EyeSack

EyeSack's Writing 30M Switch (Englewood, Colorado)

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Kink For All and Censorship: A Free Speech Experience for Sexuality and Kink.

Journal Entry | 63 Comments · 5 Love It |

So, Saturday the 25th marked the date of the Kink for All conference on sexuality, kink and inter-connected topics. The conference is organized and assembled using a “non-hierarchical” group, which by and large means if you see something that needs doing, you can just do it. Ideally, in such a situation, there isn't anyone 'in charge' in so far as there's no one who has final say. Which generally means that the final outcome is very much a product of the input from the collaborative efforts of all involved.

I can't speak too much to the 'back end' of the KFA process as it seems many discussions were had 'off thread' (out of public view) and because I couldn't make the Denver planning meeting, I ended up at the Boulder meeting which included a total of 5 people.

Now, as with any group dynamic, you'll end up with personalities which are louder or more visible than others. It's not uncommon to see a smaller group of people step out of a larger group and become a visible face for an organization. This is the basic structure of how a board can take action for a group and then still remain accountable both as individuals and as a group to the organization at large. Honestly, I tend to be one of these people, so please understand I don't see this as a bad thing. It can be harder for people who are shy, introverted or non-confrontational because it takes a certain amount of social energy to publicly and visibly challenge the status quo within a group. I personally believe that part of the responsibility of being one of the visible people of such a group is to foster positive group dynamics, listen to, encourage and occasionally speak for those who don't want to or aren't able to speak for themselves comfortably. Important to note too, is that natural or self appointed leaders, founders, or anyone who has claim to a role which traditionally has added authority WILL have a voice louder than other participants, their words will carry the weight of social privilege and the (potentially unintended) ring of authority.

With regards to Kink For All, there were over 190 people on the mailing group (some refer to it as a listserv). Without counting post by post, about 30 actually commented publicly. Of those 30 only 10-15 or so did so on a regular basis for more than a week. Of those 10-15 only 2-3 posted regularly over a protracted period(more than a week or two). Obviously the 2-3 voices will be louder than the 10-15 which in turn is louder than the 30 or so which is obviously louder than the publicly silent but privately audible 190. Part of the responsibility of the most visible portions of a non-hierarchical group are to de-emphasize their visibility by sharing the private contributions of others and using their more visible profile as a way of promoting the contributions of others. I was one of those people who was a regular poster to the group for a week or two, until one of the most visible people stated that the workspace of the mailing group wasn't being respected and we needed to slow down on the posts. Obviously, not all groups work the same, and many use totally differing methods of action, planning and operation, but at this point I became a passive observer (more accurately a private participant).

I think that some of the in person aspects of the planning and organization meetings worked REALLY well. The face to face aspects of idea sharing and experience swapping came across beautifully. As someone who doesn't read blogs a lot of the online material and wikis were avenues that became very dense and difficult to get useful information from, but by talking to other people who WERE able to access that information easily, we were able address issues like videotaping and photography in space which at the time were going to be shared with a victim/survivor based organization. Also we were able to address (though not resolve) how better to outreach and communicate with differing with groups. Additionally, I was glad to see some of the communication failures and prejudicial statements mentioned even if they weren't resolved. On the whole, I vastly preferred the face-to-face aspects of communication to the mailing group aspects.

So, on that note, lets address what happened online. This is where shit gets kind of muddy. First up: about 90% of my experience comes from the google group mailing list. I exchanged a couple of facebook messages about KFA(Kink For All), and one or two messages on Fetlife, but that's about it.

I'd been watching the group in typical lurker fashion for a short while, enough that the names of people were beginning to adopt distinct voices in my head (of the literary variety, thankfully). Then a thread was began as an update forum and ended up turning into a vehicle for comparing and judging various classes in what I thought was supposed to be an open forum where people were totally free to present on whatever they though was relevant based on their personal experiences. I'm NOT going to name names out of respect for the FetLife TOS. The thread is public access though, and worth skimming.

It started off as just a simple voicing (by particularly vocal elements) of "oh I want to see THIS presentation" and "I'm not interested in THAT presentation", which is fair enough. We all have our preferences. But it shifted. It seemed to me to start becoming about what Kink For All was about, and NOT about. When the phrase "[this] sounds far too BDSM-centric and, to my mind, boring at a KinkForAll" was posted my ears perked up because it seemed to me that there was shift in conversation happening which was exclusionary and reeked of the worst aspects of gate keeping. The conversation continued to a small degree suggesting ways that the person could/should edit their topics to make it more... palatable (my word).

