The Washington Post published an article this week that advocated for children to be exposed to "kink." Lauren Rowello, a former sex worker, wrote an op-ed titled, "Yes, kink belongs at Pride. And I want my kids to see it."
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "kink" as "unconventional sexual taste or behavior."
Healthline defines kink as any sexual practice "that bends away from the 'straight and narrow,'" and explained that there are five categories of kink, including BDSM ( bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism), fantasy and role-playing, fetishes, voyeurism or exhibitionism, and group sex.
The Daily Dot defines kink as:
There are a lot of different ways to define "kink" that range from extraordinarily broad to super specific. But put very simply, a kink is anything that falls under non-traditional sexual and intimate desires, practices, or fantasies. The word non-traditional will mean different things to different people based on cultural backgrounds, but in most contexts, the definition encompasses anything that falls outside or romantic, intercourse-based sex between two people. This can include things that range from light bondage like handcuffs, ropes, or tape, to practices like public humiliation, foot-worship, domination/submission, and group sex.
Rowello described herself as a "gendervague person who is married to a trans woman" and an "autistic person raising two neurodivergent kids."
In the article, Rowello attempted to rationalize that children should be exposed to kink at Pride parades, "When my own children caught glimpses of kink culture, they got to see that the queer community encompasses so many more nontraditional ways of being, living, and loving."
Rowello began the article reminiscing about attending a Pride parade in Philadelphia five years ago with her children and her trans wife, who "wasn't out at the time." While watching the LGBTQ parade, her elementary school-aged child witnessed a "bare-chested man in dark sunglasses whose black suspenders clipped into a leather thong," who was "spanked playfully by a partner with a flog."
"If we want our children to learn and grow from their experiences at Pride, we should hope that they'll encounter kink when they attend," Rowello wrote in the Washington Post.
"We don't talk to our children enough about pursuing sex to fulfill carnal needs that delight and captivate us in the moment," Rowello also contended. "Sharing the language of kink culture with young people provides them with valuable information about safe sex practice."
"If we're afraid to talk about kink with our children, we prioritize the status quo — sanitizing and censoring their access to information about appropriate and normal self-expression," the WaPo writer asserted. "Children who witness kink culture are reassured that alternative experiences of sexuality and expression are valid."
The article was lampooned swiftly with thousands of comments on Twitter; many critics argued that Rowello was promoting pedophilia and committing child abuse.
BlazeTV's "Relatable" host Allie Beth Stuckey wrote on Twitter, "So, now that showing little kids 'kink' at pride is apparently mainstream enough to be written about in WaPo, can someone on the left tell me at what point the slippery slope stops? What logical or moral obstacle stands in the way of progressives openly celebrating pedophilia?"
Former congressional candidate Barrington Martin II replied, "This woman wrote this trashy, sick, and abominable article for the @washingtonpost. Conspiracy theorists told you something dastardly was going on in our nation with pedophilia and now it is in our faces. If this isn't alarming I don't know what is."
Actor and attorney Eric Matheny wrote, "The road to socially accepted pedophilia is enabled by a society that is too afraid to call out perversion and deviance out of fear of being labeled a bigot."
Conservative political activist Chris Barron tweeted, "In a world of almost universal acceptance some are so desperate to be loathed that they write garbage like this."
Conservative commentator John Cardillo said, "She thinks this is cool, or controversial, or thought provoking, but it's not. It's sick, deviant, and evil."
One Twitter user pointed out, "The kink community is about ~consent~. Children cannot consent."
Another commenter tweeted, "Gross & arguably child abuse."
Even transexual pornographic film actor Buck Angel took issue with the article, "KINK is for adults not children FFS! We worked hard to get people to see PRIDE as a place of respect for us. Way to go , tearing down all the work of the elders."
Freelance journalist Drew Holden added, "Conservatives can take one of two paths: either treat this perspective as not just evil but societally impermissible, either presently illegal or in need of new laws to make it so, or take the libertarian, different strokes for different folks route. I fear we'll do the latter."