Why Kink belongs at Pride

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Earlier this month, just weeks before the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a Twitter user shared a since-deleted viral tweet directed at Pride goers. It contained a number of statements about the nature of Pride, with one particular remark sparking a string of intra-community discourse: “Please don’t bring your k*nks/fet*shes to pride, there are minors @ pride and this can sexualise the event.”

Debate quickly followed within the queer community, calling into question the place of public displays of kink and BDSM at queer events.

Some agreed with the original tweet, assenting that wearing fetish gear or publicly expressing one’s sexuality would violate the consent of those present, as it could make people feel uncomfortable or triggered.

Others challenged these sentiments. “Kinks, sex, and protest are all inherent parts of pride,” wrote Nicolette Mason on Twitter. “One of the core tenets of pride is liberation and working against cultural shaming,” wrote a user under the handle @atty_boy. “Calling to make pride ‘kid-friendly’ implies that celebrating sexuality and kink openly is bad. Normalizing these things is a GOAL of pride.”

Wherever you stand on the issue, the fact remains that BDSM, subversive sexuality, and leather culture have enjoyed a long history within the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and such public displays of sexuality are driven by much more than libido or countercultural impulses — they’re an inherent expression of queer culture and sexuality, and as such, deserve a place at Pride as much as anything.

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UK’s Porn Block delayed (yup, again) thanks to EU rules

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The UK government’s attempt to create a national database of people that access pornographic content under the guise of protecting children from accessing explicit material online has hit another delay.

The new regulations were due to come into effect on July 15, but  this could now be delayed indefinitely, due to the UK government failing to inform the European Commission about details of the scheme, which it is legally obliged to do.

This is the third major delay – at least – to the plan to require UK users to prove their age before accessing adult content online, and little has been done to allay fears that the law could lead to the leaking of sensitive personal information. Indeed, it remains to be seen how the UK could even hope to enforce its rules on non-UK based businesses.

Even if you’re worried about kids watching porn, there’s little reason to believe that a crudely implemented age verification system will make much difference. Users with a VPN will simply need to select a non-UK IP address to bypass the blocks. Hell, even browsers are considering implementing DNS encryption, which a government official has already admitted would make the rules unenforceable.

Whether or not the law will actually come into effect remains to be seen, but its negative effects are already being felt around the world, as several other countries look to follow the UK’s privacy-impinging example.

Thanks Taylor but, can you not?

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Taylor Swift gave a gift to her queer fan base in the form of a summertime gay anthem called “You Need To Calm Down,” and on behalf of a grateful community, I must say: thank you, Taylor!

Also: is there any chance you kept a receipt?

Please understand: I appreciate the effort. Like God Herself, I love a trier. It is a thrilling and still somewhat new experience to be part of the textual narrative in pop music, and I am delighted for the young queer kid who’s hearing the song and feeling seen, supported and nourished for the first time. It’s important! And the song has already lodged itself in my frontal lobe and kicked both of those new Bon Iver songs out of their seats. Between “Calm Down,” Katy Perry’s “Never Really Over,” and the whole new Carly Rae Jepsen album, the 2019 pop sound palette seems to be “the Fletch soundtrack,” and I am all the way here for it. I will hear “Calm Down” at pool parties this summer, and I will sing along. It is nice.

But attempting to write a gay anthem in 2019 reeks of sweat and substandard self-awareness. The classics of the past— your “I Will Survive,” your “It’s Raining Men,” your “Pull Up To The Bumper”— they gave us our gayness indirectly. They were anthems of strength, of perseverance, of plain, joyous horniness, served up vicariously, the way it had to be done back then. The singers, always women, almost always black, were our stand-ins. We found these songs and made them ours. These days, LGBTQ wokeness is a box to check off in a marketing plan, and when there are perfectly capable queer artists out there, sitting down as a straight person and setting out to write a gay anthem is very much like trying to give yourself a nickname.

