Everything Tagged "LGBTQ"

(In reverse chronological order)

Monkeypox in Ohio

If you’re a gregarious gay man like me you’ve probably heard about monkeypox. Monkeypox is an orthopoxvirus which causes, in addition to systemic symptoms, lesions on the skin and mucosa. It’s transmitted primarily through skin-to-skin contact, though close-range droplet and fomite transfer are also possible. The current outbreak in industrialized nations is almost entirely among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM); likely via sexual networks. In the UK, for example, 99% of cases are male and 97% are among GBMSM. Ontario reports 99% of cases are in men. In New York 99% of cases are in men who have sex with men. For a good overview of what monkeypox looks like, how it’s spread, and ways we can reduce transmission, check out San Francisco Leathermen’s Discussion Group’s presentation by MPH Frank Strona.

Earlier outbreaks of monkeypox have been generally self-limiting, but that does not appear to be the case with the current outbreak; perhaps because it’s spreading among men who enjoy lots of skin-to-skin contact with lots of people, and often travel to do just that. We saw cases come out of Darklands, IML, and Daddyland; they’re also rising quickly in major cities across the US. Cases haven’t taken off in Ohio yet, but for those of us who travel to large gay events it’s an increasing risk. Two of my friends tested positive last week; one landed in the ER. We’ve known for a while about symptoms and risk reduction tactics, so I won’t cover those here, but I do want to talk about vaccines and testing.

A History of Leather at Pride: 1965-1995

This history is also available as a PDF or EPUB, which may be more pleasant for reading.

The argument goes like this.

Kink, leather, and BDSM do not belong at Pride. First, they aren’t actually LGBTQ: kink is also practiced by straight people (Baker-Jordan, 2021). Moreover, those queer people who do display kink at Pride expose vulnerable people to harmful symbols and acts. They wear pup hoods and rubber bodices, they dress in studded codpieces and leather harnesses, they sport floggers, handcuffs, and nipple clamps (lesbiansofpower, 2021; stellar_seabass, 2021). Some demonstrate kinky acts: they crack whips in the parade and chain themselves up on floats. Some have sex in public (kidpiratez, 2021).

These displays harm three classes of people. Children (and the larger class of minors, e.g. those under 18 or 21) are innocent and lack the sophistication to process what they are seeing: exposure to kink might frighten them or distort their normal development (Angel, 2021; Barrie, 2021). Asexual people, especially those who are sex-repulsed, may suffer emotional harm by being confronted with overt displays of sexuality (Dusty, 2021; roseburgmelissa, 2021). Finally, those with trauma may be triggered by these displays (stymstem, 2021). These hazards exclude vulnerable people from attending Pride: kink is therefore a barrier to accessibility (RiLo_10, 2021; Vaush, 2021).

Consent is key to healthy BDSM practice, but the public did not consent to seeing these sexual displays (Baker-Jordan, 2021; busytoebeans, 2021; prettycringey, 2021). By wearing leather harnesses and chaining each other up in broad daylight, kinksters have unethically involved non-consenting bystanders in a BDSM scene for their own (likely sexual) gratification (anemersi, 2021; Bartosch, 2020; Xavier’s Online, 2021a, 2021b). The lack of consent to these sexual displays constitutes a form of sexual assault (PencilApocalyps, 2021). At worst, the fact that children may be present in the crowd makes these displays pedophilia (Rose, 2021), and (if one is so inclined) exemplifies the moral degeneracy of the entire LGBTQ community and impending collapse of civilization (Dreher, 2021; Keki, 2019)1.

Not everyone holds all of these views, or holds them to this degree; this is a synthesis of one pole in a diverse and vigorous debate. Nevertheless, calls to ban kink at Pride remain a mainstay of Twitter and Tumblr every June. To some extent this position is advanced by anti-gay reactionaries on 4chan and Telegram channels (Piper, 2021), but this is not the whole story: many opposed to kink at Pride identify themselves as queer, or at least queer-friendly (Mahale, 2021).