In reply to my previous post, Eileen left some prodding comments. (I love it when she prods me.)

How can we make the spaces for everyone wider? CV is doing a fantastic job of it; what else can be done?

CV succeeded in creating a space that does not feel fragmented because there was more than just tolerance and acceptance, there was invitation and inclusion. At the same time as we celebrate diversity and showcase our differences, we are also welcoming.

It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. Communities can learn a lot from that mantra. Everywhere else I look I see groups built upon expectations instead of invitations. Their party line is, “Come here if you are interested in BDSM and you are gay.” The “Join us if” mentality is exclusionary, an odd thing for a marginalized community to be based on, I think. The end result of such things is the current state of the sexuality communities: fractured and divided and so utterly, utterly siloed.

Instead, why not just say, “Join us.” No qualifiers, there’s no need. Rules of civility and organization operations are no hindrances to this sort of thing. And of course, don’t just say it. Do it!

Dom Sub Friends (aka DSF) has what is probably their view of a very inviting tagline: The Friendly BDSM Society. But go to a meeting and you’ll be greeted by the most adamantly heterosexual, maledom/femsub group you’re likely to meet in New York City. They may be friendly, but they are anything but inviting if who you are is someone like me. On the other hand, they are probably a great find for people who are looking for that sort of thing. (In which case I recommend them—they’ve never been anything but friendly to me.)

Naturally, communities will organize around their own cultures, and what they determine as criteria for valuing BDSM activity is not mine. It makes sense, then, that I would not find this group inviting. It also begs the question: would they find my culture inviting? Maybe not. (As a side-note, this is why I am very much not worried about people who may pose a threat to CV taking over the population of the group. They simply have better places to go than our little oasis. To quote our current president of vice, we’re really pretty boring if you’re not actually interested in learning about BDSM with an open mind.)

Therein lies my point, however. They don’t need to find my culture inviting, they already have one. I, on the other hand, don’t. There are no erotic art shows I know of that display imagery such as that in Van Darkholme’s Male Bondage photography book. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know of any other books that do such a thing.

Should we start making our own porn? Should I take photos of you? Should we pitch a fit over spaces, or work to make the spaces different, or leave the spaces altogether? And then, will what you’re working to make and what already exists ever have significant cross over?

I don’t know. I hope there will be crossover, because even though I don’t feel welcome in their community I certainly appreciate their presence as a community. Sexual rights are important for everyone. Their presence strengthens my own stance, as mine strengthens theirs. It is not impossible to stand together and still be different, but it is impossible for me to stand with them when I can not call anything of theirs my own and when there is nothing else for me to claim for myself.

Maybe they don’t even want anything to do with me, but I guarantee that I’m a voice they’d be better off having on their side, especially with the recent climate of sexual oppression and misunderstanding growing stronger every day. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: for some reason, sex and education seem to be the two topics that otherwise smart people consistently behave very stupidly about.

I don’t want to go to the same parties as these other people do. Neither of us would have a good time. My griping isn’t because they have a community, it’s because mine is practically non-existant. What’s sprung up in the past couple of years is truly extraordinary, and I am in the unique position among my tiny social circle of being able to remember what it was like before. I want to cultivate it, and make it grow.

Does that mean making my own porn? I don’t know. I’d be willing to try it. There is no greater equalizer than currency. If selling my brand of sexuality earns it a top spot on people’s radars, why shouldn’t I try for it? That’s what I admire about Tristan Taormino. It’s too bad she’s not a submissive guy. But then if she were a submissive guy, like I am, would her brand of sex sell at all? Would mine?

There is no doubt in my mind that there are other people who have not been lucky enough to find a place where such acceptance and intelligence has coalesced and these people are still looking for it. I hope they keep looking, because I am, and one day we might find each other.

Being loud helps you get noticed. Maybe I am just trying to rouse my little corner into making a little more noise. I feel I have been deafened by the never-ending rhetoric of others that so many people have written about lately.

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