There was a semantic argument made to separate kink and BDSM, to which I do think there is some merit. Not all kink is BDSM related, though I DO think that BDSM exists primarily with the realm of all things kink. Frankly BDSM as an acronym covers a LOT of ground, as does kink. Not all things kinky are BDSM related, and not all things BDSM related are explicitly kinky but by and large, BDSM exists as a significant aspect of kink. At least to my mind and use of the language.

To return to the topic, the discussion expanded to other topics which were deemed as boring, inappropriate or redundant at Kink For All including one of the potential ideas I'd had about how gate keeping resources such as educational materials like SM101, The Loving Dominant, The Topping Book, the Bottoming book, Slavecraft, and others serve to reinforce the normative het male dominant/female submissive dynamic and subtly (and probably unintentionally) encourage people to engage in this structure regardless of their personal kink and desired expressions. However, I'd chosen the title to be somewhat subversive so it sounded in line with the viewpoint that these materials encourage, which the event/series founder took offense to, and began to criticize. Another scene member who was aware of my intent spoke up and explained my position at which point I decided to begin participating actively.

Additionally another list participant then proceeded to pigeon hole myself and a few others as "BDSM'ers" which from a linguistic perspective I feel dumps us into this BDSM related ghetto of irrelevance and invisibility as well as inaccessablity. Especially when followed up with the statement that "KFADEN didn't come out of the BDSM scene - mainstream or otherwise, isn't being unorganized by BDSM'ers, and isn't even being actively "advertised" to the BDSM community." Particularly given that there were nearly half a dozen of us “BDSM'ers” signed up on the list as unorganizers, financial backers, and willing/eager/able to share materials to make this conference happen.

Things proceeded to go downhill from there. I'm not going to rehash it all. I'm tired of it all. Read the group, read the threads, make up your own mind.

The First Thread
The Second Thread
Another Thread, mostly about the density of the wiki and the breakdown in communication and language

Blah blah blah. Fast forward, KFA is promoted at Spanktrum. Fast forward more, KFA is promoted at Matriarchy. KFA organizers/founder shit on the RACK for not supporting male submission, reinforcing male gaze, and a whole bunch more stuff besides. Conversations/thread continue up until about this point chronologically speaking. People are emailed privately and discouraged from presenting on the topics they wanted.

At this point I'm pissed at what I see as blatant prejudice against the so-called BDSM community and simultaneous exploitation of BDSM-related spaces. I say so called, because in Denver(not the case in other places) the BDSM community is actually made of of an intersection of the gay, queer, trans, bi, straight, et all sub-communities where the segments of each which have an interest in power exchange, kinky-fun-sexy time, leather lifestyles and everything in between come together to share spaces (both social and physical). I think Denver is the only city where I've felt comfortable going to a charity event at a dungeon, making out with a guy, playing with a woman, talking about M/s vs D/s vs fluid PE relationships, talking to a newly identified Switch about how to not feel invisible, talking to a young man who was in the process of coming out bi, and had the ABDL experience explained to me ALL IN THE SAME NIGHT! Oh, and ended up at a leather bar later that night.

So all of these people, all of these experiences are invalid because the people who had them have an association with BDSM culture??? Fuck that!

So, JeffJizz and I worked together on how to reclaim the voices of all of the people who were discouraged from going because of this attitude of discrimination. We decided to use a form of aggressive yet non-violent protest using the words of those who expressed this prejudice as a slide show based presentation. We decided we would stand in solidarity with the silenced people who felt the space would be too hostile for them. We used duct tape over our mouths to symbolize the ghettoization and censorship that happened in a way that keeps attendees from seeing what was going on "behind the scenes". By using quotes lifted and paraphrased from the mailing group to expose the attitudes and expose people to the hostility that drove others away.

I'll be honest. Maybe it's conditioning from Occupy, or the exposure I've had to violence from authority lately, but I expected a hostile response. I expected to have to face off and listen to taunts. Aside from being accused from the hallway for engaging in high school drama, the response was OVERWHELMINGLY positive.

