At six-foot-seven with a full beard and husky physique, Devin is a bear of a man. But, when asked what kind of kinky pleasure in which he prefers to participate, his preference is loud and clear.
“I’m a Pig.”
Ford Lauderdale is home to Ramrod, one of America’s kinkiest clubs, made famous for its monthly Pig dances, where fetishes fly and leather is everywhere. Now the iconic hot spot will be a major part of Pig Week, Nov. 28 through Dec. 6, with events of every kind scheduled all over South Florida.
Just exactly how a group of gay men came to self-identify as “pigs” is less complicated than you’d expect.
“It’s from the ‘60’s women’s rights movement,” according to Devin, who has been an active participant in “pig” activities for many years. “All men are pigs! That’s what women were shouting while they protested, so that’s what we decided to call ourselves.”
By the AIDS crisis in the early 80’s, many gay men were ashamed of their sexuality. Shaming is how “bears” became a group of their own.
It took decades, but by the turn of the century, gay men began reclaiming their sexuality without guilt or shame, doing whatever they enjoyed with whomever captured their interest. As Devin put it, “Everyone’s just trying to find a place to fit in. The idea was being able to do whatever you want, dress the way you want, embrace your fetishes and live your fantasies, regardless if other people find such activities offensive.”
But bears weren’t every gay man’s preference, so new groups self-segregated and “pigs” quickly became the hot new fetish group. With the opening of Ramrod in 1994, defining itself as a “Levi, Leather and Uniform” bar, the “pig” theme became a more prominent part of the bar’s event schedule, including the monthly “Pig Dance” which attracts “pigs” from all over the world.
Wilton Manors beat out San Francisco, New York and New Orleans to host this year’s Pig Week, which will be full of play/sex parties, lots of leather and special events at Slammers, Leather Werks and even at private homes. The leather masked ball will take place the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Devin has been going to these types of events for years, so he knows what to expect. “Everything is based around play parties. That’s where people express themselves and own their fetishes, even developing their own phrases and names for their activities.”
For those who are new to the “pig” scene, Devin has this advice.
“It’s a journey. When someone comes up and grabs our crotch, that’s just saying hello! It’s not perceived as inappropriate or a non-consensual act; but consent is fluid and situational.”
Devin says there are other issues for participants to consider. The South Florida gay community is paying less attention to safe sex due to the availability of PreP, so they’re less concerned about condoms now than they were a few years ago. Many younger gay men feel the same way.
“I can’t tell you what to do with your body, but I also have to face the consequences,” he said. “It’s a slippery slope when people start preaching about what you ‘should’ do.”
One group you won’t see much of during Pig Week, according to Devin: women. “Some women have shown up at a Pig Dance in leather, but not at a play party. There are some leather groups that still have a bio male-only policy.”
Sounds like the perfect opening for another “shunned” group to make a new category of their own.
Registration costs $150 for the week. Some events still charge to attend but at a discounted rate for registrants. Visit PigWeek.com.