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Queerty: Demon Twinks & Fan Thwackers & Kink Masters, oh my! 15 types of people you see at Pride

Dig out the rainbow tank tops. Snag those 5” inseam shorts sitting in your Amazon cart. And most importantly, brush up on the lyrics to “Born This Way.” It’s June so Pride season is officially upon us!

Between the vibrant festivals, tantalizing parties, inescapable rainbow flags, and pandering corporate displays of solidarity (it’s giving “Hi, gay!”), this month belongs entirely to the queers. 

The annual celebration started in 1970 through marches and protests, as New Yorkers and LGBTQ+ activists sought to honor the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots and continue the fight for gay rights. In 1999, it was finally recognized federally after President Clinton declared June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.

International Stonewall Awareness Month ??????

— Derrick Barry (@DerrickBarry) June 1, 2021

Fast forward to the present day, and the vibe has shifted. While there’s still work to be done, we’ve got brands on Twitter racing to upload rainbow avatars, festivals around the world, and even Mariah Carey is hawking a Pride collection.

And whether you’re a Metropolitan Main Character Twink or a DL Flyover State Daddy, you’re likely to encounter some common threads no matter where you’re celebrating.

The Pride stereotype is bare-chested bodies in skimpy fits, uproarious drag queens doing Diana Ross, boozy dance circles, kinky corners, and a cacophony of “Gurl… ohmigod”s. And you know what? It’s not far off from the truth.

Headed to a festival this year? Click through for the 15 types of people you’re sure to see at Pride…

1. The Fan Thwacker

A hand holds a rainbow-colored folding fan, spread open.

Clack, clack, clack! No one knows exactly how folding fans ingratiated themselves in gay culture, but they can be spotted at any Pride celebration (and most likely every stop on Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour).

However, with great power comes great responsibility. There always seems to be that one Fan Thwacker who doesn’t know when enough is enough: drowning out music with incessant flicking, fanning you in the nose, or clacking just to hear themselves clack.

You may want to keep them around though –– in the sweaty months, they’re guaranteed to bring a breeze.

2. The Demon Twink

Actor Adam DiMarco stands in a gay club wearing a pink tank top, showing off his limp wrist in 2014 film 'Date and Switch.'

You either know a demon twink, or you are the demon twink. If you see one of these flamboyant, chaotic, and likely intoxicated creatures in the wild, proceed with caution (unless you’re armed with a vodka soda and/or poppers).

Despite their smooth exterior, rainbow nails, and short stature, they can knock you down, cuss you out, and channel the wrath of Lucifer if they don’t hear enough Dua Lipa. Yet, they somehow end up on top.

Just ask Ty Sunderland, who coined the term on Twitter after a near-death encounter: “[He] threw a drink at the DJ equipment, wouldn’t get off the stage … then the party ended and he’s some how [sic] in VIP getting his a** ate like out in the open.”

3. The Instagramista

A girl in a knitted rainbow sweater, posing in front of a Pride flag, takes a selfie while holding up a peace sign.

If a straight person goes to Pride but doesn’t post a pic to the grid captioned “Love is love,” did it even happen?

While allies are welcome at Pride, you can spot this specific type from a mile away… because they’re blocking traffic trying to get a photo with someone else’s flag. She’s got the perfect outfit and iconic rainbow makeup… but that doesn’t always mean she’s got a LGBTQ+ friend.

The Instagramista is harmless, though they may request you lie on the ground for the ~perfect~ angle or even worse… you follow them back.

4. The First Timer

A person wearing a rainbow-inspired shirt and red leather pants stands cracking their knuckles. Their face is not visible.

No First Timer is going to look exactly the same. They could be rocking their first-ever bedazzled lewk, keeping it low key with a Target tee, or still coming to terms with their identity.

Pricey party tickets, slacktivism, and body odor aside, they’re a reminder that these celebrations symbolize a community waiting for them with open arms. Treat them with kindness –– and maybe remind them to stay hydrated. After all, no one forgets their first Pride!

5. The Scared (But Supportive) Parent

Actress Jennifer Coolidge looks distraught on a boat, talking to a man in a scene from HBO's 'The White Lotus.'

No Sheila, these gays are not trying to murder you.

Pride is the Super Bowl for parents proving to kids that they’re supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. And much like the big game, it’s typically a whirlwind four hours. They likely expected the jubilant parade floats, stuffed speedos, and fruity playlists… but the pups, furries, nudists, and uninhibited PDA may throw them for a loop.

Let them advance at their own pace. They’re more afraid of you than you are of them.

6. The Free Swag Collector

A smiling woman holds her hands above her head, carrying a large assortment of rainbow colored shopping bags.

The Capital One paper fans. The Absolut Vodka whistles. The spin-to-win rainbow pens from Smart Water. Let’s be real –– most Pride events would not exist without corporate sponsors or vendors and sometimes, you really need a plastic water bottle from the New York Blood Center.

