In an article published recently in the Washington Post, author Lauren Rowello batted in favour of keeping the kink community in Pride month rallies. She also argued in favour of exposing children to various acts performed by kinks in the Pride rallies, apparently to help children learn about the “scope” and “vitality” of the queer life. Lauren Rowello is a writer and activist, who describes herself as a ‘former sex worker’ in her Twitter bio. The ‘gendervague’ author’s prefered pronoun is ‘they’, although this report will use the ‘she’ pronoun for the sake of simplicity.
According to its definition, kink is “unconventional sexual taste or behaviour” and includes a wide variety of behaviours and preferences. That includes BDSM — a subset of kink — which stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism. There is a raging debate in the western countries whether they should allow kink in Pride as their inclusion is bound to have an effect on children and minors who attend the Pride marches.
As Pride Month draws to a close, author Lauren Rowello defended in her article the inclusion of kink in Pride. To drive her point home, author Rowello proudly cites one of the instances when she took her children to attend a Pride rally. The author says her elementary-schooler curiously pointed in the direction of bare-chested men showcasing gay bondage and was inquisitive about what they were doing when one of the partners playfully spanked the other with a flog. She also took her other child, a toddler, along with her to attend the Pride rally.
While the author admits that her children were not old enough to understand the nuance of the situation, she nevertheless took them to the rally, supposedly to make them realise that the people whom they saw in the march were members of community celebrating who they are and what they like to do.
Every year as Pride Month approaches, a fierce debate erupts as to whether kink belongs to Pride at all. For a long time now, kinks are considered pariahs as far as Pride month rallies are concerned. The critics who want to keep kinksters out of the Pride often cite the presence of children as their primary concern. They have argued that kink is a highly sexualised experience that children should not be subjected to, at least at their tender age. Many have supported this stand, arguing that Pride rallies are attended by minors and therefore kinksters should not be allowed to be a part of it.
The self-expression of kinks is mistaken as obscenity: WaPo author
But for the author, these concerns of impressionable children getting influenced by the kink culture is not a worthy enough reason to preclude kinksters from attending Pride rallies. The author contends that policing how others turn up at the Pride rallies would not protect or uplift young minds. Instead, she terms the exclusion of kink from the pageantry of queers as an attempt to homogenise self-expression and would be more harmful to the children.
“When my own children caught glimpses of kink culture, they got to see that the queer community encompasses so many more nontraditional ways of being, living, and loving,” the author wrote in her Washington Post column.
Defending the presence of kinksters in Pride rallies, the author says their self-expression is mistaken as obscenity by the anti-kink advocates, stating that they are not engaged in sex acts in the rallies. She also said that manipulative language regarding safety and privacy is used by the critics to allege that attendees are exposed to vulgarity and overt displays of sexuality without their permission or consent.
Inclusion of kink in Pride would expose children to alternative experiences of sexuality: Washington Post article
When children are exposed to kink culture, the author says, they realise the existence of alternative experiences and behaviour of sexuality that they would otherwise find it hard to accept and reconcile with their reality as they grow old. This experience, author alleges, provides children with the confidence to overcome their hesitance in embracing their true self.
“Children who witness kink culture are reassured that alternative experiences of sexuality and expression are valid — no matter who they become as they mature, helping them recognize that their personal experiences aren’t bad or wrong, and that they aren’t alone in their experiences,” the article says.
“If we’re afraid to talk about kink with our children, we prioritize the status quo — sanitizing and censoring their access to information about appropriate and normal self-expression. These are the very attitudes that made Pride necessary — and life-affirming — for so many of us in the first place, and we have no business imposing them on the next generation” the author said while arguing about straitjacketing children with the limited worldview and blocking their access to the reality of kink culture.