Kink, BDSM, leather and fetish communities have enjoyed a long history at Pride. They've been turning up since Pride's inception in the 60s, both in the US post-Stonewall and here in the UK, too. Which makes sense. One of the core tenants of Pride is that it is a protest against cultural hegemonies and a celebration of alternative sexualities. That's why it's called “Pride”. And though Pride has undergone quite a few evolutions – including becoming a kind of corporate smorgasbord of vague platitudes and ideas such as “love is love” – the kink communities still show up, year upon year.
This year was a weird one. In some ways, LGBTQ people in general have never been so divided (see: the “kink at Pride” discourse). In others, we’ve never been more united, or never needed to show up so loudly and en masse. According to some sources, over 1.5 million people attended the parade on Saturday in Central London, breaking an all-time record. It also marked the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride parade, and the first Pride in three years, thanks to the pandemic. So yeah – this year felt ultra significant.
Anyway, aside from the reasons that everyone was there, there was also a huge amount of vibes and looks throughout. Pup masks, chains, leather, mesh, harnesses, military gear…
With that in mind, we sent down VICE photographer Bex Wade to capture some of the best kink looks at Pride. And before you start frothing at the mouth, everyone pictured confirmed they were part of the kink community, even if they weren’t directly in the parade.