a horde of queer children- trans children, gay, lesbian, gender nonconforming, nonbinary kids- is that not also. An act of defiance. At this point in time? When trans kids are getting...their...rights stripped away. When there are schools that won’t let them...go...to the right bathroom. Who are kicking them out of school, for wanting to use the right bathroom. Or...trans...athletes. Who are under attack, for participating in school sports.

Royce: It is. And also, on the other side of things. To...push back on the idea of modern Pride as a protest. Major corporations don’t fund protests to increase their marketing reach or PR.

Courtney: But they have started funding Pride celebrations. I 100% get. Why...people...take the family-friendly...concept with a grain of salt. There are corporations who. Do. Want. To sanitize it a bit, so that they can comfortably...stamp their name on it, to be like, [mockingly] “Look, we’re queer-friendly. We support the LGBT community. We’re allies.” So. That’s another thing. The corporation shouldn’t get a voice.

[laughs]

Courtney: I am gatekeeping this conversation! People who hate kids don’t get to participate. The corporations don’t get to participate. The straight people do not get to participate, and the TERFS do not get to participate. You guys are all out of this conversation.

[laughs]

Courtney: By “straight” I mean...“not queer.” I know it’s not the opposite. What I mean by straight is the...heterosexual, allosexual, cisgender, non-kinky, vanilla...people. Not at all. To...discredit. Any...straight aces, or straight aros, or...straight trans people. Just. The people who aren’t actually in the LGBT community. They don’t get to participate.

Courtney: But I do want. The kink community. To participate in this conversation. As long as they don’t just actively hate children. We can’t treat this conversation as a binary. It can’t be “kids or kinksters.” That is never going to work, from here on out, for the rest of Pride history, that is not going to work. But the people who...online, so often defend the “Kink at Pride...Concept” I’ll call it, do treat it like it’s a binary conversation. They’ll say, “Kink belongs at Pride. End of story.” To that I’d say, yes. BUT. There are nuances, and there are...problems, to...figure out an’ solve. Which, from what I can tell. Are not...happening. Very...well. Right now. Because...I do see people saying, “Kink practitioners are oppressed. They are subversive.” It’s like, queer kids are also oppressed. I don’t understand why. That gets so little acknowledgement, in the grand scheme of this conversation, also.

Courtney: People also...treat it as, like, it’s only the queer kids’ parents who are raising these issues. I’ve seen lots of minors- 14, 15, 16-year olds on Twitter- who have said that...they have been uncomfortable with some of the things they’ve seen at Pride. It really makes me wonder what, specifically...they saw, that made them uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the discourse doesn’t...usually define that. That’s been...my biggest issue this whole time.

Courtney: I would say if there’s a teenager who is truly just taking issue with the way people are dressed, because they’re associating that with something inherently sexual, then there probably is something in there that they need to do a little bit of...unpacking. A little bit of...conservatism. Perhaps even...a little bit of unconscious...slut-shaming. Listen, we all grow. It is not. A bad thing, that is not a fundamentally bad person if, as a teenager, you do have some conservatism to unpack. I look back at my teenage years. As an asexual...teenager. I was very much… [dramatically] the innocent one. The one who was...simply aghast. At people who are...too promiscuous. I wasn’t...overtly...calling people names, or being mean about it, but-

Royce: You were just silently judgy?

Courtney: I was! There were times in my life. Where I was silently judgy. Especially as a child.

[laughs]

Courtney: I had a judgy adult in my life, who...instilled some of those things. You unlearn those things as you grow. So, do I think that there are prob’ly some teenagers that maybe do have a little bit of growing, a little unpacking to do? Yes. It’s not a reason to be cruel to them, or try to ostracize them...from Pride. On the other hand, if they actually have happened upon a...full-on scene. Like we saw, or perhaps even worse? Kat Blaque mentioned, at one point, actually...seeing pornography out in the open. I. REALLY hope that is. VERY uncommon. I assume it’s very, very uncommon, ‘cause I don’t hear a lot of people talk about that. But...if they happen upon something like that? I would’ve been so...flustered, and upset, at that age. So I can...absolutely understand. Like we’ve been talking about this whole time. Somewhere...there is a line. At some point, there’s a line here.

Courtney: So they might actually have a case. Depending on what they, individually, saw. But. When they come even close to approaching...kink at Pride. Everybody’s alarm bells go off. That’s when all the “I hate kids” comes out, because then they’re like, [grouchily] “Well then you shouldn’t be comin’. You’re not old enough! Learn your history, CHILD.” And...that’s gross. Why are we so...mean. To queer kids? We, theoretically. As a community, talk about “We need to protect trans kids,” and “We do activism so that queer kids can have a better life.” But I see way more...individual, adult, queer people. Being mean. To queer minors online. Than I see people actually going out of their way to do activism to help. Lift up. Queer children.