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Rapid-onset gender dysphoria is BS

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A controversial study claiming that some teens abruptly decide to change genders due to peer pressure was deeply flawed, according to a scathing new scientific critique.

The original 2018 study used a new term — “rapid-onset gender dysphoria,” or ROGD — to describe certain young adults, typically those assigned female at birth, who develop gender dysphoria due to “social and peer contagion.” The paper has been widely cited, particularly in conservative media, to cast doubt on many gender-nonconforming people’s experiences by framing trans identification as a trend, phase, or disease.

But scientific critics and trans advocates have long criticized the methods chosen by the paper’s author, Lisa Littman of Brown University. Within a week of its publication in August 2018, PLOS One, the journal in which the study appeared, announced that it would seek “further expert assessment on the study’s methodology and analyses,” citing reader concerns. This, in turn, prompted Brown to remove a press release touting its findings. Just last month, PLOS One published a correction and an apology, while also noting that the study’s results were largely unchanged.

Arjee Restar, a trans researcher in the same department as Littman at Brown, told BuzzFeed News that even in the corrected version of the study, “the methods remain unchanged, flawed, and below scientific standards.”

Frustrated by how the work was handled by the journal and her own institution, Restar, a trans graduate student at Brown’s School of Public Health, wrote the new critique, the most thorough and damning description of the research to date.

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Cops at Pride

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It took half a century, but this LGBT Pride month, the New York police department finally apologized for the infamous 1969 raid on the Stonewall gay bar. Some queer New Yorkers had a simple response: apology not accepted.

“It was a symbolic PR stunt,” said Colin P Ashley, a local queer black activist. “The NYPD is still an oppressive force in so many lives.” Ashley is part of Reclaim Pride, a coalition that wants more than a 50-year-late apology. The group wants police removed from Pride altogether.

Queer and trans activists across the US are engaging in “cops out of Pride” efforts this month, with protests and alternative “cop-free” events that seek to recognize the ongoing police mistreatment of LGBT people. These groups are pushing back against corporate-sponsored parades that embrace police in the name of “inclusion” and “unity” – and return to the radical and riotous roots of the movement.

“Police have often been a force of terror for queer and trans communities,” said Malkia Devich Cyril, a queer activist and leader in the group Movement for Black Lives, who said they won’t be attending San Francisco Pride due to the way police and corporations have co-opted it.

“The efforts to remove policing from Pride are really efforts to ensure safety for the communities that are there. It’s a protective act. It’s an act of resistance,” said Cyril, whose mother was a member of the Black Panthers. “It’s an act that attempts to restore some measure of safety to our rights to organize.”

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Armed Nazis disrupt Detroit Pride

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Detroit’s Pride parade was disrupted by a gun-wielding group of Nazis last weekend. Police escorted the Nazis while they yelled homophobic slurs at the crowd through a bullhorn. They also destroyed and urinated on rainbow and Israeli flags while cops watched on.

While police say their goal was to keep the Nazis and atendees of the Pride parade away from each other, many expressed anger that cops actively enabled white supremacists to disrupt Pride with hateful messages. “Where was Detroit Police when armed Nazis were marching with their NAZI FLAG shouting Homophobic slurs, anti-black racism, and white nationalism you ask? Serving and Protecting THE NAZIS,” one activist wrote on Twitter. “It’s 2019 and cops are escorting Nazis through a pride celebration. Disgusting,” another wrote.

Detroit wasn’t the only city that saw its Pride celebrations disrupted this weekend. Seven people were sent to the hospital in D.C. after fears of an active shooter led to a stampede. People started running after hearing what they thought was a gunshot. It turned out that the whole thing was caused by a straight man waving around a realistic-looking toy gun because he thought someone insulted his girlfriend.

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Straight Pride or: When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression

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Imagine for a second that you’re straight. That you never had to “come out” and confess who you love like it’s a dirty secret. That you never had to endure bullying because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. That people like you were never discriminated against, locked up in prison or even murdered in many countries all over the world.

