Should We, Like, Even Have Pride 2020?

Content note: This post discusses the coronavirus pandemic as well as the cancellation of Pride 2020 and other events, and, more importantly, racism and the protests currently unfolding in the US following the death of yet another Black man at the hands of a police officer. Obviously, that’s kinda heavy, so please take care of yourselves first – you can’t pour from an empty (or debilitatingly traumatised) cup.


I’ve been lucky enough to go to a number of brilliant pride events. Even when they’ve been overwhelming, and a little lacking in the accessibility department, and thoroughly rained upon, I’ve been warmed through by a sense of community and safety that I rarely find outside of kink spaces and small pockets of the internet. Like a lot of people, I was really looking forward to Pride 2020.

Except, well, it’s 2020.

There’s a pandemic going on, just in case you had somehow not heard (and I’m so fucking jealous of you if you hadn’t). That, obviously, means that physical pride events are going to be difficult to organise in a safe and responsible way. I’ve been grieving the loss of a lot of opportunities and things I was excited about and any sense of normality, so pride events being cancelled is something I’m kinda already emotionally prepared for. Besides, it’s not physical events that I’m the most invested in (again, overwhelming and inaccessible) – it’s pride month.

Pride month is usually a lot of fun. It’s the month before my birthday, and everything in the shops is dipped in rainbows and other pride flags. The memes are usually impeccable. There are fruitful discussions about the LGBT+ rights movement, and less fruitful “discussions” with trolls (I can’t help it! They’re so easy to wind up!). Most pride months, there’s a hum in the air, like every LGBT+ person is vibrating with excitement at the prospect of painting flags onto their faces and getting wasted. Generally, the vibe is a positive, uplifting one.

I don’t know how or if we could achieve that vibe this year without the coronavirus involved, though, because there’s another reason that I’m writing this blog post: the protests in the United States.

I’m not equipped to talk about what’s going on. I’m not well-informed enough, in my own opinion, but more importantly than that: I’m white. As far as I’m concerned, that means my job is to boost the voices of Black people and other people of colour, but not to come to any grand conclusions on my own and then spout them from my white-person soapbox. I want to be helpful, but in this case, I’m pretty sure the most helpful thing to do would be to listen to Black people, spread the protest bail funds and other helpful information, and tell other white people to bloody well behave themselves.

A while ago, I wrote a blog post called Chicken Wings: A Clumsy Metaphor About Race. That post paradoxically discouraged white fragility and catered to it, by reminding white people that the people who call them out for racist behaviours are trying to help them be less racist. Even at the time, I didn’t love framing it in a way that fed the white egos reading it, but I was trying to be patient and gentle with y’all because I have enough privilege to take a softly-softly approach to anti-racism discussions.

I do not, however, have enough patience for said approach. I’m sick of watching my fellow white people defending cops, criticising the actions of protesters, sharing shit without double-checking its legitimacy or helpfulness… the list goes on. I’m sick of watching white people just… not… care about other human beings. I cannot begin to imagine how much more sick of it most POC are.

So, even though we could do a virtual Pride 2020 – should we? Should we be celebrating while other people are fighting for their rights and getting teargassed in response? Should we all have rainbow-y icons and hang out in group chats and listen to absolutely banging tunes while drinking on Zoom with some mates?

The answer is, of course, that I can’t answer that. Neither can people of colour, because (surprise surprise), they aren’t a monolith. They don’t have meetings about their official stances on various issues. Instead, they’re all individuals – but some of them are community organisers and activists, and I plan to find a few of those people to listen to as June unfolds. I honestly won’t mind if Pride 2020 sort of falls on its face, gets postponed or is entirely written off, because human rights are more important to me than getting to draw flags on my face. You know, obviously.

I don’t want to include just one masterpost of helpful resources in case I miss out something vital, so I implore you (especially if you’re white) to go and do some research about how best to help both the protesters currently operating in the US and the Black Lives Matter movement more broadly. Donate to things, physically turn up and help protesters where you safely can, and remember: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, get a burner phone and never, ever trust a cop.

Chicken Wings: A Clumsy Metaphor About Race

Note: This post is in part a response to some of the issues of white privilege, fragility and paternalism in the sex ed community which are expressed super eloquently by Dirty Lola, Jimanekia Eborn and Sunny Megatron in this episode of the American Sex podcast. I wanted to introduce the slightly clumsy race metaphor that I’ve used in the past amongst friends in the hopes that it’ll help other people wrap their heads around the topic.