Courtney: Obviously, as. A teenager. Part of the oppression of being a kid is that you get very little say. You do not get a seat at the table for...decision-making...things. Most of the time. So is that 14-year old, who is uncomfortable seeing certain aspects of...kink at Pride, these...kink scenes, that do occasionally slip through the cracks, and happen. No, they’re probably not going to get to do anything about that. At least not for several years, until they...become an adult, and join their local community. In a decision-making capacity. I don’t think we should be completely, completely disregarding them, either. This community is supposed to be inclusive. I really, really feel like. It, very often, is not. Because people do get very set in their ways. Their opinions, and anyone who has a different opinion doesn’t get to talk. Their opinion doesn’t matter. That’s really ironic, because I’ve been saying that this whole time. I’ve been like, TERFS don’t get an opinion. Corporations don’t get an opinion, but there are people who will do that. Like…”queer teenagers don’t get an opinion.” Well, yeah.

Royce: On what basis?

Courtney: On what basis, other than you hate kids?

Royce: Is the argument being made in good faith or not?

Courtney: Yes. And then also. That gets used against. Asexual people. At this point in time, most asexual people will either...not engage in this discourse, or they will staunchly defend kink at Pride, and be like, “Don’t use asexuals. Don’t use asexuals! Don’t you dare. Don’t blame US for this discourse.”

[laughs]

Courtney: Which, I get it. It’s a mess. There are, of course. Asexual people who. Don’t mind kink at Pride. I said myself. My experience? I personally. Did not care. I just see all of you lying online, and I had to say something about it.

Courtney: There are also asexuals who. Do. Engage in kink. There are kinky asexuals. Who. LOVE it. In fact, I will plug a...YouTube channel. Evie Lupine. Is an asexual. Kink. YouTuber. They are out there. They exist. And I did watch a video of hers. On public play. This wasn’t Pride-specific, it was just in general. The very clear distinction was made, between. Wearing kink-associated clothing- wearing collars, etc.- and actually. DOING. A scene.

Courtney: She was kind of echoing what...Kat Blaque had mentioned. What I said earlier. And she was talking about the ethics of that. Not. Everybody. Is. A voyeur. Not everybody is going to be comfortable, or okay, witnessing a kink scene. So she. As. A member of the kink community, as a practitioner of kink. Was talking about ethical ways...that you can do a scene in public. It was all...talking about...subtlety. She was saying that, true exhibitionists. What they get out of this is the fact that it’s being...sprung on an unsuspecting member of the public. She said, from her experience, it’s probably a minority. In the community. People who actually...act on that, in very public ways, are...almost certainly not a part of the ETHICAL kink community. But she said people who do engage in ethical kink. And they do get something from a...scene. In a public setting. She said it’s very much a “risk versus reward.” The fear of getting caught, versus the joy of getting away with something. If you keep that basic concept, then there’s a lot of...room...to play with that, where you can keep things low key.

Courtney: She gave a lot of examples, so if anybody actually is listening. Who is...new to kink, or interested in getting in kink, I definitely recommend her channel, this video, and many others. She gave a lot of examples for how to keep it subtle. Reinforcing the fact that...if you are doing. Some...form...of public play. The people around you. Should not be able to identify. What you are doing, at a glance.

Courtney: Obviously it is reductive to say or assume that any and all asexuals will be uncomfortable with any kink presence at Pride, because that is not correct. But every now and then when I do say like well, maybe we need to talk about this a little more because what about sex repulsed Asexuals who I think also belong at Pride. Every time I see someone even dip their toe into that water. I see them dog piled. Sometimes, even by other asexuals. Other asexual people being like “I am asexual and I think Kink belongs have pride.” And that goes back to there are some good faith arguments. There are some that that should be engaged with because I have had private conversations with some other sex repulsed Asexuals who have said, you know, kind of kind of the same thing I’ve said in the sense that like, I don’t care what other people are wearing, because clothing is none of my business, even if it’s, you know, tangentially kink related. I have talked to people who are very uncomfortable being in public when scenes are happening around them, when people are acting out kink scenes. So to say that it is only the straight parents who are bringing their queer kids to Pride that have an issue with this is also erasing some actual valid feelings of some people who are in the community. And I have absolutely seen some of these people say that “Yeah, I don’t feel like I can really speak up about it though” because not only am I going to be demonized, but potentially, all of asexuality is going to be demonized. And that’s just not fair, and that is just not okay, and that kind of just proves to me that this line of discourse has taken a very toxic turn. Toxic, and reductive, and often completely false. I can’t, I cannot get over that.

