Content Warning: Excerpts from the piece in question go into detail describing the “kink community” being exposed to children.
The Washington Post made a particularly poor choice to publish Lauren Rowello’s “Yes, kink belongs at Pride. And I want my kids to see it” on June 29.
As Gabe Kaminsky noted for The Federalist, Rowello is a former prostitute and self-identifies as “gendervague.”
This is not a hypothetical. Rowello really does have children, who were really exposed to such adult content, with at least one of them being a toddler.
Rowello is completely unabashed by this promotion, as illustrated by such a frank description:
When our children grew tired of marching, we plopped onto a nearby curb. Just as we got settled, our elementary-schooler pointed in the direction of oncoming floats, raising an eyebrow at a bare-chested man in dark sunglasses whose black suspenders clipped into a leather thong. The man paused to be spanked playfully by a partner with a flog. “What are they doing?” my curious kid asked as our toddler cheered them on. The pair was the first of a few dozen kinksters who danced down the street, laughing together as they twirled their whips and batons, some leading companions by leashes. At the time, my children were too young to understand the nuance of the situation, but I told them the truth: That these folks were members of our community celebrating who they are and what they like to do.
The piece reads throughout as a celebration of those engaging in kink, exposing it to children, and claiming everyone else is in the wrong. They’re “fierce and determined role models” and “Kink embodies the freedom that Pride stands for, reminding attendees to unapologetically take up space as an act of resistance and celebration — refusing to bend to social pressure that asks us to be presentable.”
It’s one thing for people to do as they please as consenting adults and in the appropriate, private setting. Literally parading it around in public is another story entirely.
Rowello anticipates arguments from critics, but that’s almost worse, with the dismissiveness:
Anti-kink advocates tend to manipulate language about safety and privacy by asserting that attendees are nonconsensually exposed to overt displays of sexuality. The most outrageous claim is that innocent bystanders are forced to participate in kink simply by sharing space with the kink community, as if the presence of kink at Pride is a perverse exhibition that kinksters pursue for their own gratification. But kinksters at Pride are not engaged in sex acts — and we cannot confuse their self-expression with obscenity. Co-opting the language of sexual autonomy only serves to bury that truth and muddies the seriousness of other conversations about consent. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because anti-kink rhetoric echoes the same socialized disgust people have projected onto other queer people when they claim that our love is not appropriate for public spaces. It’s a sentiment that tolerates queerness only if it stays within parameters — offering the kind of acceptance that comes with a catch. The middle-aged, White men who I grew up with said they were “fine” with gay people as long as they wouldn’t be subjected to PDA — as long as all signs of queer love could be outwardly erased. Queer people’s freedom to be themselves is, according to this logic, contingent on non-queer people’s freedom from exposure to it.
The most kind explanation is that Rowello completely lacks self-awareness.
Many top comments addressed how Rowello’s piece will affect the LGBT community, which Rowello appears to be dismissive of when writing “Respectability politics demand that queer people assimilate as much as possible into cis- and heteronormativity, hewing to mainstream cultural standards. Members of the queer community have internalized those norms to the point that we judge ourselves by them, and then criticize and ostracize others if they don’t uphold them, too.”
A comment from ‘Loocy’ in part reads:
We in the gay community fought for years to dissuade people of the notion that we were somehow dangerous to children. Articles like this put us back decades; we will have to deal with the fallout, while straight couples like this one can just identify their way out of it and go on their way.
Why on earth did the Post publish this trash?
As ‘ktoboe’ candidly shared:
A lot of fetishes are rooted in childhood exposure to a stimulus that gets accidentally conditioned to be associated with pleasure and then reinforced over time by continual exposure. Kids exposed to kinks in their formative years are certainly more likely to develop them themselves- and yes, you can be a healthy person and have kinks, but those tend to be folks who have discovered them later in life. With children there is a risk of paraphilic disorder, where the kink becomes so intense that the person can’t connect intimately with others because they only get pleasure from their kink, or become pathologically addicted to their fetish to the point of distress, self harm, financial or legal troubles. When someone goes down this path at a very young age, it could become deeply ingrained in their psyche like this. I had little boundaries and supervision growing up, and I am speaking from personal experience here. I still can’t connect intimately with other human beings and it’s driven me to be suicidal at times and put me in multiple dangerously abusive relationships. I’m 28 and still don’t even know what my orientation is because all I have is my disorder. I’ve been in therapy for it for many years and am still in recovery. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.
Rowello provides a glimpse of what else these children go through, as evidenced by a tweet of an 8-year old, referred to as “they,” wearing makeup, who wants to go on a “drag race” show when older.
This is the woman who just wrote an article for The Washington Post about why young children should be exposed to kink
This poor child doesn’t stand a chance https://t.co/awPffrwnTQ
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) June 30, 2021