I get to the venue around 10, just in time to book it upstairs and claim a class slot. (Big THANK YOU to the person who donated their presentation space to me) Set my bag down, deliver a few hugs and breeze into the opening comms. I decide to identify as Isaac a Queer-Leather-Dandy (appropriate, given my red Docs with star of david lacing, royal blue military overcoat with red officer's braiding, and my blue wool cap with matching red braid) and throw my name on my tag alongside my email address. I listen to and chime in on a pair of classes, before the slot I signed up for comes up. The class starts with about 15-20 people in the audience. There were a few people in the back, videoing us, snagging photos of us, and recording the 'presentation'.

The first slide goes up.

Silence is Golden: a Quiet Approach to Free Speech About Sexuality:

Protecting the voices and right to expression of all kinksters regardless of identity or personal kinks.

People who know me or know Jeff and I have been whispering realize at this point whats about to happen. An audience member asks if they can join me, seeing that I tore off strips for more than just me. I nod.

The second slide goes up.

"We believe in the basic idea of Kink For All, with emphasis on the “All”. We believe that the censorship and aggression that is invisible to the end user (you) is unacceptable and not in accord with the spirit of the event, and wish to change that for future events. We hope that Denver will have more sexuality conferences, and that they'll be inclusive of ALL communities and people wishing to engage in discussions about sexuality."

The third:

"The slides contained here in are all copies of messages from that same group, presented for your awareness.
The QR codes are free links to the google mailing group, please, feel free to follow them and read the discussions for yourselves. No sign in needed. We will remain silent during this presentation in solidarity with those who were discouraged from speaking today. You are invited to come up and join us."

When the fourth slide goes up with an opening quote from an organizer talking about how any BDSM traditionalist who comes can expect to be made unwelcome by him, Jeff walks in with purpose and determination. He comes up and there are already people who've stood from the audience. His entry draws people from the hallway, wondering why he was headed directly there, and what's going on.

People pace outside in the hallway, we stand silently, slides change. By the end of the presentation, about 2/3's of the class is standing, some who are sitting have tape on their mouths too. The classes are 20 minutes long. 20 minutes of silence. It's hard to sit through. It's hard to watch. It was worth it. I'm proud that such a diverse group stood with us; people from within the community, people from outside the community, people who organized the event, people who believed in the event, and even people who had NO exposure to BDSM culture at large.

The reporter from the Westword asks a few questions of both Jeff and me, as well as people who chose to stand with us. They ask questions of the organizers too, and ask if the statements and criticisms are valid. A student from the group who sponsored the event so it wouldn't have to pay the 400$ rental fee (the Metro Feminist Alliance) proposed questions to people who participated. I heard some amazing dialogue start between people who watched what happened, and people who participated. I heard people share their stories and connect.

At one point the organizer/founder approached me while I was having a conversation with someone, and introduced himself, again. He was friendly enough, and we were cordial even if there was a certain awkward stilted factor to it. Pleasantries aside he asked if he could pull me aside for a private interview on my motivations and experience. Unfortunately, I'd seen his treatment of the RACK Room and Matriarchy parties, and told him that I'd be happy to converse with him, but only in a public "space", such as framing it within a 20-minute presentation, or on the google groups. After a non-committal response which I interpreted as a negative we went our own ways.

After heading out for lunch we came back to network with a number of people and touch bases with those who'd stood, run cameras and generally share discussions. After leaving late in the afternoon, I had a ton of fun running around Cheeseman later that evening, and feeling wired decided to cap the day with Gateway and a munch. Sunday I crashed hard. I think I slept until 11 and woke for about hour before going back to bed until 8. After much phone call alarm action from a friend with whom I planned on going to the Damn Gurl fundraiser for KFA, I woke up late and ready to go... We hit the party with a gusto, though it was at X instead of GLOB, it's usual venue and seemed unusually quiet. It turns out someone who's partner I'd played with in the past works at X and ended up reconnecting with him and his boyfriend rather serendipitously. I had some misconceptions about X which were undone that night, and ended up having a rather good time.

I got into a GREAT discussion with the photographer who shared their photos of the slideshow (they're public access), and taught me that the tactics we decided to use were called ethno-methodology as the sociological jargon was something I found to be impenetrable. They challenged me on some of the points the slideshow raised, but acknowledged that the purpose was to make a point, and agreed that it was done successfully, and that helped me to feel much more at ease about it all, as my aim was to change the discussion for next time, and make the event much more inclusive on the front and back ends. I was also able to talk to the event planner for the SF KFA, and was able to voice my opinions about what things went wrong, what things were done right, how to avoid the pitfalls for the future and how to address community needs while being true to personal values and principles. Another great conversation, though one I wish I could have engaged with more.