Courtney: Anybody listening who has also seen...kink scenes, at Pride. That were outside of any sort of “after dark” hours, outside of any sort of “18 and over” tent. With no expectations set ahead of time? PLEASE. Tweet at us, and tell me that I am not the only one-

[laughs]

Courtney: -that’s, for years, looking at this discourse on, like, “Did we just get incredibly unlucky? Are we the only ones in the entire world?” It can’t be. I refuse to believe it. It just can’t be. It’s very weird.

Courtney: I mentioned. Too. That I have personally seen...MUCH worse. At...goth clubs. But even at those goth clubs- and...I’m thinking of at least three different ones- where there has been...full on, as nude as as legally possible. Saran-wrapping people to poles. Shibari. Just about...anything you can think of, shy of...actual, full-on nudity, and...intercourse. It happens at goth clubs. There are fetish nights all the time. There are kink nights all the time. There are some clubs that...always have that presence. But, A. Going into those spaces. I know ahead of time that it’s there. Expectations have been set, but also. Even in those situations where I know it’s gonna be there, it’s almost always...in a side room. Where I don’t have to be right there watching it, if I don’t have to be.

Courtney: To go back to...that Kat Blaque video. She said she usually doesn’t go...to Pride, and isn’t going to go anymore, but. She did say, at one Pride that she went to, there was just...gay pornography playing somewhere, where it was very easy to see out in the open. When it wasn’t. Blocked off, or “18 and over” at all. And that any kid could have walked by, and seen exactly what she saw. I’ve never seen anything that extreme. I think she’s in LA, so that was probably an LA Pride. I haven’t seen anything near that at Kansas City Pride, or any of the other smaller...Midwestern cities. But I’d be pretty upset, personally...if I went to a Pride event, and... without my consent. Was exposed. To actual. Video pornography. I would be really upset, and I cannot be...the only asexual, I cannot be the only queer adult. That feels that way.

Courtney: So, there are definitely lines. This is why I want more nuanced conversation with the people who are a part of the queer community. Who do have valid concerns about this. But also the kink community, who really care about ethical practice and consent. Because if you’re doing kink right, consent should be integral to everything that you do. Maybe, again, in small circles that has happened. I have just not seen kinkster condemn something that has happened at Pride. Like, “I went to Pride, and I saw this person who stepped over the line. I do not think that that is ethical.” And we need to talk about what that line is.

Courtney: I have not seen that on a big public scale. I feel like we almost need something like that to start to move the conversation forward. Because, right now, it’s not going forward. It’s just “Kink belongs at Pride,” and occasionally, “But what about children?” or a question mark, “maybe aces?” It’s like, “No. Get out of here.” That’s about it. Then it’s like, “Oh, it’s just people wearing leather. That’s all. That’s all kink at Pride is. Nothing to see here, folks.” We just repeat that every single year. Every single year, during Pride month, and the month or two leading up to it. This is...just our lives, unless we move that needle forward somehow.

Courtney: And any evolution of this conversation absolutely needs to have the kink community involved. We do not, as non-kink community queer people, get to oust them, or suggest that they don’t have a presence there. Anyone reducing it to, “No kink at Pride at all. Period” is wrong. Maybe it is...the fact that there are people in the community who, knowing the history, being involved in whatever capacity they are, do think, “This is a totally safe space to practice kink, and do scenes out in the open,” and that is their expectation, coming into Pride. Other people, who are not in the kink community, are not having that expectation set for them. So you are going to have issues when people have totally different sets of expectations for where they’re going. What they’re getting into one’s going to look like. What they’re going to see. That can become a major safety issue. When that happens on this large of a scale, with this big of a community fracture, there is no such thing as informed consent.

Courtney: It’s...expectations that need to be set. I can’t drive that home enough. There’s no way to solve this problem on this podcast. We’re just ruminating. Maybe ranting a little bit. And again, I’m not saying no kink at Pride. I’m not even saying like ALL kink at Pride. I’m just saying there is a line of consent somewhere that we are refusing to talk about in a meaningful way. And also, can you guys just stop lying? I’m gonna throw a chair through a window the next time I see people say, like “kink at Pride is just leather! It’s just a twink in a thong!” At what Kink? What Kink- Or what Pride are you at that? That is the only kink presence and nothing else and also kind of makes me wonder like are people so involved in the argument that they aren’t actually thinking back to the Prides they’ve been to and like really…because I could see kink things and seems like even the whipping and flogging if it didn’t stand out to me as so weird as something that happened during the supposed family-friendly hours in broad daylight next to the face painting and shit, like, if that didn’t strike me as so weird…for me personally, probably would have just blend into the background. And I might not retroactively be thinking about it right now.

