In 2011, I gave an impassioned (and vocally angry) speech called “Re-caste-ing Alternative Sexuality: A Class Analysis of Social Status in the BDSM Scene.” As with most of my (somewhat formalized) advocacy presentations, I transcribed my own speech from video record and posted it to my blog. In response to that particular presentation, I got this comment:

so, i wrote a long and exhorting response to this latest lovely piece of yours. and then my machine didn’t send it (a sheynem dank, exu eleggua), and gave me time to think about the position i was putting you in by exhorting you. so now i want to do two or three contradictory things.

to give you many thanks for this, and for so much other deep and fantastic analysis of The Scene, and the scene, and the scenes, which have given me so much hope and rage.

to hope that you can escape the constraints of the gadfly / prophet / etc role that this part of your work can push you into.

and to lovingly twist your arm a bit in service of the direction that *i* would like to see your work turn – knowing that it’s on me to do the work i want to see, and that those desires of mine are also the result in part of other people in my life (physically, intellectually, electronically, musically…).

so the below is what i orginally wrote, in service to that last desire. and still here because it’s not, of course, for *you* alone as much as for the community you’ve gathered here.

yrs with love and rage,


i want to nudzh you a bit in the direction of taking on a more directly abolitionist relationship to the caste system that you’ve so elegantly dissected.

as you say:

» who is it good for, who does it serve more than others, and do people care?

to me, this pulls strongly against the idea that

» The Scene […] is a good place for a lot of people.

in fact, asking these questions almost instantly shows the latter to be at best akin to saying that the u.s. is a great country because most straight cisgender white men think it’s just fine for them. which may well be true to a degree, but doesn’t make the u.s. *okay* in any way.

if The Scene – as so much of your work shows – is a structure (whether analyzed as State or as capitalist economy, social or economic) that directly reproduces the same injustices that we experience in the world beyond it, we have the same obligations in our relationships to it as to the other structures of that world.

which can be summed up very simply: to destroy them.

and bring to birth from their ashes the worlds that we want to live in. the worlds that make our lives possible. the worlds that can contain the many worlds that can make all of our lives possible.

as so many have said before: you can’t participate your way out of a structural relationship. but states fall. and what humans have made, we can unmake. and remake. through refusal to participate; through struggle against; through the creative work that sends tendrils through foundations, crumbling them.

your work is already such a strong and beautiful part of that process. what it lacks, to me, is the open embrace of the goal it so clearly serves. which is not the liberal “it’s alright – for you – but it can get better”, but the radical “a house built on injustice cannot stand”.

I never responded to this comment because, at the time, I didn’t really know how to respond. For one thing, I didn’t know then (and still don’t really know now) how to respond to people who are nice to me on the Internet. (I mean, WTF am I supposed to do? Besides, I’m so used to being on the receiving end of nonstop cyberbullying that I’m sometimes equally likely to mistake kindness for sarcastically intoned insults, anyway. So, beware, I guess.) And also, I was still somewhat dependent on resources provided by people enthralled to the abusive BDSM Scene-State at the time.

Nevertheless, I still really appreciated the comment, and it did have an impact on me.

These days, I (obviously?) no longer depend on anything corrupt and cowardly BDSM’ers have to offer—they have literally nothing of value to me, or anyone, anyway. And hey, look at me now.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, like….

Dear people who say nice things to me now and don’t get any response, please don’t think you’re not getting a response because the nice thing you said doesn’t matter. Most of the time, it means a lot to me, and I just don’t know how to take a fucking compliment.