I will say that being at X made me realize something that I'd missed on Saturday. I don't think there was any participation from any of the gay or male-centric circles I run in. It's possible I missed people, as I was focused on both accomplishing a goal, and then taking care of aftermath, but in retrospect I think that demographic was sadly under represented. Some valid points were raised on the nature of the outreach and the quality of the penetration into other subcultures were raised in Jeff's photos.

In conclusion, I want to:

  • support the idea of a sexuality conference
  • help make another one happen
  • see less discrimination
  • there to be less pressure to present 'acceptable' topics and see what people WANT to present
  • contribute personally and enthusiastically
  • see accountability for one's voice happen
  • see the breakdown of the social barriers between sub-cultures continue
  • watch people engage actively

Expect this story to continue, I know Jeff is planning on posting at some point about his take on it. My understanding is that there's likely to be a story in the Westword Blog. I'm SURE that the founder will have PLENTY to say on his blog too. The google groups though much less active are still up, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them pick back up at some point. I encourage you to participate however you're comfortable, you DO have a voice, and there are people who welcome it, who support it, and who listen to it.

Finally for now, the presentation is being freely distributed. If you'd like a copy, don't hesitate to ask. I think it's also visible on the video of the presentation/protest itself, too, which will be posted as soon as it's available.

63 Comments (leave comment)

There has to be a group here on fetlife where this would be appropriate, it sounds like a topic I would like to hear discussed.

As a side hobby, I enjoy watching the trials and tribulations of kink groups, and I think if more people were aware of common issues, they could be more easily be avoided.

@Savageworld I'm sure there are, but at this point I'm more concerned with effecting change and growth than ruffling feathers. I believe the Denver community has a decent degree of visibility of what happened, and the evangelistic aspects have taken off much faster and further than I'd imagined. I really believe that what happened will be corrected locally and relatively internally as drama like this tends to be self correcting once someone actually starts the process by kicking the hornet's nest.

@crookedglasses thanks for the feedback. It's good to know I live in the real world. Or that you and I share some artificial reality, which is a scary line of speculation. :P I think the experience is universal as people were and should be excited about the idea of sharing passions. Most of us who were there had positive experiences and are focused on making things even more positive through acceptance, open sharing and increasing the visibility of the under represented.

Fundamentally speaking, one of the things I REALLY don't understand is why sex positivity means BDSM negativity. Maybe I want to be able to talk to people who view intimacy in ways that mirror my own as WELL as see how intimacy can be structured differently. That one reason I don't get points of view like the one espoused by this KFA attendee.

I describe myself as a moderate, and in most situations I am, but when I hear the BDSM community talk about feeling unwelcomed at KinkForAll, and after speaking with some members of Denver’s BDSM community, all I can say is “good.”

Lol oh look another star fucker. Just read her blog and you can see whose blog whoring dick is up her ass. Blog culture is dumb and full of sheep.

I still don't understand how any sexuality conference can alienate people who identify as BDSM-oriented. There are some pretty brilliant conversations we can have between the intersections of race, gender, orientation, spirituality, and BDSM...among probably a dozen other topics I could list off the top of my head. I still just...don't get it.

@Jeffjizz Ok, well, maybe some of us were mad. :P

But hey, everyone else, guess what's online now with sharing action!?! The Slideshow. I feel like there should be an of DOOM appended here.

I am not mad, I just find it funny and pathetic they have to invent our intentions so they can spin and save face. They wave that privilege card around quite a bit without actually getting to know anyone. It has nothing to do with coming to an understanding because they need a scapegoat for their agenda. It is my firm belief that Kinkforall was started as a personal fuck you to the bdsm community, and the very fact they come to denver and find that BDSMers are the ones getting behind this idea does not fit into that agenda one bit. Funny how she says we should be the ones organizing rather than protesting when BDSM ers were the ones organizing and donating money. Everytime they open their mouths and bash hs it poisons the image of kinkforall more, which is sad because a lot of people love the idea. Personally I would ratger see something more organic in Denver. I am tired of out of towners coming in and setting up shop while simultaniously shitting on the locals. We do need the unconference idea and we need more of these. I do not necessarily think it needs to be called kinkforall.