Courtney: Maybe some people are just a little desensitized to kink. Or they’re involved in kink in the sense that what they do in private is so kinky that everything they see publicly is quite vanilla. That’s a possibility. But we have to be aware of our own experiences, and our own biases, and know that not everybody has exactly the same feelings on the matter. I care about consent and inclusion. I do want to talk about public kink scenes in more specific detail, because we can talk all day about how...something that’s sexual to someone isn’t necessarily sexual to this person. But when you are in public, when you are a member of a community, there is some level of responsibility that you have as a person in a community. It fully, may be that the lines at Pride are different than the lines at the average public space. Regardless, in any situation across the board, there is going to be a time where your personal expression and actions is going to be intertwined enough with the people around you, in the people present, that I guess...I don’t know how to phrase it. That you’re going to have some sort of responsibility to the people around you, and not just your own personal actions, because at some point, it is going to affect them.

Royce: Yes. Certain activities, even if it’s only to people who are physically involved, will require group consent. Essentially, due to the nature of the activity.

Courtney: Yes, and people are going to have different opinions about what that line is. When is the line crossed? Which doesn’t make the discourse easier, but just because it’s nearly impossible to come up with one solid, singular answer that’s a one size fits all, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth examining. Because...talking about what’s sexual to one might not be sexual to another. I don’t like seeing people make out. I don’t. I would rather...never have to see two people making out ever again. You know what? Especially straight people. Preferably nobody, because I don’t like it, but especially straight people. Cause I see a gay couple making out, and it’s like, “Good for them. We’ve come so far.” But like I see, I see a straight couple making out and I’m like, ew, gross. [laughs] Now I’m gonna sound a bigoted to the straights. [laughs] But like I know that as an asexual who is on the side of sex repulsion. I know that my guard is going to be a little higher than the average person where it comes to just, like kissing. But I know that like kissing in public, making out in public, is so normalized for straight people that like, there is no question. Any queer couple is allowed to do exactly those same things. No strings attached. I don’t have to like it that that falls into the category of that’s my problem. But at what point...would another single person, a couple, a group of people, at what point would their actions actually be their bad, because of how it’s affecting me? I do think there’s a line.

Royce: There is. I think that line is often personal. I think different people are going to be in a different area of that gradient, but it doesn’t help that all of the discourse around this goes from clothing to penetrative intercourse

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: Without skipping a beat. With...nothing. Nothing in between. So I don’t have any reference for anyone else’s opinions.

Courtney: We heard that. We’ve tried to find them. We’ve actively searched for them.

Royce: We know that most people say, “Do not enact a public kink scene that other people can identify as a kink scene.”

Courtney: That is something that is commonly said, yes, but that is vague. Yes. I do want the answer of “Is the line pushed a little farther at Pride?” Because I have heard people say, in the same conversation, people who are kinksters, who will say, “No. I don’t condone a public scene.” Like, “I don’t want flogging in front of children. But kink deserves to be at Pride. There needs to be a kink presence,” and all of that.

Royce: And I don’t think that it SHOULD be any different at Pride. But I think that, because our society still has a lot of things to push back on, it probably is going to be a little bit...you know...

Courtney: It’s all going back to like “Pride is still trying to push the envelope. It’s still a protest and subversive.”

Royce: It is. Like, going to a Pride festival. Even though these expectations haven’t been explicitly set, and they’re definitely being overstepped in some cases, it isn’t exactly the same as going to a nearby park on a standard weekend. Your expectation for going to a festival, like queer festival, is at least a little bit different. I think we should achieve a future state in society where it isn’t any different. But that’s kind of where we’re at right now.

Courtney: Yeah. And...there’s such a vast array of kink scenes, too. In the scope of this podcast, we’ve only mentioned a couple. We mentioned the grocery store, with...a dominatrix walking her gimp in a grocery store. And we mentioned the St. Andrew’s Cross an’ the flogging. But...there’s a spectrum of kink scenes that are out there.

Royce: The grocery store’s a bit of a different story, though. That is...commercial property. To a certain extent, that business can set some of its own rules. Like, private establishments can have somewhat different attire rules than just the public.

