London Pride Goes Barking Mad

A recent episode of the British soap ‘Coronation Street’ saw one of its characters end up in a peculiar situation.

Maria Connor, played by Samia Longchambon, is navigating her way through the dating world and ends up going to dinner with a man who has a fetish for dressing like a dog.

Bizarre, right?

Well, it seems that the world of ‘Pup Play’ (Yes, really) is not limited to soap operas.

Several dog enthusiasts turned out to London Pride recently, decked out in their collars, masks and leashes. Irina Von Wiese, a Liberal Democrat MEP for London, tweeted out a photo of several participants, alongside the cheerful proclamation, ‘Ain’t no party like a #Pride pup party!’

Undoubtedly, some of the responses Wiese received to the tweet were disproportionately cruel (likening people who participate in ‘Pup play’ to paedophiles). However, it was disheartening to see many suggest that being perturbed by this trend was a return to ‘1950s homophobia’.

This is disheartening and is perhaps an indication of how one can be too accepting.

Seattle newspaper The Stranger cheerfully reported in 2015 that ‘pup play’ was ‘surging in popularity among the gays, and, if history is any guide, will be surging among the straights in five years when we've moved on to something else.’

2020 will be an exciting year, huh?

I can’t think of anything more degrading than behaving like an animal, but here we are! The Stranger goes on to note that ‘puppy play seems to serve a psychological function that other kinks don't always reach.’

Mainstreaming a kink – and trying to justify it as psychologically beneficial to its participants- is a massive step backwards for the gay community. It’s not turning back the clock on any sense of normalcy the gay community have strived for – it’s smashing the clock to smithereens.

I despair to see images of men in dog masks spread around the internet under the banner of progress and a big rainbow flag.

Did the gay community lose its self awareness?

Were we not just advocating for same sex relationships to be taught in schools – standing up against those who argued we were abnormal and dysfunctional?

Well, we’ll certainly prove them wrong by crawling around on all fours and playing with rubber balls!

Ultimately, if you want to act like a dog in your bedroom, go for it. Scooby Doo, Lassie, Toto…there’s a whole world of dogs for you to imitate.

But please, don’t parade it around – in front of children, who are present at pride events – and then try accusing critics of bigotry.

Gay people have tried for so long to be seen as normal people by wider society. I’ll be damned if we’re going to undo that progress just to flaunt bedroom activities that would make Christian Grey blush.

by Ben Thompson

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