@JeffJizz

I am tired of out of towners coming in and setting up shop while simultaniouosly shitting on the locals.

+1

And I am personally tired of us spending - sometimes rather large sums - of local money to bring in out of towners just to teach or do things our local talent could teach. And I am especially tired of not seeing local names on the presentation roisters of conferences and conventions which are dependent on local support for success.

I heard about this from Sable, and am proud of you for figuring out a way of protesting the issues within the conference within the structure of the conference.

Back in 2008, I had wanted to try a KFA Denver, but got no interest from either the sex pos or kink (BDSM in this context) communities. I was so excited last fall when I heard about the plans...but quickly felt very alienated and as if this was not an event I was welcome at. I'm glad you stood up for our awesome and welcoming (at least in my queer and my genderqueer partner's experiences) community.

And as a side note, I agree with Sable about the costs for importing talent...but that might just be cause as a local yet nationally known educator, I am bitter about consistantly being rejected by Thunder for presenting....

I'm supposedly the Vice President of Feminist Alliance and had basically no say on whether the event would be put on by us or not. Actually three quarters of us said we didn't want to sponsor it due to its founder and others being so divisive. I am interested to know what said student (our pres) said.

@pandagenma if the pres is who I thought it was (I cannot name because of Fet TOS), interestingly enough I so not think I saw her there. I think I would have spotted her and remembered...

Ok, since no one else said it guess I will...
"Lol oh look another star fucker. Just read her blog and you can see whose blog whoring dick is up her ass. Blog culture is dumb and full of sheep."

Really Jeff? Really? You're a "Femdom video producer" and you don't even have the good sense to swap the gender roles around when you try to debase my opinions based on the sex I have?

Has nothing to do about gender or sex. I never said because you are female. Your voice is just an extension of Maymays at this point and you are part of the problem. You can lump us all in together as privileged BDSMers and generalize all day long. It looks good for your blog, I get it. But before you twist my words around into a meaning which they are not intended (like maymay does), consider tge fact that you are judging the whole of our community based on one aspect ee share, our sexuality. Beyond that we are feminists, queers, trans, anarchist and even Republicans. So while it works for yoy to jump on the band wagon of smearing our community, you are nothing more than a pot calling the kettle black. So I hope San Francisco is ready for more of the same as you prepare the next kinkforall out there.

If I spoke too harshly, imagine how the locals feel with your exploitation of kinkforall as a platform to run a sex negative campaign against an entire community you are not even a local member of.

Jeff, you're using "whore" as a slur and attacking my sexual taste not my words. Thanks for proving my point.

No I am using the word whore to attack the tactic of whoring out your own blog. I have no clue what your sexual taste even is. You are bringing a lot of hetero normative assumptions about gender and sexuality to the table with your accusations and at this point you and your counterpart are grasping at straws to change the direction of the conversation. The fact is you are linking to each others blogs and smearing our community with your own assumptions and painting an inaccurate picture of our community which you do not even care to learn about, rather you are more concerned with keeping on Maymay's good list and using his tactics. How about we stay the topic of how in your own words our community can fuck off. Lets use that as a starting point. Or you can continue to twist the entire context of this conversation in a new blog post and prove my point further.

hmm you know what?.You may be right. I mispoke, you are a pimp and your blog is the whore. Does that make you feel better? Either way there is an ulterior motive of ego boosting natcissism that has been going on the last few weeks and I will not let you or Maymay or anyone else use of people's sexuality as a scapegoat for your personal agendas go unnoticed. Not in my town anyways. We have worked to hard to create the inclusive atmosphere we have here and you are shitting all over it.

Wow. What an incredible waste of time. It seems like the organizers wanted to have a space that talked about being kinky without being BDSMy. Nothing wrong with that, but I'd think it would be easier to simply state that as a goal than to ostracize the whole community. I think Sozz is correct in that they're just looking to generate traffic. It's a shame that they took the "Fox News" approach.

And when they got called on it, instead of fessing up, they doubled down. Probably learned that from Fox News as well.

@drewski: the maymay from Portland, and founder of KinkForAll identifies as male. I believe there is a person in the Colorado scene who identies as maemae (or some other spelling I am sure of) who I am under the impression identies as female.

Sigh.

@sable_twilight:

the maymay from Portland, and founder of KinkForAll

I'm not from Portland. I was born and raised in New York City. Moreover, I don't have a permanent address right now. Please get your facts right.