In the interests of staying in my lane, this post is primarily aimed at my white readers, because they’re the ones who need to hear this. However, if you’re a person of colour and you’d like to give me criticism on it, you can do so in the comments, in my Twitter DMs or at contact@akinkyautistic.com – I would hugely appreciate your feedback.

Additionally, this post makes mention of “my black best friend”, who very kindly gave me her permission to refer to her as such. I wouldn’t usually, but her race is actually relevant here, and I did check it’d be okay with her. Don’t worry.


At high school, we had a hot food vendor that sold potato wedges and chicken wings at lunchtime.

Bear with me here.

One lunchtime, I watched my black best friend point out to our mutual white friend that she’d left meat on the bones of her chicken wings. And she said, memorably, “White people never eat chicken wings properly.”

As another white person at that table, I had two choices. I had the option of assuring myself, or even arguing aloud, that not all white people leave meat on their chicken wing bones, and that I’m not one of those white people. I could have, at fourteen, soothed my white ego by distancing myself from my friend’s statement.

Or I could have, and did, look down into my own grease-stained cardboard box to examine my own chicken bones. And, wouldn’t ya know it, there was still meat on them. Not a lot, but enough – I took the point and quietly, without asking for a Good White Person Brownie Point, picked off and ate the remaining wing meat.

This story is important for two reasons.

The first, and more obvious, is that I did have meat on those bones. My friend was right. There was no use in arguing whether or not all white people did the thing my black friend was criticising them for when I had done it, moments ago, unthinkingly. There was value in examining the truth of her statement as it had applied to me. And even if I had eaten all the meat off those bones, that didn’t guarantee I’d always done so with every wing I ever ate, or that the vast, vast majority of white people ate all their wing meat. It wouldn’t have added anything of value to the conversation to have thrust my picked-clean bones under my friends’ noses and to have proclaimed, “But I’m white, and I’ve eaten all the meat off of my chicken wings!”

The second reason is this: in this story, as with so many stories about POC making “white people” statements, my black friend was trying to help us.

She wasn’t just making a broad statement about white people to be mean. She wasn’t trying to suggest that our whiteness made us inherently bad people. She certainly wasn’t being reverse-racist, whatever the fuck that means. She was pointing out an aspect of our behaviour, presumably picked up from our white and English culture, that was prohibiting us from enjoying all the meat that our wings had to offer. She was being constructive.

This extends to other criticisms of whiteness, or behaviours common in white people. When POC are calling white people out for something, not only is it useless and obnoxious to respond with “Not all white people!” or “I’m white and I would never,” but it’s churlish. When you do a white people thing like leave chicken on the bones of your wings and a POC points it out to you, they’re trying to help you make the most of your overpriced high school cafeteria lunch. Similarly, when you do a white people thing like argue that sometimes the cops are good, actually, and a POC points it out to you, they’re trying to help you gain a richer and more nuanced understanding of an issue that will help preserve your relationships with other POC and make you a better listener, activist, ally and friend.

This isn’t to say that POC criticising white people is only valid because it helps us. That line of argument annoys me when it comes to feminism (as in, “Feminism benefits men because patriarchal masculinity is toxic!” being lauded as equally important to, “Feminism stops women getting harassed and murdered”). It’s important to listen to POC when they criticise white privilege because white privilege directly hurts POC every day in complex and often horrifying ways. But if your argument against “white people” statements is “not all white people” or “your tone is mean”, you’re ignoring the fact that they are expending their limited emotional energy trying to help you be a better human being. They are offering you a kindness, even if that kindness is interspersed with swearwords and angry emoji, and you should accept it graciously.

I hesitated to put this piece on my sex blog because I was frightened I’d phrase it wrong or that it would otherwise hurt, rather than help, my readers who are POC, but I knew it was important to write. Unfortunately, issues around white privilege and the erasure of people of colour are evergreen in the sex blogging community, as they are in every other walk of life, and it’s crucial for white bloggers like me to acknowledge our privilege and do the work to counteract it. Again, if you’re a POC and you think this post could be written differently to be more helpful, please feel free to get in touch. If you’re a white person and this post resonated with you, please share it.

If you’re a white person and this post didn’t resonate with you, shut up and eat your damn wings.