Courtney: That’s true. But in a situation where no one’s actually going to throw them out, there are still people who are going to be like, “I still think you overstepped something. It wasn’t technically illegal, but you still crossed a boundary.” That’s where it gets muddy. Because even at Pride, most well-organized Pride events are going to have some level of code of conduct, so it’s not this lawless...experience, by any means. But, yeah. I guess everyone’s going to be different. Like I said, I personally was unaffected by seeing someone flogged at Pride. But it probably would have been worse for me if it was a more intimate environment. Things people do in public, I can sort of...mentally distance myself from it a little bit.

Royce: Or physically.

Courtney: Or physically. I can go somewhere else, usually. I have friends who have participated in kink scenes around me and in public. And I’ve known...several people who are just involved in a kink lifestyle. There have been a couple of times where I have been present, and I have not been comfortable with it. Even though I know this person. I like this person. It’s kind of, just...why didn’t you wait for me to leave? Did I have to be here for this?

Royce: Yeah. I’ve had that happen, too. It’s particularly tough when you’re the new one to the group.

Courtney: Oh, sure.

Royce: And I’m not really sure. Like, is everyone else fine with this? Is this just me? Does this happen all the time? Can I, should I, really say anything?

Courtney: Yeah. That can be really uncomfortable, because in a situation like that... So, you meet a new group of people. Or a group of acquaintances that, maybe, you aren’t that close to, but they’ve gotten comfortable enough that they’re going to be doing a kink scene in front of you. Without discussing that with you first. They’ve kind of made you a part of that scene, without your consent. Now you are here, and you’re observing it in close proximity, and it can be very awkward. Double if expectations weren’t set. So, to a certain extent, that can also happen at Pride. There will be a line somewhere. It’s a gray one, it’s a blurry one, but it’s there somewhere.

Courtney: People who are on the “No kink at Pride” side of this conversation, or “Reduced kink at Pride.” Whatever they’re saying, or claiming. Whenever they elicit this “think about the children” narrative, we also have to define “children.” Because if it’s truly just clothing...if it is just scantily-clad people in leather...they are not going to be causing harm to the 7-year old who is there with their parents. But if you’re an older...middle-aged adult. Older adult. And you’re using “kids” as in “minors,” or “people in their late teens.” If we think mid- to late teens is the age of consent in most, if not all states, so there are absolutely going to be queer teenagers coming to Pride who have either already started exploring their sexuality, or are about to. An’ a certain percentage of them are already, naturally, going to be curious about kink. I don’t think that’s just because they’ve been exposed to that. I really, really do think that there are some people who, at a very young age, before they even realize what their sexuality is, might have very early memories of a precursor to kink. That is documented. I’ve heard people talk about-

Royce: Yep. Can confirm.

Courtney: Yep. Can confirm. Okay. So [laughs] do you want to share that story now?

Royce: I don’t really want to make it a story. I think I’m comfortable with saying that I can very clearly remember something that is very, obviously kink-aligned, at the age of eight. When I had those sorts of dreams, it wasn’t new. I think I can vaguely remember, at eight, being like “Oh, this is kind of like some dreams I had when I was around five.” I also remember thinking back on being five, at the age of eight, remembering that it wasn’t exactly new then, either. So I’m pretty sure, earliest memories I have are about three. And I’m pretty sure there were some inclinations there.

Courtney: Oh. I mean, I do too. I wouldn’t call them sexual thoughts, because they weren’t. They aren’t. I am completely asexual. But, in my childhood, I can think of memories like that, too. I don’t think that people always want to think about children having thoughts like that, or dreams, but it does happen. That’s another situation where it’s not inherently sexual, also. But if we’re...fast-forwarding. Saying, some of these kids who maybe had these proclivities at a younger age are now getting into their teenage years. They are at the age of consent, and maybe they’re curious to start experimenting with some entry-level kink things. I hope to hell that there are kinksters there. I want there to be a sex-positive, consent-teaching information booth. With...brochures. With people who are in the community, who are there. Who can make sure that anyone who is going to do this on their own, regardless... This is the same conversation we have with sex ed. Teenagers are gonna have sex. They need healthy, safe information. Same thing with kink. It’s going to happen for some people. They need that safe information, and they sure as hell are not getting it in school.

Royce: Probably. Or from their parents.

Courtney: Probably not from their parents, either.

Royce: And early experimenting in BDSM relationships can get really abusive, if you don’t know what to look for.