Also, if you and the others on this thread are going to continue to talk about me under the misguided belief that I can't actually "hear" you in this thread and others (including threads this account of mine is blocked from viewing by people like Jeff, FetLife isn't exactly private, you know, don't you?) you may want to consider finding a new source of information about me other than Jeff, Isaac, and Saskia as they are obviously rather poor sources for facts about me. Otherwise you're just making yourselves look like you don't know me at all, which isn't helping any of us.

Cheers,
-maymay

P.S. If you want to actually engage with me instead of about me on this, here's an invitation to cofee along with my contact details.

@maymay - Your behavior is visible to everyone. They do not need any of us as a source. This is why we included links to the actual discussion that lead to the slideshow. This is not a smear campaign against you. You smeared yourself by shitting on everyone. I really do not know what the big deal is actually. Since you obviously have a history of this type of behavior, I think you take great enjoyment out of the negative attention you are receiving for your actions...which is why you keep trying to provoke. How many bridges are you gonna burn in Denver dude?

What is really funny is that you are marketing this class for us by making such a big deal about it. Thanks for getting the word out btw ;)

I do love how you engaged WITH us rather than ABOUT us when you were at The RACK Room taking notes on a private party you were guested into for free, maymay. Oh wait. You didn't. You were a cowardly twat who came in with an agenda of trashing us in your blog. For someone who's so big on dialogue with people in person, you sure can talk a lot of shit everywhere BUT in person.

I want to address somethng that I saw in other places, I did BDSM 101 because I thought it would be useful, It was very spur of the moment as I though someone else would do it. I took the other class I was going to do off the board for annother reason then this. I couldn't think of how to even start a discussion of the topic I was going to do in 20 minutes. That said I meant every word I said and I'm proud to have my picture taken along side Jeff and all the rest.

wow @maymay, while I do appreciated being updated with more accurate information, it is still rather entitled of you to think I would have the either the desire or time to research every factiod about you. How is that cis, straight, upper middle class, major coastal urban center, male, 20-something privilege treating you?

@maymay OH MY GAWD! Fetlife isn't private? It's a good thing I don't have photos of my face, a screen name that's a transliteration of my real name, pictures on here with name tags advertising my real name and email address, and links to my profile from google groups (the mailing list), and even my phone number listed in multiple places... Then I'd be hosed. I'd link to sources for all of that, but I'm kind of enjoying a hot bath and a shave.

I mean I guess it kind of slipped by you that I never actually offered myself as an expert or source on you. My post was about MY experience over the weekend. I didn't name drop a single person or relate any bio-data about you. I am not an expert on you. I don't want to be an expert on you. There's a carefully reasoned chain of thought as to why I choose not to read personal blogs and I know that means I'm not ever going to factor in your chosen social groups. I'm ok with that. You should be too.

I understand you're pissed. I get that you're angry. I hate having to own up when I fuck up. But trust me when I tell you it's better to take a step back and listen to the advice a dozen or more people have been giving you and chill out. All you're doing here is shit stirring and raising hell with people who just want to live lives that happen to have amazingly honest elements of sexuality and gender expression. We're OK, and don't need you to save us from ourselves.

@MayMay
Were it not for your words defaming BDSM (traditional or not) I would have presented something on my experiences with being a single bi female in the swinger community & the discrimination of single males (bi or straight) as well. Two subjects completely unrelated to BDSM.
Because of how YOU - the FOUNDER - expressed your PERSONAL distain of BDSM, I did not feel welcome & I was NOT going to support an event (unevent?) that the founder ENCOURAGED a feeling that BDSM topics - traditional or not - were not an acceptable topic for anyone, let alone curious OUTSIDERS.
Or did it not cross your mind that those curious and uneducated of alternate sexualities & relationship styles might attend?

I dont care about your response Maymay, actually I prefer you dont respond at all - I just wanted you to be aware of an opinion of someone who chose not to go and the reason for that being directly related to YOUR actions in the days & weeks prior to the event taking place. Take some responsibility for your actions & accept what you did and the ripple effect it caused. I have no doubt you mean it all with the best of intentions and you are only coming from what you know and understand at this point in your life but, what I see is a young person who has yet to understand that not everyone is like they are. A young person who has yet to understand that sometimes this does work for some people, and whatever that path may take it is their choice to make it.
Your judgment only shames people when this is a community that only wants to be accepted and understood. Like YOU want to be accepted & understood. Instead you shame us and invalidate us. How can you not expect people to do the same to you after youve cut at them.

