This Pride month, fellow gays, keep your kinks at home — and away from kids

A disturbing incident at a California Pride parade has prompted a familiar discussion: Do public kink and fetish displays really belong at “family friendly” LGBT Pride events?

Onlookers at West Hollywood Pride celebrations Sunday were treated to a public sex display during the event’s parade.

Riding in the back of a parade truck, a man clad in “dominatrix” gear choked and whipped another man, scantily clad, to a cheering audience.

This startling act occurred despite the city describing its parade as “a colorful and entertaining event for the whole family.”

Belissa Cohen, a journalist who filmed the incident and posted it to Twitter, reported, “Tons of kids were present — thousands of people, including families, lined both sides of the public boulevard, yelling & cheering. Sunny Sunday afternoon. No gatekeeping possible.”

It should go without saying that performing or even simulating kink-related sex acts in front of children is wildly wrong.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t some one-off incident.

Participants attend the 2023 WeHo Pride Parade on June 04, 2023 in West Hollywood, California.
Riding in the back of a parade truck, a man clad in “dominatrix” gear choked and whipped another man, scantily clad, to a cheering audience.
Getty Images

While many Pride parades and events are genuine celebrations of love and family that aren’t inherently inappropriate, many are often hypersexualized or in part include near-nudity or explicit conduct.

This isn’t something the far-left activists who constitute the mainstream “LGBT” community deny.

On the contrary, many openly defend having kink at Pride events.

A Washington Post headline actually reads: “Yes, kink belongs at Pride. And I want my kids to see it.”

The author celebrates the fact her elementary schooler saw a man in a “leather thong” get “spanked playfully by a partner with a flog.” (Yes, seriously.)

At the very least, the clear indecency of these disgraceful incidents should prompt Pride event organizers to limit their events to 18 and up if they’re going to allow this kind of thing.

But as a member of the gay community, I think we ought to have a reckoning over why kink is conflated with LGBT pride at all.

The two things really have nothing to do with each other.

After all, heterosexual and homosexual people alike have various kinks and fetishes.

I have libertarian sensibilities, so I frankly don’t really care what happens behind closed doors, as long as it’s between consenting adults.

But it has absolutely nothing to do with being same-sex attracted.

People gather to watch the 2023 WeHo Pride Parade in West Hollywood, California.
A Washington Post headline reads: “Yes, kink belongs at Pride. And I want my kids to see it.”

What’s more, being gay, or even having gender dysphoria, is not something anyone chooses.

In fact, that was a key part of the argument for gay acceptance.

So to conflate being gay with preferences and extracurricular sexual activities people choose to engage in is to do our own identities and legitimacy a tremendous disservice.

Activists argue kink is rightly considered a part of LGBT pride because LGBT acceptance was always rooted in sexual liberation.

But this argument, at least in part, relies on revisionist history.

The successful effort to sell the public on gay marriage, the single biggest accomplishment of the gay-rights movement, was fundamentally rooted in bourgeois norms, family values and, frankly, normalcy. Not outlandish hypersexualism.

So, too, this unfortunate trend plays into old homophobic prejudices and unfair stereotypes some people still subscribe to.

There’s a long and dark history of bigots suggesting gay people are out to get kids or more likely to sexually abuse minors, despite many studies and expert consensus showing such a correlation does not exist.

But when a select few gay people do openly engage in simulated sex acts in front of children — something all normal, everyday gay people would denounce — and it goes viral, it plays into these unfair stereotypes and sets back the progress we’ve made, even though it’s not representative.

It’s time for the LGBT community to step up and reassert some basic standards over Pride events.

Kink and fetish displays shouldn’t be welcome at Pride — and if they’re going to occur, we absolutely must demand they be limited to 18+ environments.

And to the broader public understandably outraged by these viral incidents, please don’t hold the actions of a small minority against our entire community when many of us want nothing to do with such indecency.

Brad Polumbo is an independent journalist and the co-founder of BASED Politics.

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