Be Proud, Not Pushy: A Guide To Pride Etiquette

I’ve come to realize how often the conversation stalls when it comes to consent outside of the bedroom. Click To Tweet

A guest post by Kitty Stryker
Editor of “Ask: Building Consent Culture” & Porn’s Riot Grrl

I’ve been going around the country talking about consent culture for years now, often in alternative communities – BDSM, polyamory, Burning Man, swingers, queer folks, etc. It’s a topic I care deeply about, but I’ve come to realize how often the conversation stalls when it comes to consent outside of the bedroom – the consent of negotiating daily interactions vs sexy fun times.

As this is Pride month, I began to flash back to the various ways I had come to accept as normal in the party atmosphere of the Pride parties I’ve been to over the years.

Every time I go to a Pride event, at least one of the following 5 things happens:

1. Someone (usually a gay man or a straight girl) grabs my breasts or costume without asking

2. Someone takes a sneaky photo without my consent or knowledge

3. Someone tries to offer me something dosed without letting me know upfront

4. Someone loudly interrupts a conversation I’m having (almost always with another queer femme) to center themselves in a desperate bid for attention

5. Someone will attempt to use their inebriation as an excuse for crossing my boundaries

I want to acknowledge that it is not just heterosexual allies who do these pushy, entitled things, but fellow queer folks. From talking to my friends, it seems it’s sunk into the common consciousness as just something one has to tolerate to be in those spaces.

I think that’s absurd, and I wanted to offer a quick and easy guide on how to perpetuate consent culture in these spaces so everyone can celebrate and feel safe.

1. Don’t touch people without asking. This should be super basic, but, ask people before you hug them, ask people before you kiss them, ask people before you touch their hair, their costume, their body, their wheelchair, etc. It doesn’t matter if you’re not “sexually attracted,” it’s still grabbing at someone without asking and that’s not ok. A smile and checking in about consent can make an interaction really amazing and intimate instead of deeply unsettling and scary.

2. Let people know before you take their photo. I have a very selfish reason for this – I generally want to see copies of photos taken of whatever awesome outfit I’m wearing! But there’s other reasons why this is important. It’s respectful, and indicates that you’re not trying to be sneaky or creepy. It also allows people to say “no thanks,” which, if you don’t let them say no, they can’t really consent, can they? There’s lots of good reasons people don’t want their photo taken – they may not be out, they may have dysphoria, they may be shy, they may just not want to be the subject of a photograph. Ask, and respect the response.

3. PLEASE tell people if your cookies are “special.” If you don’t want to take the risk of having your dosed goodies intercepted by the cops? Don’t bring them. As someone who is really allergic to weed, getting accidentally dosed by a well-meaning partygoer could really ruin, not just my day, but my whole week. Also, don’t waste good edibles on people like me who will just end up hospitalized! Give them to folks who will really appreciate them.

4. Be respectful of people’s space. We covered physical space in the first point, but I also want to encourage you to be respectful of people’s emotional boundaries. If you’re a heterosexual woman, maybe don’t go to a bunch of parties specifically marketed to gay men – similarly, if you’re a straight man, leave lesbians alone? If you’re white, sit out the Pride party your Black and brown friends have that’s POC only. If your trans friends need space to process their feelings, don’t invade.

5. Drink more water, cause being fucked up is not an excuse to violate people. For many cities, Pride is less of a protest and more of a party. I have mixed feelings about that, on a personal level, but it’s where we’re at now. Oftentimes, Pride means a lot of outside drinking in the sunlight, sweating from dancing all day, perhaps indulging in other chemicals, and just not drinking enough water. Dehydration and being under the influence can certainly join hands in leading people to make poor decisions about boundaries, both their own and other people’s. Don’t be that person getting sloppy at Pride. Make sure you eat properly, and drink a bottle of water for every drink *at least*. Your liver and conscience will thank you.

This list is by all means not exhaustive – there’s lots of other ways you can encourage consent culture at Pride! But this is a very good start. By respecting each other’s bodily autonomy, we can ensure that our queer spaces are safer spaces… and by learning and modeling how to do it better, maybe we can shift the cultural consciousness. Or at least have a better party.