I wish you the best Maymay I truly do. I hope this event happened so you may learn & understand the world a little better than you do right now. I KNOW that despite your recent actions that you will change & learn as time goes on.

@ Jeff, Eyesack & everyone else who attended & presented on BDSM or on the slideshow - Thank you.
I appreciate it and I look forward to what will be brought into our community because of this snafu. Let us not see this as a "bad" thing but as a "good" thing that made us see what we could do to open ourselves to more to each other & to help educate those within and outside of this community.

I dunno. I'm not the guy's enemy or anything. I mean I don't respect him and think he's worked a lot of harm in the community that I'm actively trying to undo.

Thanks to the STRONG ass bonds between the Denver sub-cultures, I believe we'll find ourselves in a much closer knit community, particularly thanks to individuals who have not participated on this thread. They showed that Denver has a culture where people of different sexual expressions are COMPLETELY WILLING AND EAGER to stand for each other.

So what I think people ought to focus on is improving our lives rather than responding to someone who hates himself. And for that I feel nothing but pity and compassion.

It's because I'm Jesus, now go love my photos.

I've held off from offering my opinion here, but something about the gratuitous and self-serving nature of links to a personal blog made me snap.

To those of you who stood with @EyeSack and @JeffJizz during this protest, I most heartily thank you and recognize you. You prove what is worthy and honorable about our community. I spend quite a bit of my time trying to build bridges between various groups whether they identify as BDSM, leather, fetish or just simply sex-positive. Your actions over the weekend and indeed during these conversations inspire me to keep working to connect us all with the very rich diversity of beliefs and ideas that celebrate and honor human sexuality. You are the people who make the Denver community what it is and I applaud you for standing up for the rest of us.

Because I don't want to take away from the discussion here, I provide a link to further development of my ideas including key phrases like "egotistical posturing", "Social Justice 101", "protecting survivors" not in that specific order. No footnotes, no references to anyone else's personal blog. Just me and my ideas

@EyeSack, I just wanted to take a moment and let you know how much I have truly appreciated your extreme care, thoughtfulness, honesty, intentionality, and overall awesomeness throughout all of these discussions about Kink for All. In the face of personal attacks,

blatant bigotry, and the rest of this shitstorm you have stayed respectful and been an amazing example to the rest of us. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are the queer, leather, dandy of my dreams. ;-)

...

@FireFlying - Amen. He's a great showcase of how to remain polite while still dissenting in opinion, and how to look fabulous while doing it.

@Siren & Shanna dawww, I'm blushing. I appreciate your kind words. They mean a lot. I'll admit that through the most intense aspects of all of this, I've experienced some strong sentiments of self doubt and have had to check myself.

Really though, seeing people reaching out with open hands instead of anger has helped me that we as a city or community are headed in the right direction, and that although we may not look like each other, or experience our individual sexuality like each other we CAN and DO support each other. Each person who has taken an active stance to make that happen deserves the credit. Including each of you.

@Jennberry - this would be a good opportunity for the main unorganizers to own up to their mistakes instead of, as was noted elsewhere, doubling down Fox News-style and compounding insult to injury. There is a wide-eyed hippie in me that hopes that'll happen, but the rest of me is a lot more cynical.

I suspect that the proposed presentation that was blatantly not in keeping with KFADEN was the one I'd proposed on stapling/temporary body mod, indicating I'd need volunteers. Once it was made clear to me (first by the person who'd initially approached me about presenting and a day later by RC, mentioned in the article) that the presentations needed to be verbal and not demos, I removed that offering as quickly as I was able, given the difficulty I had navigating the working site. I hadn't accessed the google group yet and hadn't seen the comments suggesting that it be edited for me.

With every email interaction I had with RC, I'd go back and revise my presentation suggestions a bit more, trying to make them more accessible to people not in the BDSM scene and feeling really discouraged. I was feeling like nothing I had to offer was going to be anything but problematic for the conference overall and was feeling like a dirty old dinosaur. After hearing and reading about other people whose presentation suggestions had been rejected completely, I realized there was a pattern and that I wasn't the only voice being muffled or completely silenced. That, along with the Toxic Wonder's comments about intending to destroy safe space, is what prompted me to dissociate completely from the whole thing.

