"Pride" Parades: to Reject One Thing, or to Normalize Something Else

On the other hand, as Scott pointed out, Pride is increasingly becoming just a sort of civic festival. It does make more sense not to have kink at one of those. In a sense this is the LGBT+ movement winning - everyone everywhere supports your cause to the point that we have to make sure it's kid-friendly. But I feel for the old-school people pushed out by the acceptance. We might compare nerd culture - sure, it's mainstream now, nobody's going to laugh at you for playing D&D, but something was lost along the way, and it's not really your culture any more.

That depends what the goal of pride is. If the aim is to normalise LGBTQ sexual minorities then yes, making it as appealing to the mainstream as possible by conforming to prevailing norms around sexual propriety is the right move. If on the other hand the goal is to challenge the existence of a sexual 'mainstream' itself which accepts that sexuality is a valid grounds for unequal treatment then pushing things further will challenge and eventually undermine norms which say that X way of dress or behaviour is inappropriate in public.

To give an analogy the first is like getting your divergent branch of Christianity accepted into the religious mainstream by showing people of the more established denominations that you're more like them than not, the second is like purposefully mocking religious symbols to convey your view that this whole religious mainstream is illegitimate and shouldn't have a say in what is considered proper behaviour in public. I suspect that both threads are represented at pride parades but the more extreme acts are going to be the responsibility of the second group.

Some academics have written about this stuff, from Jerome Neu's paper Pride and Identity (emphasis mine):

Foucault and some of his followers urge that a truly radical politics should emphasize resistance rather than liberation. Liberation, it is charged, involves accepting the categories of the powers that be, even when liberation insists on transvaluation (that is, asserting the positive value of the denigrated, marginalized, category). Resistance questions and rejects those categories. Thus David Halperin writes:The most radical reversal of homophobic discourses consists not in asserting, with the Gay Liberation Front of 1968, that “gay is good” (on the analogy with “black is beautiful”) but in assuming and empowering a marginal positionality-not in rehabilitating an already demarcated, if devalued, identity but in taking advantage of the purely oppositional location homosexuality has been made to occupy. . .

The rejection of categories in this sort of “queer” politics, a politics of positionality (of opposition, contrast, resistance) rather than identity, obscures (deliberately) the identity of the group being defended, it objects to identity politics by attacking the terms of identity: To shift the position of ‘the homosexual’ from that of object to subject is therefore to make available to lesbians and gay men a new kind of sexual identity, one characterized by its lack of a clear definitional content. The homosexual subject can now claim an identity without an essence. . .

But the lack of a clear essence makes the alternative politics of positionality rather unclear. In Halperin’s version, “queer” politics (vs “gay” politics) includes all sexually marginalized individuals: “anyone who is or who feels marginalized because of her or his sexual practices: it could include some married couples without children, for example, or even (who knows?) some married couples with children.” All that unites the group is its felt marginalization in relation to social norms-which seems rather too broad for an organized group politics. (Put differently, the “subject position” emphasized is perhaps too subjective-however true that it may be that we are all gay, all women, all black, for we are all marginalized, denigrated, despised, under some heading or other some of the time.) Halperin acknowledges (p. 64) that the vast range of sexual outlaws (including sadomasochists, fetishists, pederasts) can have diverse and divergent interests.

The last highlight is especially important, it questions the view that gay people should pull the ladder up from under them after finally gaining social power, that would just create one more privileged group and it would be to commit the same wrong against the remaining marginalised people as the heterosexual mainstream did previously against the gays. It also includes "sexual practices" and not just sexual orientation as a category people can be marginalised for, and so people with various kinks or preferences are just as much a group deserving of protection as gays or lesbians. If you believe that it might be hard to tell people with a certain kink no when they want to express their identity in public.