But the Free Swag Collector operates on a different level. The vendor village is their Monopoly game board and they will pass “Go” three times for that complimentary Red Bull. Honestly, power to them.

7. The Straight Boyfriend

“Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love” – @Lin_Manuel #NOH8 #LoveIsLove

— NOH8 Campaign (@NOH8Campaign) January 3, 2021

He was dragged here by his GF and her gay friends. He doesn’t “swing that way” but bobs his head when “You Need to Calm Down” by Taylor Swift comes on. He’s not recording the parade, he’s just checking stocks on his phone. And he definitely doesn’t know the difference between “drag queen” and Drag Race.

But when he buys piña-coladas-in-a-bag for the crew because he works in finance? Shantay, you stay.

8. The Haters

Billy Porter, wearing a red dress, walks in front of a crowd of angry anti-LGBTQ+ protestors while Taylor Swift and her friends tan in lounge chairs in a scene from the "You Need to Calm Down" music video.

It doesn’t matter how liberal your city is. If there’s one group that’s not invited to the party, it’s anti-LGBTQ+ protestors… but that won’t stop them from showing up. You’re likely to escape their sad signs and outdated chants at any ticketed Pride event, and their presence at free festivals is typically minimal (and usually elicits justified jeers from the queer community).

As long as you’re safe, try to ignore it… or take inspiration from Hacks star Johnny Sibilly and vogue in front of them. Just don’t let them rain on your parade.

9. The Kink Masters

A man dressed in full leather gear smiles and holds a whip at an outdoor Pride festival.

No matter which side of the annual “kink at Pride” discourse you fall on, get comfortable with the fact that you’ll likely see people who practice some sexual sh*t that you may (or may not) be into.

From pups in collars, to floggers, leather daddies, and fetishes that Urban Dictionary has yet to uncover, most Pride events welcome all. But don’t worry, none of these kinky kings are going to spank you –– unless you verbally ask them first.

10. The Kissing Bandit

A naked muscular man smirks while holding a "Free Kisses" cardboard sign that blocks his extremities.

They could have a “Free Kisses” sign, or be conspicuous. Perhaps they’re dressed like a bank robber… or simply sporting Daisy Duke cutoffs. One thing is for certain: the Kissing Bandit is on a mission to kiss as many consenting cuties at Pride as possible, powered by sunshine, queer vibes, and White Claw Surges.

So, don’t be surprised if you witness a drive-by smooching… and they don’t stop to exchange insurance info.

11. The Nearly Naked

A man wearing a backpack and a revealing jockstrap is pictured from the back, waving at attendees at an outdoor Pride festival.

If you thought gays dressed slutty for Halloween, just wait until you see them on home turf. From a**less chaps to floss-like jockstraps, there’s always someone Nearly Naked who will have you questioning what qualifies as clothes –– or a bandana.

We’re here for all kinds of self expression… but double check the seat if you’re taking their spot on the subway. 🙈

12. The Upper Class

Two men smile and wave from a balcony while holding a Pride flag.

No, we’re not talking about the big spenders. In the hustle and bustle of a packed Pride parade or party, there’s always one class above the rest –– literally.

They look down upon us as they watch from spacious balconies, roomy rooftops, or comfortable car hoods. They wave at passerby and dance, showing off handmade signs or decadent Pride flags. The only thing separating them from the masses is elevation (and easy access to AC).

13. The Life of the Party

Actress Indya Moore, in a sparkly dress and rainbow Grand Marshal sash, dances on top of a car at the 2019 New York Pride Parade.

There’s no “main character” at Pride, but if we had to choose, it’d be this person. You’ll find The Life of the Party twerking atop a car, in the center of an impromptu dance circle, or leading a chant like they’re possessed by the Holy Ghost of Madonna.

They may not be an actual celeb (like Indya Moore, pictured above), but on Pride they are, honored by a starring role in the entire crowd’s Instagram Stories.

14. The Old Queens

Jerome, an older gay man in a bathrobe and ascot, waves while holding a vape in a scene from animated series 'Big Mouth.'

For the record, we use this term endearingly!

For every Zillennial partying like Pride has always been this way, there’s someone in the LGBTQ+ community who remembers when it wasn’t. You can spot them wearing Golden Girls merchandise, conducting Liza Minnelli singalongs, or sipping dirty martinis from a flask (a concoction perfected from years of practice).

Chat them up or flash a smile, but whatever you do, don’t f*cking call them your “elders.”

15. The Perfect Fam

Two men smile and hold a Pride flag behind their son, who happily looks on while holding  a smaller flag.

No, we’re not just talking about Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka, and their kids (but if Pride float appearances were Infinity Stones, they could destroy Thanos, easy).

The Perfect Fam at Pride could look any number of ways: kids with their dads or moms; bright-eyed, new couples; single parents; or chosen families celebrating the queerness that brought them together. Let them remind you that this is what previous generations of LGBTQ+ people fought for.

But if they cut you in line for street tacos? Don’t be afraid to give them a piece of your mind.

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