Courtney: 100%. It is very much a safety thing. So I would hope that there is a presence of older people who have been there, done that. Who know the ins and out. Who can say, “Look, here are the Red Flags. Here are the warning signs. This is what consent means,” and teach them.

Courtney: I know there is some hyper-conservative person, or some very exclusionary- a TERF-y person- out there, who again is going to try to take this to “Well, you’re grooming the children now.” Probably not. A leather daddy who has lived through the AIDS crisis is not trying to sleep with the teenager who just became of age. They just want to make sure that they are going to be safe and healthy. Or, for that matter, it’s...what a deeply bigoted, homophobic, a fascist on the other end of a sock puppet account. Who is trying to stir things up, to get everyone so riled up that, not only do we spend our energy debating them- which is going to waste everyone’s time- but also get everyone so riled up that we’re going to fight each other. Even when there are some people who have nuances to add to the conversation...and that goes back to what we were saying, about how the community online is not very good at distinguishing the difference between a good faith argument and a bad faith one. That’s by Design. There are people who hate the queer community. Whether there is kink or not. Whether there are asexual people or not. Whether there are trans people or not. There are just some people who hate us and want to tear us apart. So, it is very much by design.

Royce: Unfortunately, several of those groups of people are much more organized and deliberate than our little fractured communities tend to be.

Courtney: Mmm. That is very, very true. Really, the only real answer to this is if you have ideas to contribute. If you see a change that you think needs to be made. It’s probably not going to be productive to go online and argue with other queer people. If you have the ability to, the more productive thing would probably be to find out how you can volunteer with your local Pride event. Find out if they have any board positions available. If you can talk to people who are on the board, maybe you want to set up your own separate event that is still very much a part of the Pride sphere. Maybe you do say “I want an event over here that is exceptionally family-friendly, and we’re going to document exactly what that means.” That’s what I want. “It’s not going to replace what you’re doing over here, but it’ll be a supplement.”

Courtney: For that matter, I think it’d be really cool if there were more places for queer people to meet, and queer spaces that don’t really revolve around alcohol so much. The actual Pride parade, and the Pride Festival, isn’t super heavy on alcohol consumption. But a lot of the branch-off of ends in after-parties. It’s go to a bar. That can be really alienating, not only for minors who are also trying to find community and establish themselves, but also for adults who are sober.

Courtney: So, yeah. I guess, getting involved. Don’t just argue with people online. Try to do something about it, if it bothers you. Which is, maybe, a little ironic. Here I am, griping on a podcast about something we saw at our Pride. But there has to be some level of expectation. Honestly, here’s an interesting experiment. It’s been so long since we’ve been to a Pride because...we missed a year, maybe two, but then we’ve been heavy quarantined ever since the pandemic started. So we did not go to 2020 or 2021 Pride. So we’re several years removed from this, ourselves, right now, I will admit that. We’re still very, very much self-isolated. So we will also not be attending this year. Hopefully, someday, we’ll be back.

Courtney: But, for my own curiosity, I’m going to pull up our local Kansas City Pride website. I’m going to see what expectations there are based on. Let’s say, for instance, I am a parent to a...10-year old queer person. I want to say, “Well, let’s take them to Pride. I’ve never been to a Pride before, myself. I’m a straight person.” Now I’m a straight mother, imagine, and I want to do some research about this Pride. Parade and Pride Fest information. We have, “Where is it?” “What are the hours?” “Where can I park?” “What’s the cost?” “Can I bring food and drink?” “Is it accessible?” That’s another thing. Pride is not always all that accessible. “What items are allowed? What items aren’t allowed?” I don’t know what they’re going to have this year. Maybe that one year that we were there, and we saw what we saw. Maybe that was an anomaly. Maybe someone at the board found out about that, was like “Nope. That’s stepping over the line. We’re not going to have that anymore.” I don’t know. I can’t say for certain there’s going to be public flogging this year, but this probably isn’t too far away from what we read before we went. And all it says for setting expectations is Pridefest is an LGBTQ+ Festival featuring a main stage, with local acts, vendors, food trucks, family activities, and more. The festival will take place from Friday through Sunday at this park. All ages welcome. Sunday is focused on family-friendly entertainment and activities. So, all ages welcome all of the days, but Sunday is family-friendly entertainment and activities. They don’t say what “family-friendly” means. What non-family-friendly means. That’s letting everyone set their own expectations. That is way too big-

Royce: And more, and more.

