A men’s lifestyle outlet is going viral for all the wrong reasons after publishing an article encouraging parents to prepare and invite children to witness “public nudity and kink” at pride parades.
On June 1, Fatherly, a men’s parenting e-zine, released an article titled “Should you take your kids to a pride parade?” On its Twitter card, the article appeared to be titled “Yes, you should take your kids to a pride parade (but have these conversations first).”
In advertising the piece on their official Twitter, Fatherly posted: “Pride Parades and the Pride festivals that follow are noisy and crowded. They’re filled with sights that may be new to kids, like public nudity and kink. So is it appropriate to take your young kids to Pride?”
In the next tweet in the thread, the outlet answers their question with a resounding “ABSOLUTELY!” A sentiment firmly echoed in the accompanying article, which provides tips on how to “prep” a child for witnessing sexual activities at a pride parade.
In the article, Fatherly provides comment from Dr. Jennifer McGuire, an associate professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota. Fletcher is quoted as saying her kids have now been taught to “expect nudity and other surprises” when she brings them to pride parades, and to find enjoyment in what they witness.
“They just had to learn to laugh and enjoy things. Like there were these Beanie Babies with giant penises on them,” McGuire says. “For a fourth- and fifth-grade kid, that’s super funny.”
According to the University of Minnesota website, McGuire’s research focus has been on “the health and wellbeing of transgender youth” as well as on gender identity development in minors.
On Twitter, users did not respond well to Fatherly‘s tweet or article, with many calling it “grooming,” and noting that children should not be taught to accept exposure to explicit nudity or sexual fetishes, especially with strange adults.
No. Public nudity and kink are unsuitable for children. pic.twitter.com/DWEYyav6jY— Paula 🦖💚💜 (@eads4th) June 2, 2022
“Exposing children to naked adults, possibly even engaging in sexual acts just sets them up to be groomed or preyed upon later, by adults, and perhaps without even realizing that what is happening to them is wrong,” user Kateland Smith wrote.
Other users noted that pride parades were intended to be a celebration of human rights achievements and the victory of advocates in getting LGB people their rights rather than the emphasis being on sexual proclivities.
As much as I’m for the LGBTQ community, do we really need kink in pride parades? Pride is supposed to be about the rights we earned and how hard we fought to get them, not what turns us on.— Kalia the Gothic Angel 🏳️🌈 (@darkangelkali) June 1, 2022
Fatherly‘s initial tweet has since been brutally ratioed, with the post quickly accumulating over 2,000 primarily negative replies compared to just over 300 ‘likes’ at the time of this writing. At first, it seemed Fatherly social media staff attempted to use Twitter’s ‘hide’ feature to try and scrub the criticism from public view.
But Fatherly‘s article is hardly the first work to attempt to dismiss the basics of child safeguarding in an attempt to seem inclusive.
In 2021, The Washington Post published an article titled “Yes, kink belongs at Pride. And I want my kids to see it.” In the article, non-binary writer Lauren Rowello described taking her young children to a pride parade in Philadelphia with her trans-identified male spouse.
Rowello wrote that her children witnessed two men, one of whom was scantily clad in nothing but a leather thong, engaging in BDSM in public. Rowello also notes that the children witnessed several more men wearing leashes and sporting whips and batons, and that she explained to the kids that the men’s behavior was “members of our community celebrating who they are and what they like to do.”
Rowello went on to state that children should be exposed to sexual fetishism in order to be “reassured that alternative experiences of sexuality and expression are valid.”
Like with the most recent piece in Fatherly, Rowello’s article was ruthlessly dragged by netizens on social media and The Washington Post comment section alike, most of whom pointed out that Rowello’s strategy amounted to desensitizing her children to sexual exposure in ways that might be detrimental to their wellbeing.
According to a 2020 entry in PLoS One by Drs. Wen-Hsu Lin and Chia-Hua Liu, childhood exposure to sexually explicit content was associated with three risky sexual behaviors — sexual engagement at an early age, unsafe sex, and having a high number of sexual partners.
Exposing a child to sexually explicit media or scenes can also be a form of sexual abuse. The therapists at First Orlando Counseling note that early exposure to sexually explicit visuals “can cause discomfort and trauma because there is a form of helplessness or discomfort” in the child. They continue that “not being given the opportunity to consent or decline exposure to sexual content is a violation.”
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