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Monday, June 27, 2022


Pride festivals are set to take place around the world this weekend, including in major cities such as New York. As such, the perennial debate around the inclusion of kink (leather and fetish lovers, pups and BDSM fans), has reared its head again.

YouTube comic Michael Henry has made it the subject of his latest video, simply entitled ‘No Kink at Pride.’

In it, Henry and a friend try to persuade a younger pal why kink has a place at Pride.

Henry mentions having his leather harness oiled in preparation for the festivities, prompting a disapproving “eww” from Gen Z chum, Julian.

Julian says he doesn’t think kink should be allowed at Pride: “Just because I’m at a Pride event doesn’t mean I’m consenting to see your naked, hairy ass flapping out of your leather pup costume.”

He goes on to state, “Pride should be for everyone: kids, teens, allies, my nana. Live out your horny fetish fantasies in private.”

“Kink was at Pride since the start,” counters another friend, Cal. “Why should we censor ourselves just because you’re uncomfortable?”

Henry agrees, saying, “Fifty years ago Pride was a riot against the police. Against having to live our lives in the shadows … I’m sorry, but Pride wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies and Citibank butt plugs … policing how we show up and present ourselves is counterproductive.”

Henry told Queerty that he’d done some research in advance of making the sketch and found that it was often younger generations that expressed a problem with kink at Pride.

“I actually searched on TikTok NO KINK AT PRIDE and it was all younger people under 25 that said they had a problem with it,” he said. “And they were very vocal and adamant about it. And I think it’s because younger people have been taught about setting boundaries. I know I was never taught about setting boundaries. So I think it’s great that these younger adults have these boundaries for themselves and that they feel comfortable expressing them and vocalizing them on a platform. I respect that.

“But at the same time just because you have a certain boundary or opinion, that doesn’t make it fact or a law that everyone needs to agree with. And I think that’s the disconnect. You can respect someone’s boundaries but also you need to respect me and my side as well.”

The video has prompted over 500 comments.

“The pride parades have definitely changed over the years,” said one commentator. “In the 70s it was about sexual expression; when AIDS hit in the early 80s, the parades were about activism; in the 90s and beyond it was about proving to the straight world that we were just like them…wanting marriage equality, kids and a family.

“This message was much more corporate-friendly and big sponsors came on board, not really to support us but to advertise to an audience with lots of disposable income. The last time I saw the pride parade in LA, sadly there were more floats with religious depictions than men in leather.”

Another said, “I went to my first Pride at fifteen in 1993. It had nudity and kink. I was already gay, it just showed me that gay was also amazing. After that, the bullying, fear over AIDS, and discrimination didn’t feel so bad. I had a new family that wasn’t ashamed of anything.”

Others said kink put them off.

“I’ve never particularly enjoyed Pride, and the kink aspects did make me feel uncomfortable, however I went with the I don’t have to attend option because I don’t want to be telling someone else how to live their life,” said one person.

What are your feelings on kink at Pride?


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