 

kitty.001Kitty Stryker is a feminist writer, queer activist, and rising authority on developing a consent culture in alternative communities as well as an active member of the genderqueer feminist art collective, the NorCal Degenderettes. She was the founder of ConsentCulture.com, a now offline website that ran for 4 years as a hub for LGBT/kinky/poly folks looking for a sex critical approach to relationships. Now fundraising for a book tour in honor of her book “Ask: Building Consent Culture” (an anthology through Thorntree Press coming out in 2017), Kitty tours internationally speaking at universities and conferences about feminism, sex work, body positivity, queer politics, and more. She lives in Oakland, California with her wife, boyfriend, and two cats, Foucault and Nietzsche. For media inquiries and bookings, email miss.kitty.stryker@gmail.com.

The first 48 hours of Lisbon: Arraial Pride

IMG_7692Friday was finally the day, and it was “bye bye” to Brexit-land – and hello to Lisbon.  Of course, I didn’t expect my leaving day to be quite such a dramatic day in the British and European landscape… However,  Brexit certainly had quite an effect on what I planned as a quiet traveling day, and just before hitting the second of the Lisbon Pride celebrations, Arraial Pride, the day after arriving. Continue reading “The first 48 hours of Lisbon: Arraial Pride”

Pride: Why we should go – and why it still matters

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London Pride (I’m on the left in case you wonder)

Isn’t Pride just a commercialised street party, sponsored by big brands and full of pretty boys in skimpy clothes? And anyway, does it still matter?
I recently posted about my summer plans, which include going to both Lisbon’s Arraial Pride and Orgullo in Madrid.  Pride in many countries has become a big business: Madrid Pride brings around 2million people onto the street, London Pride is awash with big businesses sponsoring it. And yes, I totally understand that some people get completely fed up with all the commercialism taking over what once was a profoundly political event. Similarly, with Portugal being 4th, the UK 3rd and Spain 6th in the annual ILGA Rainbow Ratings, it seems hard to argue that life as a gay men faces heavy discrimination in those countries (not fully equal mind you… but nowhere as bad a s 20, 30 years ago). So… why bother going to attend Pride? Here is my somewhat personal list of reasons you too should come out to join Pride: Continue reading “Pride: Why we should go – and why it still matters”

Summer Plans

Have you noticed? It is almost summer! Time to make some summer plans… FullSizeRender

Luckily (I guess) I still have heaps of vacation time left before leaving my job. So I’m now making plans what I’ll do this summer… after all, what is a single gay boy (ok, the boy bit is maybe a bit stupid)… so what is a relatively newly single gay guy to do?

Lisbon is obviously high on the agenda. Not least because I have started to learn Portuguese … so it is time to practice those skills. And learn a bit more… more about that in the next post about learning Portuguese! Continue reading “Summer Plans”

How to find information about Gay Lisbon – online

Image-1If you haven’t heard much about gay life in Portugal it may be because it is actually quite tricky to find a lot of information online. Sadly, there isn’t an easily accessible array of magazines such as Boyz or QX in London, or Siegessäule in Berlin (with a well maintained English section). And even local websites are often hopelessly out of date (the local TimeOut website used to have events from three years ago… and now just redirects to their facebook page). So… it is a little more tricky to find out what is going on.

Sadly, a lot of information isn’t available in English. However, the good thing about Portuguese is  that, at least in the written form, you can probably make out the essential words by looking at them.

And for everything else… there is this hopefully somewhat complete and reasonable useful guide… Continue reading “How to find information about Gay Lisbon – online”

Eurovision Song Contest – Stockholm

What’s probably more gay then a pride festival? The European Song Contest [ESC]…cult in Europe and beyond (and if you are not from Europe, or are starting to get confused now…  here is a nice introduction).  This year was Sweden’s turn to host the contest… and although I didn’t manage to get tickets to the main, main event, I decided to have a go and try “Eurovision Song Contest – The Party”.

#esc2016

A photo posted by Urbangay (@urbangayblog) on

On Friday I was therefore seated comfortably in a plane bound for Stockholm… and yes, Continue reading “Eurovision Song Contest – Stockholm”

Lisbon Gay Agenda

More as a convenient list for me really… here are some of the LGBTI+ events taking place (as far as I can find them) in and around Lisbon in 2016:

25 – 30 May 2016 Lisbon Bear Pride

18 June: Pride March Lisbon – the actual march
25 June: Arraial Lisboa Pride – Pride festival on the Terreiro do Paço

7 – 10 July: Hot Season Festival – Trumps Club
14 – 16 July: Pitch Beach – Rugby, Volleyball, Swimming…
28-31 July: Summer Action

August ??

16 – 24 September: Queer Lisboa – Film festival

1 October: Lesboa Party – 10th Anniversary Edition

Others… which come and go:
Conga Club – irregular partiesLisbon Gay Circuit  – guide to places in Lisbon (the regular ones)