AUSTRALIA recently held its first ever pageant-style competition for men who engage in puppy play, a night that saw pups and handlers alike vie for the inaugural crown.
Handler Erebus and pup Panther came out on top in the 2017 Australian Pup and Handler Competition (APHC) , after all entrants went through a series of rounds that included show presentation, speech, and talent.
Puppy play is an entirely safe and consensual form of self-expression that sees many in the community don fake dog ears, knee pads, and a tail to role play as puppies for set amount of time, while handlers are those that look after them.
While it can be engaged with in a sexual context, many ‘pup out’ to alleviate existing mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
Australian pup winner pup Panther took to the stage to champion equality within the pup and kink communities.
“I got into pup play from a non-traditional perspective and I’ve adopted many non-traditional leather values,” he said.
“It is clearly evident in our community that gender inequality in the kink community is prevalent, and it’s an issue that’s rarely discussed.
“In my personal experience being in such a positive environment has allowed me to accept my kink side as well as my pup image. Why are we marginalising the marginalised? This is just silly.”
Organiser of the event Taylor Cook said the event was a milestone in the community, and added that this year’s contestants were astounding.
“They are true role models for the community and to represent us in the international pup play scene,” he said.
“They are what we wanted to find.
“To be people to help inspire newcomers to find a safe space to learn to express themselves how they want to and be good advocates to help teach and promote the pup play community to the general public.”
He added that he’s confident the APHC will keep growing and more people will come along to check it out, with plans to create more events and workshops as part of the competition next year.
When it comes to the pup and handler winners, Cook said they’ll both grow and thrive and become even better leaders in the pup play community.
“Our Australian handler this year didn’t originally want to compete, but decided to after he found how much support he had in the community,” he said.
“I think they both won because they embody the spirit of the community, to create safe spaces to express individuality without fear of discrimination or abuse for all genders and sexualities.”
For more information on the inaugural APHC visit: www.aphc.com.au