Learn before you act! That’s how I’ve always responded to straight folks or any other person who’s traveling to a pride festival for the first time. Look, I know it can be overwhelming when half-naked men and women are zooming by you at high rates of speed, and there’s a rainbow coming at you in every direction, but calm yourself and learn what to do and NOT to do when it comes to enjoying your pride experience.

It seems we’ve come to a time where women flock to gay bars and clubs, and reach for muscles that aren’t reaching back for them. There are articles out there on the bachelorette party takeovers at these venues, and how it’s causing gay men of all shapes and sizes to retreat. Why is it important to know how to handle yourself when in the presence of the LGBTQ community? Because it’s our space that we’re welcoming you into. This is our sacred march, protest, and festival that allow us to out and proud without fear of reprimand by our close-minded hetero counterparts.

I remember attending the Folsom Street Fair for the first time last year, and I was blown away. There was ass out everywhere, which is expected. We entered the fair and I immediately dropped my shorts revealing my Nasty Pig jockstrap and pale, white butt cheeks for the world to see. Nothing came of it until a woman and man hurried by and gave my ass cheek a big slap. It caught me off guard and then I became full with rage. I called them out before my husband calmed me down, but their response was, “It’s out there, I can touch.” I’m here to say, WRONG! That’s why every year, Folsom Street Fair puts out a little PSA on social media reminding folks that CONSENT is key.

Gear is not consent. Just because someone has a harness on or any type of leather gear, doesn’t mean they’re up for playing or even like being touched.

Nudity is not consent. Because a woman has her breasts out or a man has his ass out, doesn’t mean it’s up for grabs. Hands off unless they permit you to cop a feel.

It’s always important to ask first before reaching for a grab or even photographing someone. Many of these attendees are lawyers, doctors, and teachers who emphasize discretion but don’t mind being friendly when asked appropriately.

We’re all here to enjoy one another regardless of our sexual orientation. It must be said that because someone doesn’t want you to touch them doesn’t mean they’re an asshole or arrogant. It simply means that value their personal space more than your unsolicited grabs making them feel like a piece of meat.

Don’t be that person, which is why we’re writing this story for you! Now go enjoy your pride!

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