The argument against kink in public seems to be, to my understanding, that any kinky act is has some inherent sexual component or motivation, and therefore kink in public is equivalent to sex in public, and therefore indecent. Wearing a puppy mask or a collar in public is done for sexual reasons, so its indecent.

And my question to them is: where do you draw the line?

If we agree that non-sex acts that have some kind of sexual component or motivation are indecent and should not be allowed in public, where do we draw the line? Should kissing be illegal, or maybe only kissing with tongue? Should revealing bikinis and thongs be illegal? Clothing that has sexual innuendos on it? Should grabbing your partner’s ass be illegal in public? Should it be illegal for anyone to wear a dog collar, because it might be sexual? How can you tell if someone is doing something or wearing something because they are getting off on it, rather than doing it for other reasons?

What’s most likely to happen is that the things that will be considered too indecent for public are the things that are considered non-standard sexuality. If enough people in your area view a gay couple holding hands, or an androgynous person existing, as sexual in nature, then it’s indecent and shouldn’t be allowed in public. Its entirely based on what the culture around you views as inherently sexual. If a straight couple is making out on a park bench, there is likely some sexual component or motivation to that act- do I have grounds to consider that indecent and sexually explicit? Why not? Because the people in my neighborhood don’t find that especially jarring? Why shouldn’t they be criticized for their sexually motivated public act? The people who are going to be targeted are going to be people who are already seen as abnormally, overly-sexual dangers to children. “Normal” sexuality is allowed to exist in public without being seen as notably sexual, but any display of “abnormal” sexuality is seen as overt and dangerous.

And that is why this is about queerphobia, too. You can’t argue that the system of what is indecent exposure in public should be based off of what people consider inherently sexual, and then act like that will never ever be used against queer people- when a central part of queerphobia has always been that queer people are inherently sexual, and sexually perverted, and that any display of gayness or transness in public is inherently sexual. Basing laws off of what makes people uncomfortable is always going to allow prejudice to rule. That is why kinky people and queer people have an intertwined history; we were all sex freaks in the eyes of the law, and in many places, we still are.

This is why I feel the much better way of judging such things is: Are people actively engaging in a sex act (as in, they are having sexual intercourse)? Are genitals exposed? Are bodily fluids being left in public where they pose a health hazard? Is it causing genuine disruption to other people’s lives?