Courtney: Honestly, I don’t know if it’s that they haven’t put it up on their website, or maybe they haven’t put it up YET. Or maybe they don’t have it anymore. But I’m not even seeing anything about the kids’ tent. I know for sure when we went, there was this kids’ tent is there every single day. Every single day. It was there for a kids’ club meetup. I do think that was really cool. I also think it was probably sponsored by a bank. I don’t know which bank it was, but it was...probably was something like, “Commerce Bank Queer Kids Club” or something. Maybe they dropped the corporate funding, but I don’t see anything about that here. I don’t know if it’s gone, or if they’re yet to add new information in the upcoming weeks.

Courtney: So that’s where I do think, there needs to be more communication. I’m saying, don’t go online to talk to other people because this conversation has not progressed online at all. But between each individual Pride event, and the local community who might be showing up, there might be more room for expectation-setting. If we just say, “All kink goes. It’s allowed. That’s what Pride is for. Deal with it.” It’s not my favorite option, but as long as you tell everybody that, well ahead of time, then they can at least opt out before they arrive and become aghast at what they see before them.

Courtney: Let me also acknowledge the fact that there’re absolutely some parents who are bringing their kids to Pride who do not have any issues with their children being exposed to whatever level of kink is at that particular Pride. That does not mean they are bad parents. That means they are parents who are prepared to answer their kids’ questions, if they have them. Hopefully it means they are parents who are prepared to help give their children proper sex education as they’re growing up. Even to, again, talk about consent with them. Because consent really does need to be taught at a very, very young age. Of course, do it in age-appropriate ways. Teach a toddler? Sometimes. I know some parents who have taught their toddlers with...pets. If they have a dog or a cat...to look for signs that the cat doesn’t want to be pet right now. As they get a little older, use it with hugs. Progress as the child does, but keep the concept of consent continuously present, and accurate, and evolving.

Courtney: So it’s still very disingenuous for people to say, “Parents don’t let their kids see this,” because that’s not everybody. It’s just not. It also very much becomes an issue when the conversation veers off of the children. Like, “What will the rest of society think of us?” That happens, too. There are absolutely people who will try to play into this...purity. A politics of, “Oh, we’re not scandalous, sexual people. It is all about romantic love, and love is love, and two men who love each other are exactly the same as a man and a woman who love each other, and it’s all very pure and good-hearted.” Yeah, that shit never works like that. If a straight person is saying “But how will other people perceive you?” By straight, I mean cisgender, heterosexual, non-kinkster, vanilla, allosexual person. Not queer. Not a part of the queer community. If they’re saying that, they’re an asshole. Ignore them.

Courtney: It gets trickier when other queer people are saying that, because that’s also not a new thing. There are always going to be queer people- normally the ones with more privileges. The ones who are still cisgender. The ones who are probably white- the ones who think if they play along with being a “palatable” queer, then maybe they’ll acquire some more privileges. It’s all just about how we present ourselves. This bid to be more palatable to outsiders? It doesn’t work. It never has. If we banish all kink from Pride, they’ll just find a new way to hate us. And kink is...an easy foothold for bigots to grab onto.

Courtney: People have...this big, emotional reaction to kink. Because again, most people consider it to be very sexual. Most people are very uneducated about it. Most people don’t know what it is, or what it looks like. So, kink where there are children sounds bad to people who don’t really know what that means. And I don’t 100% want to say, do not listen to other queer people who are saying that because I do...think they’re wrong. But I do also have compassion for this fear and discrimination that comes from being a queer person.

Courtney: There are definitely some people who are just going to try to play the game for a better life. I don’t think it’s the right answer. I think history tells us it doesn’t work, and I think we can still talk to those people who have those concerns if they are, in fact, a part of our community in, hopefully a very level-headed informative way. And we don’t lump them in with all of the sock puppet fascist accounts who are actively trying to tear the community apart. Because, man. For as much as we say, “We, as a minority community, are not a monolith,” we very do often treat ourselves like a monolith. We will say, “If you don’t agree with us, you do not belong in our community.” I don’t think that’s right.

Courtney: But I also said it’s not new. And it’s not. This has been happening for decades. So this is an ongoing...sort of internal conflict within the community, and to pretend like that’s also not happening. And that it’s only the straight parents, is also a little disingenuous. The leather community, in particular, was not only integral to early Pride. They were there, right from the beginning. But the leather community were some of the first to actually organize and care for the sick members of the community during the AIDS crisis. Some of the people on the front lines were the leather men and women in the leather community, too. We haven’t talked about them much yet, because they aren’t in the discourse a lot, which I find a little odd. The discourse online is always like, “Oh, the twink in a harness,” but...there are women in the leather community that have also been here this entire time. “Dykes on Bikes,” a staple of Pride, and some of the frontline heroes during the AIDS crisis. They are very important to the community. Have always been very important to the community. But even then, when queer sex was this frightful thing that you could die from, there were definitely sections of the community that we’re trying to publicly distanced themselves from other members of the community, that couldn’t be as easily separated from the concept of sex. So, even though leather men and leather women, all the people within the kink community who are doing all this fantastic, heroic work and caring for these sick and dying people. They also had other people saying, “You’re kind of bad for our public image. Can you not pose in those pictures with us? We’re going to stand over here, you stay over there.” It’s not kind, but it is not new.

