So which one of you decided to make “No kink at Pride” a thing? I missed when it first took off as a trend so I couldn’t find the first one of you nitiwits who set fire to this burning garbage scow heading toward a levvy of a hot take, but it still ended up as a thing on my social media. Yes, I called the opinion a flaming boat of trash because it is. I’m frankly too worn out from this stuff at this point to be nice about it anymore. Saying that kink has no place at Pride is a bad opinion and you should feel bad.
First of all, kink was at Pride long before upper middle-class queers decided to take their kids to Pride. Besides, what six-year-old really enjoys wandering around an asphalt street festival in June? Remember when we used to tell the straights that explaining homosexuality to their children was their problem, not ours? Same goes for you and your J. Crew shorts and boat shoes.
As for those of you arguing about how a bunch of queers running around in collars, harnesses, and body tape over their nipples makes us look bad in front of the straights and supports their arguments that we’re all perverts, well you might want to sit down for this — the ones who think we’re perverts don’t care how we’re dressed. I mean, the fat leather daddy bear in the assless chaps and speedos was never going to be the bridge too far for these folks, our existence crossed that one a while back. Also, I know assless chaps is a redundant thing to say, but it’s more fun that way. On top of all that, nothing any of these kinksters are doing is illegal. No one is performing oral sex on the floats and no one has their Jacob’s ladder pierced wang hanging out like a sundial. Trust me, if these folks were doing anything illegal, the cops that some queers don’t want at Pride would be arresting them, and the corporations other queers don’t want there wouldn’t be participating. Oh yeah, I dare you to tell those hardcore feminist dykes running around with just pasties on their nips to cover up because it’s indecent. That’s gonna go over great.
Also, why do these takes about how Pride festivals are run only pop up at the end of May and end the first week of July, not to be heard again until the next year? Why, it’s almost like the people complaining only really care about Pride during Pride and can’t be bothered the rest of the year. Sure, you get a take here and there, but they mostly appear on Twitter and most certainly never at the Pride planning meetings. Yeah, I went there. Most of you who complain want Pride your way, but don’t actually do anything to make it the way you want other than to ask to speak to a manager. A few of you decide to flip over the table at Pride if you don’t get your way and ruin everyone’s time because you think that one protest makes up for the lack of concerted long-term efforts to make changes in the community. People aren’t mad that you do this because you’re speaking truth to power, they’re mad because you held up the parade, it’s hot, and frankly a lot of you are insufferably self-righteous.
Look, for those of you who hate cops at Pride, fine. Don’t show up the day of the Parade and complain. You should have started doing that in September the year before at the planning meetings. Show up with some signatures on a petition, make the argument before the committee. Also, change local city ordinances that require a police presence at public festivals if you want absolutely no cops there. Sometimes they’re there because it’s the law for them to be there.
Those of you who don’t want corporations at Pride, you do the fundraising. You think all those bands play for free? You know how much port-a-johns rent for? Running Pride ain’t cheap, and most of you showing up on May 31 to protest “Pride, brought to you by Boeing” haven’t raised a dime for it all year long. Letting a bar allow you to sell Jell-O shots and ask for donations during drag shows all year won’t even cover tent rental.
Also, almost none of you volunteer to run Pride. Imagine spending your Pride weekend running around getting hot and sweaty because you’re lining up floats, running ice to vendors, emptying the garbage, keeping the electricity at the stages going, racing all over town handling emergency expenses from early morning to late at night, and not getting to enjoy the event itself. All of this is after scrounging up sponsors to pay expenses, filing permits with the city, renting tents, generators, toilets, booking talent. Running Pride, quite frankly sucks ass and is not fun. So when you show up at the last second to complain after all the deposit checks have been sent and the thankless work of organizing all year has been done, the organizers are gonna be a little pissed, even if you have a point.
Pride is gonna have something there you’re not gonna like, be it the cops, corporations, kinksters, TERFs, conservatives, dogs, straights, crappy weather, bad location, protesters, bad parking, or dare I say it; someone who thinks differently than you. Sometimes being part of a diverse community means you don’t automatically get your way because you’re angry and have a Twitter account and don’t say anything 'till the last second. Yeah, some Pride committees are run by rich white heteronormative gay men who will cancel Pride instead of changing it. Fine, organize your own. Pride doesn’t have a copyright held by anyone; no one is stopping you from organizing your own. You can work all year long to change Pride by engaging community and convincing them that your opinion is right. You can become part of Pride and make the changes you want internally. Or you can organize the Pride you want.
There’s also another option for all of you who don’t like how Pride is run. You can sit at home and sulk on the internet.
Amanda Kerri is an Oklahoma-based writer and comedian, a regular contributor to The Advocate, and a former board member for Oklahoma City Pride. Follow her on Twitter @Amanda_Kerri.
Photo by Tommy Wu. See more of his work at tommyphoto.net.