Wednesday, June 28, 2017

We Are Not Unsafe

I hate this kind of rhetoric:

"Kink is not a sexual orientation. It is simply how someone enjoys having sex, not about who they participate in it with. Comparing kink to being gay minimizes being gay down to only having sex when it is so much more than that. People have not been fighting over the past few decades to only have sex with whatever gender they want. There is no need to fight about that because that could be done in secret. It is about love. It is about being able to express that love in public without criticism: holding hands, going on dates, marriage, just the simplest forms of loving one another. It is not about how a couple has sex." 

While I am not equating the LGBT experience with the kink experience--they are not the same, not historically or socially or psychically--there are similarities and crossover.

Kinksters, throughout history, have been stigmatized and diagnosed as psychiatrically sick because of who we are. I don't know any kinkster who didn't grow up being raised to think there was something deeply wrong with them. We've been shunned from all kinds of spaces, from religious spaces to medical spaces, from queer spaces to feminism, to being denied housing and employment. Thanks to doxxing, our lives get turned upside-down, from having our jobs, our homes, our kids, our friends and families taken away from us because someone found out what we do and who we are. And not "due to inappropriate behavior" but because someone found out something personal about us and decided it was okay to shame and punish us for things we should never be shamed or punished for. And thanks to that shame we're less likely to seek outside help when we do experience problems, like abuse or injury, from cops, shrinks, doctors, or even loved ones, because society is convinced--and often convinces us--that, because of who we are and what we do, we deserve all ills that we get.

And our love is CONSTANTLY being reduced to nothing more than how we have sex. Never mind the complex and valid social structures and emotional connections that are unique to kinksters. Never mind the added amount of care and communication we share that is required of our kind of love. To too many people, we are nothing but a series of inappropriate acts and toys.

We're constantly being misrepresented in society. Being portrayed as nothing more than monsters and victims or punchlines. Even the times when we're portrayed in the positive, more often than not, it's in a titillating and inaccurate way that glorifies the aspects of us that the world sees as strange and glosses over the humanity the world views as less entertaining and certainly less profitable. We're treated as circus acts or zoo exhibits or mythological beings, which sounds exotic and fun until you realize that we'd rather seen as people, with real lives and real partners.

And then there's the claim that we make spaces unsafe.

Uncomfortable? Sure.

Complicated? Absolutely.

I will be the first to admit that our open and unashamed presence in polite society--our desire to not be shoved into bedrooms and closets--is cause for a lot of awkward conversation.

But, like I said, we kinksters LOVE us some in-depth communication and comprehensive education.

And thank goodness we do.

We've been instrumental in changing and re-shaping the language of consent in our culture. We've open doors to talking about sexuality--for women, men, and people of all genders--in a way no other community has. We've been advocates for the fight for better sexual education and healthcare and welfare for people who don't fit the norm, from the LGBTQ+ community to sex workers.

We've made sex and love and relationships better for countless people. We've made sex and love and relationships safer and less taboo for countless people.

What we do and who we are may make you uncomfortable, but the last thing we've done is make you less safe.

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