I still haven't figured out how to get out of the pbworks site. I'm not very savvy about this stuff sometimes.

As a writer, I observed and reported on what I saw and heard, and interviewed all parties to get their opinions on the situation, and wrote the story.

As a private citizen whose been following the situation closely, I will clearly state that I am pretty disgusted by how a great idea got mangled up because Maymay couldn't keep his personal grievances out of his work as an organizer for KFADEN. Rebecca's active complicity in the situation certainly didn't help. My opinion is that Maymay's personal BDSM Batman crusade should be his own business, but he chooses to allow it to influence decisions made and things said on behalf of KFA, and that's problematic, and unfortunate for everyone involved in KFADEN.

And one of the issues with a proletariat-style "un-organization" model is the lack of accountability when things go wrong. Expectations for presentations and presenters were not clearly enough defined in the way that if event organizers wanted a certain amount of BDSM-related content and no more, that needed to be clearly stated up front. Without this, the situation devolved into a loosely defined ad-hoc decision-making structure which let organizers cherry-pick topics to their own tastes.

I think the best thing that could happen now is that Maymay excuse himself from further activity with KFA, so he'll have more time to focus on his personal projects, and leave KFA to other organizers.

I am completely lost. To me, the first steps should have been defining what KFADEN should have been, what the target audience was, and what was to be presented. I can't find any clear exposition of any of that. I see some weirdness about a conference on sexuality that's supposed to not be sexual, and some stuff about people who feel they should be included and some hints that there's stuff that shouldn't be included.

To be fair to the event organizers, I don't even know if it's possible to meet the vision of what I think it was supposed to be - a series of seminars that are totally inclusive of the local scene. Hell, I'm not even sure that there's an accepted definition for the scene. And I'm still not sure if this was intended for vanillas to learn about "those people", for kinksters to learn about other kinks, or for kinksters who have been practicing to get a fresh view on their own practices.

But the way it was done just wasn't right. There should have been a moment when the organizers realized that they were not on the same page with locals and should have paused for a moment to find out why and fix it. Instead, they just sailed ahead.

So the aftermath is that the organizers have a lot of ill will on the part of the Denver kinksters and the community found itself pissed off.

Someone on the google group pointed out that my comparing Maymay's tactics to the work of sex workers was insulting to sex workers. That is a valid point for which I apologized. I issued the following statement on the google group and am reposting it here since this is where it originated.

"I will take one step further and apologize to any sex workers
who read this list who feel that way. [name omitted for FL terms] is 100% correct for calling
me out in that regard. I did not even consider that point and admit my
ignorance to how that would have marginalize others who work in a
profession which my own friends are proud to be a part of.As someone
who works with sex workers, is married to a sex worker, and maybe even
considered a sex worker myself (if you view on camera adult video work
in that category), there is absolutely nothing about adult sex work I
consider shameful. My views about Maymay and his endless self
promotion remain unchanged but there are probably better ways to
express that. "

@DarkSteven - You said

" And I'm still not sure if this was intended for vanillas to learn about "those people", for kinksters to learn about other kinks, or for kinksters who have been practicing to get a fresh view on their own practices."

Ideally all above, and I do believe it is possible to have that approach. That is not saying that there is any guarantee that everyone will be comfortable with what they encounter or experience in a forum of that nature, but it should never be the goal of an organizer to go out of their way to ensure that happens. That is where Kinkforall failed.

One of the organizers has stated that it should be the goal to make everyone uncomfortable. I do not know if this is another spin attempt for PR sake or if they actually feel that way. Either way I disagree 100%. I think it is important to show up with an open mind and be prepared that I may encounter some discomfort when exposed to something, or some philosophical idea which takes me out of my comfort zone, but I should not go into an event like that with the intended goal of making anyone uncomfortable, nor should I be singled out and made to feel uncomfortable for how someone subjectively labels me based on my sexuality or how I express it.

@DarkSteven - I can fully get behind "comfort the afflicted/afflict the comfortable", but the tricky part is arbitrarily deciding who "the comfortable" is and who "the afflicted" is. Not everyone we see as afflicted would name themselves such, and not everyone we see as comfortable really is. The mistake the KFA founder makes is that he decides that for everyone else and doesn't check to see if any of his assumptions are accurate.

^ going up? ^