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Every year around Pride season, debates pop up on social media. People on both sides get heated, argue for a few weeks, then forget all about it until next year.

There’s been to-ing and fro-ing over everything from extra colours in rainbow flags, to whether we should allow corporate sponsors, to whether police should be allowed to march, to whether Taylor Swift is using us as a cash cow…the list goes on. And on. And on.  

Some raise interesting conversations that perhaps needed to be had, others are ridiculous and misguided. By far and away the most ridiculous issue to be raised in recent weeks, is whether people in fetish gear should be allowed to march.

The reason some have given for opposing people in fetish gear is that many aspects of pride are now family-orientated, and children should be protected from the more debauched aspects of the gay lifestyle. All sounds a bit Daily Mail column doesn’t it – depressingly though, it’s not stuffy old homophobes who are churning out this bile; it’s LGBT people.

Last night Pride UK, a Pride social media platform with over 35,000 followers, exchanged some heated DMs with Twitter user @MotoThePup in which they claimed “fetish has no place at a pride event”. The discourse continued on Twitter when a tweet from queer user @cordy_fox went viral. Their tweet read, among other things “Please don’t bring your k*nks/fet*shes to pride, there are minors @ pride and this can sexualise the event”.

Apart from anything else, they’re wrongly assuming that fetishes automatically mean something sexual. People wear fetish gear for all sorts of reasons. It might be to aid social anxiety, or just because it’s what they feel most comfortable in. Or, most of the time, it IS to do with sex, and that’s fine too. Most of us have sex, and we’re all here because of sex.

Photo by Zefrographica

But people – even queer people – still can’t seem to get their heads around that. Our society still has a deep-rooted, unshakeable fear of sex. Children are allowed to play computer games where characters blow each other’s brains out with guns and bombs, but if a flaccid penis were shown on TV before the watershed, there would be uproar. It says a lot about our society that the former is deemed more acceptable.  

It’s lovely seeing happy families at Pride. If you want to take your child to pride, that’s great, and that’s your decision. But you must make that decision based on the fact that they might see something deemed inappropriate for their age. 

Pride is about self-expression, self-love and letting go of inhibitions. It’s about challenging the societal norm, not complying with it. If you’ve got a problem with that, then fine. Don’t come. Go to Thorpe Park for the day instead. 

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