Courtney: That’s why it’s really messed up. Anyone who blankly says, “No kink. None at all.” That tells me that they probably don’t know what they’re saying, and they probably don’t know the history. The history is important. Yes. I also think, probably, defining kink. Defining kink at Pride. More often, these conversations is [sic] also important. Cause Let me tell you, it didn’t work back then. Gay men trying to distance themselves...from the leather community did not make people less homophobic. The kinksters are the easy target, because you can get more people with a knee-jerk reaction to them. We see that in the asexual community, too. Where so many people know so little about asexuality that, if you can be the first to...get to them, and tell some lies. Sprinkle in some...asexual conspiracy theories about...how deviant those asexuals actually are, and what they’re doing to your children. Then you can...try to get the ignorant people on board with you. It’s a little...easier than just saying…“In this year, 2022, I hate gay people.” Probably most people are going to be like, “That’s not cool.” But not everyone comes to the defense of the aces, and not everybody comes to the defense of the kinksters. So they start with those easy targets- trans people as well- and they get their foot in the door. Once they planted those seeds, the infestation spreads, and they will be coming for you next. Is that sufficiently dramatic enough?

Royce: Yeah. One common theme I think I’ve seen coming from bigoted communities of different types, and throughout recent history, is how they have this tendency to lump everything outside of their worldview, or their view of the human experience, into the same giant bucket of deviancy. Like, if you take the traditional religious conservative, who only believes in the nuclear family. A man and a woman, who are both straight, living together and having children. They may see any existence in a human expression outside of their own as “deviant.” TERFs are very similar, in that many of them believe that heteronormativity, homosexuality, and bisexuality to certain extents, exist. But then, everything outside of that doesn’t. Is some form of deviancy. And it’s because they lump all these other identities into this one group. This one a non-existent or irregular group. And

Courtney: Label it all “perverse.”

Royce: Label it all “perverse.” That they can so easily jump from, say, homosexuality to pedophilia to bestiality, because some of them literally may not see a difference.

Courtney: Exactly! Before gay marriage was legalized in this country. You’d see conservatives be like, “Gay marriage. What’s next? Are people going to be wanting to marry their dogs?” Sheesh. Calm down, conservatives. It’s fine. Calm down. But that’s...I mean that’s what we see in TERF-ism to. That’s why people who are so set in their gender ways see transgender people as something that is perverse. They are not. They are just people. That’s where you see the TERF...pipeline start with, “Oh, no. We’re just a little ‘gender critical.’ What does gender really mean?” That seems harmless on the surface. That’s how they get you. Reel you in. Once they get their hooks into you, deep enough to say, “Well actually, it is wrong to be transgender. It’s something perverse.” “It’s not actually real gender. It’s something different. And, if it’s not actually real gender, then it must be...just someone getting their sick kicks.” It’s just a fetish to these people. From that point, they follow the same logic. Pedophiles. Groomers. It is sick, and twisted, and bigoted. That is how these people think.

Courtney: Maybe we should do...a future episode on...the acephobe to TERF pipeline. I feel like every time I tweet about evidence of people starting with hating asexuals, then falling down the rabbithole, then openly admitting that hating asexuals was their entry point. I feel like a lot of people get really surprised. They’re either like, “Wait, what? I did not know that.” Or, they straight-up don’t believe me. Sometimes that is people’s actual entryway. There is a lot more overlap to this line of thinking than you might think. And it’s because bigotry is bigotry. Bigots gonna bigot.

Courtney: I do think we are probably going to wrap it up about there. I think those are the main points. Like I said, two of us talking into a microphone are not going to solve the kink at Pride discourse. I do hope that that gave you a couple of new thoughts to ponder whenever this discourse does come up. I suspect it will inevitably come up again. Otherwise, I do wish all of you a very happy remainder of your Pride Month. If you are someone who is going to the Pride parades, the Pride festivities of any kind. I hope it is safe and pleasant for you. We will talk to you all next week.