Since moving to Arizona, I’ve tried to get involved in many communities, including multiple facets of the kink community here in Phoenix. Within the first two weeks, we’d joined three groups, been to a kink carnival and orientation, and a women only play party, not to mention a munch or two. I tried to meet people, to make things work, to fit in.
While we made a few select friends, for the most part, we didn’t fit. There are very few queer identified people out and about to start, and even less in the kink community. In several groups, we’re the only queer identified couple. At the women’s only event, I received a little bit of femme bashing, and Q felt incredibly out of place. And queerness aside, we felt very out of place because we not attach a D/s dynamic to our relationship, and it seems as though almost everyone here is very staunchly identified as top or bottom, Dom(me) or sub, and we don’t. We don’t even identify as switches. While occasionally she’ll call me Mistress during sex, or I’ll call her Sir while all tied up, we don’t play with power much. We’re just kinky, and that doesn’t seem to be an option.
I decided to start a new group here; AlternaKink. For those of us who don’t play within the typical power structure of BDSM, those who are queer or have different gender presentations and don’t feel comfortable in the current spaces, for those who like to laugh while playing, and who are alternative.
And cue the storm of “oh my god, you’re a horrible person, you’re not community oriented, you’re fracturing the community.” Never mind that I specifically noted that I respected the other groups, planned to stay of member of them, and was just trying to create a safe space and additional options. There aren’t even parties every weekend here, none the less a choice of “should we go here, or here.”
Apparently, everytime someone has tried to start another group here, they’ve been shouted down, told that they’re community wreckers, and been sabotaged in a variety of ways. Well, that actually comes after the guilt trip; I had comments, messages and wall posts telling me that the current (and only) public dungeon in Phoenix IS a safe space, is queer friendly, has no problems, and that I should just shut the fuck up (essentially). Then, there where the offers of having my new group meet at and rent space from the current (and only) public dungeon. Why branch out? Stay here, with this dungeon, in the community. Don’t do your own thing. Don’t create a space. Here, come, drink the kool aid.
Please don’t tell me a space is safe if I don’t feel safe there. If I, who am stubborn and annoying and go out of my way to meet people, feel uncomfortable, judged, and unwelcome, don’t tell me that is invalid. If when I suggest going to a play party, my partner tells me she does not feel comfortable going there, do not tell me that I’m just “making things up” or “haven’t tried.”
Communities thrive when there are lots of branches of the same tree. In this anaology, the tree is kink. If there is only one big branch weighing down the whole tree (said public dungeon), nothing new grows, nothing thrives, and eventually, the tree falls over and dies. If there are lots of groups, that create new opportunities and spaces (both physical and conceptual), their is constant growth, and the tree continues to grow and thrive over time. New buds come (new members joining the community), old buds bloom, and everything is well and good. I can be a member of and support a community by creating a new place for people who feel they don’t fit in the old one.
Sometimes I meet people who have been to one kink event, and hated it. They don’t want to go back because they don’t identify as D/s, or as part of a leather family, or because they got stared at for having full sleeves, or short hair cuts, or for appearing gender queer. Instead of just telling these people (myself included) to fuck off and kick them to the curb, why not create a new space in the community, and welcome them with open arms. While they may not be on the same main branch of the tree, they are at least IN the community, instead of feeling like outsiders.
I know, I’ve set myself up for a lot of crap coming my way. Yes, it’ll be a struggle. But our first coffee/tea meet up is tomorrow, and I have hope.
Why? Because I WANT to be part of this community. I don’t want to feel like I don’t fit in. I want to grow and change and have fun and play and light people on fire and beat them up, and hope is what makes change happen.9 comments