My first kiss, first job or even my first prostate orgasm – our life is full of “firsts” and if we enjoy it (and boy did I enjoy it) then it certainly won’t be our last. One thing that surprises many of those around me is that; this year, at the ripe age of twenty-four, I experienced my first Pride event. It had always been an enormous regret of mine that I never got to fully experience a Pride parade and celebrate who I am. With my move to the Big Honey Pot (aka Manchester) last year, I subsequently became integrated into the fetish community here. My entire life has changed vastly in the last twelve months and with that change came an opportunity to march in my first ever Pride parade.

The sun beamed down on smiling, laughing faces as we crisscrossed through the crowd to our designated meet-up area. Dressed from head-to-toe in black, shiny rubber I bounced along with stars in my eyes. The area itself easily had three to four thousand people huddled together surrounded by colourful flags, signs and expressive costumes. Strutting through the masses in my shiny dog equipment, I had one major thought; “Do I belong here?” To rewind, before this marvellous occasion, there had been a lot of debate about fetish at Pride. Of course, this debate was a concern of mine at the time as I began to doubt my own place at this event. I was prepared and ready for backlash and possibly an unwelcome reception.

So after getting organised and A LOT of waiting, we set off from the meeting area to begin the march through the streets of Manchester. With a mixture of nerves and excitement, I held my rubber pride flag high as I cast an eye over our block of roughly one to two hundred people. After passing through a very narrow back alley, with flags swaying and anticipation growing, we turned onto the main parade route and began our stride of Pride.

Pride really was the name of the game, as we began our march we were welcomed by excited cheering, shouts of praise and smiling faces of the general public. My fears and nerves melted away as the rubber men and pups marched on showing our support for the trans community. Led by the fabulous drag queen, Whiplash, we paraded in unison – sparking joy and a bit of confusion wherever we went. I managed to slither my way into a spot at the front-left of the block meaning that I was face-to-face with the onlookers. Hands sticking out for hi-fives, cameras flashing but most of all lively screeching filled the streets, as, for a moment, nobody was ridiculed, condemned or taunted. Instead, something special happened.

The label “general public” was torn down as we all shared a universal feeling together. We celebrated. We celebrated who we are, our allies, our political views, and our personal achievements but most of all we celebrated unity. I bounced along waving my flag, maybe a bit over-enthusiastically, as I knew the march wouldn’t last forever. I was ecstatic and I certainly wasn’t afraid to show it. The thing that struck me the most was how unique each face looked that day. Painted in rainbows, adjourned with colourful makeup or even covered in pup masks, not one person looked like they belonged in the “general public” box I had created.

As the march came to an end and the blocks began to disband and go their separate ways, I knew that the parade may have physically ended but that its journey would continue onwards. A lump in my throat signalled how I was feeling, surrounded by my friends and kink family I shed a few tears for the astonishing journey I had taken. I’m not talking specifically about the march itself, but the personal voyage. We all have personal motives for what Pride means to us. That’s why I believe that it’s crucial for us as fetishists to be a part of our Pride festivals.

Some wise words to any kinkster doubting their place in Pride, you are valid, you are wanted and you are welcome, despite what others may tell. Now get out there and march those handsome butts off!

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