You could just sit back and enjoy living in a world that’s made for you. Alternatively, if you’re a petty asshole, you could get upset of the queers having one day a year where they get to have a big party in your city and celebrate their community.

A bunch of “men’s rights activists” from Boston decidedly fall into the latter category. The city at the American East coast is set to host a Straight Pride parade in August because apparently the world will end if not everything is about straight people literally all day, every day.

The parade website claims: “Straight people are an oppressed majority. We will fight for the right of straights everywhere to express pride in themselves without fear of judgement and hate.” The website specifies that all are welcome at the event except “Antifa,” because fighting Nazis doesn’t align well with being straight or something.

Mark Sahady of the right-wing group Resist Marxism is one of the organisers behind the march, alongside pro-Trump Republicans John Hugo and Chris Bartley.

In a Facebook post, Sahady claimed: “It looks like the Boston Straight Pride Parade will happen. We filed a discrimination complaint and it appears the City of Boston understands they would lose in litigation. The city is now working with us on the parade. We will have the streets closed and be allowed floats and vehicles.”

It’s not the first attempt to host a Straight Pride event, though most previous efforts have failed to garner more than 10 attendees.

Shaving your pubes can be a dance on the razor blade

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Like most people of my generation I started shaving “down there” just two-ish years after getting anything to shave. And like most people I paid the blood price every now and then for chasing the silly dream of eternally youthful looks. Trimming or shaving your pubes can be a dangerous business, we all know from experience. But there’s also an actual study to support this thesis.

Combing through survey responses from a representative group of 7,456 American adults, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that 76% shave or trim their pubes. Of those, one in four reported injuring themselves at least once in the process.

Minor lacerations were the most common type of injury, accounting for 61% of those reported, followed by burns and rashes. But 1.4% of groomers reported severe enough injuries to require medical attention. That includes antibiotics for infections or surgical interventions, such as stitches and incisions to drain an abscess.

With the data, published in JAMA Dermatology, the researchers hope to draw attention to the hairy problem—and pluck out factors that may contribute to injuries.

Diving down into the data, they examined the specific bits most likely to get nicked during a grooming. Unsurprisingly, people who whittled around their dicks were most likely to injure the scrotum and penis and less likely to injure the perineum, inner thigh, or anus. People with vaginas were most in danger of harming the pubis (the region above the vagina), the inner thigh, and vagina itself. They were less likely to injure the perineum or anus.

Groomers reported using all manners of pruning tools—electric razors, nonelectric razors, wax, scissors, laser hair removal, electrolysis, or “other.” But this didn’t seem to matter much; no one method was linked to a higher risk of injuries. That said, waxing seemed to be linked to a lower risk of repeat injuries. Also inconsequential to injury risk was how hairy a person rated themselves—the hairiest didn’t endure more harm, the researchers found.

What did seem to matter was the frequency and extent of grooming. People across all genders risked more injuries with more grooming sessions—moving from monthly to daily routines—and if they aimed to snip out all the hair down there.

In terms of what increases the chances for a serious gash, researchers found two factors: lying on your back, rather than squatting, standing, or sitting during grooming; and having someone else do the grooming.

Most groomers—94%—reported doing the handiwork themselves. But 8.5% reported having their partner groom them, 3.9% reported professional grooming, and an intriguing 0.5% were “groomed by a friend.”

The researchers note that their study has limitations, including relying on people’s admissions and memory. It’s possible that minor injuries are underreported based on faulty memories while some more severe situations were omitted out of embarrassment.

Still, the authors say, it’s clear that pubic primping is widespread and injuries are common. “Thus, injury-prevention efforts are necessary,” they conclude. They hope that the data helps clinicians tease out patients who are at high risk of injuries and come up with “clinical guidelines or recommendations for safe pubic hair removal.”

Photo by Personwithfetishes