Rolequeerness is valuable because questioning the purpose or even necessity of binary power roles in kink is valuable. I don’t think identifying with rolequeerness is threatening to binary kink roles any more than queerness is threatening to binary sexuality or genderqueerness is threatening to binary gender. All of these types of queerness interrogate the institutions that insist that the world must be a certain way. Some people find that threatening. I find it liberating. Participation is not mandatory.

Wow. If you don’t think that queerness is threatening to binary sexuality, or that genderqueerness is threatening to binary gender…I don’t even. 

But again, I don’t think you’re stupid. I think you have enough political theory and real-world savvy to understand very well that rolequeerness fundamentally threatens BDSM hegemony. Your deferential, diplomatic, assimilationist efforts to soothe BDSMers and encourage them to embrace rolequeerness in the name of “role diversity” or whatever you want to call it are not only transparent, they harm rolequeers.

Rolequeer play is not a way of doing BDSM. We are not waiting for John Baku to add “Rolequeer” to the drop-down on Fetlife. Rolequeerness and BDSM do not mix. If you are trying to persuade BDSMers to adopt “rolequeer” under their umbrella, then you are telling them that rolequeerness is about them, for them, that it exists in their purview, that they are entitled to opine on and define and control it because BDSM supposedly “encompasses all kink.”

If you are “liberating” yourself from oppression in a way that doesn’t threaten the institution that’s oppressing you, if you are playing with power in a way that supposedly disavows domination but doesn’t make Dominants uncomfortable, then I don’t know what you are doing but whatever it is, it sure as hell isn’t rolequeer. And if you are trying to get the BDSM Scene involved in my intimate life, you are not on my side.

But it probably does mean you keep getting invited to play parties. So, that’s good.


I want to make a metalogical observation that concerns me in the information given.


Rolequeerness is valuable because questioning the purpose or even necessity of binary power roles in kink is valuable. I don’t think identifying with rolequeerness is threatening to binary kink roles any more than queerness is threatening to binary sexuality or genderqueerness is threatening to binary gender. All of these types of queerness interrogate the institutions that insist that the world must be a certain way. Some people find that threatening. I find it liberating. Participation is not mandatory.

Assuming malice in the above analysis—assuming that despite the presentation of Crossword in terms of niceness or politeness politics Crossword is hostile—then this is probably what I would I would describe as “blunting the tip”. There were similar responses of this kind to 19th century anarchist and socialist theory; Marx’s theory or some of its derivatives is arguably manifestations of the same. “Blunting the tip” often precedes a surge of imperialism or fascism in the form of cultural appropriation and assimilation.

What is being proposed in somewhat coded language in the above is that rolequeerness revolves around the invariant poles of the binary—which the binary is presupposed to be true—and serves only to ultimately rile up the dynamics between the binaries. Hence, identifying with rolequeerness isn’t perceived as threatening and the felt threat experienced and expressed by many kinksters and cishetero binary essentialists particularly BDSMers is denied and down played. You’ll note the use of interrogate in reference to the institutions. Not dismantle. Not obliterate. Not deconstruct. Merely question. Crossword’s aims by that brief statement are reformist at best; at worst, this is an analysis which is starting a heuristic for annealing the defense of those institutions against rolequeerness, anarchism, socialism, and similar anti-institutional communities, methods, or activities. Penetration testing in network security comes to mind.

This serves the dual purpose of integrating Crossword with the BDSM ingroup as their resident expert and positions Crossword external to the BDSM ingroups as a potential dissenting expert on rolequeerness. In the developing explicitly rolequeer community, this introduces a seemingly legitimate vector of infection by which the developing community can be corrupted, weakened, and assimilated into the BDSM community.

This isn’t reason in and of itself to despair. What it means is that an immune response needs to be developed or if one exists already deployed in response. The response to “blunting the tip” is sharpening the blade; this post is a good start.

Thank you, Ian. This is what my intuition has been telling me, but I didn’t have the words to articulate it in such clear detail.

Because my political sense about people who behave like Crosswords is so tangled up with my personal feelings towards Crosswords as an individual, it’s hard for me to know whether I’m seeing something of legitimate political concern, or simply tilting at windmills because I feel hurt by one person.

I appreciate this as reassurance that I’m not crazy and am seeing something genuinely problematic, and also that it’s not just about Crosswords personally but a pattern of behaviors that are worth keeping an eye out for elsewhere. (Also, anarcho historical context — awesome!)

Anyway. This was very well put and a nice thing to wake up to. Thanks. :)

I’m going to share this in a shortened version, with the material that is not about “blunting the tip” cut out, because I don’t want to put more fire on a conversation that is already quite an emotional rollercoaster for you and Maymay. So here is all the material about ‘blunting the tip’.

My advice to anyone who thinks rolequeerness isn’t threatening to binary kink roles: If you’re not interested in destroying BDSM culture, you are not rolequeer. Opposition to the D/s binary and BDSM’s toxic lies is at the heart of the concept.You can’t be queer and not oppose homophobia. You can’t be rolequeer and not oppose BDSM culture. It’s that simple. 

If you do like the sexy parts of the concept of rolequeer but hate the politics: please take the words rolediverse or roleflexible and leave. They’re nice liberal unpolitical words that should suit your purposes just fine. We’re using neither so feel free to take them before someone else uses the words for something else entirely. That may sound like exclusion but it’s just common sense: if you don’t agree with what’s being build, don’t involve yourself in conversations about the blueprints. And what we’re building is a revolution against BDSM culture. Make the inevitable seperation between the political movement and unpolitical movement quick, tear the bandaid off.

But do NOT try to shape rolequeer into something other than the justified rage and disruptive force and the queer revolution that it is.  

edit: beyondthevalleyofthefemdoms has made it pretty clear that they do oppose bdsm culture and want to see it destroyed and also that they have no desire to continue participating in the rolequeer tag anyway. I’m leaving the post as it is as it wasn’t directed at them in particular but at anyone who thinks who thinks rolequeerness isn’t threatening to binary kink roles. 

Crosswords’ words are just that: crossed words. Doublespeak. Even if there is intention to dismantle BDSM in those words, they are not actually doing that, and Intent Is Not Fucking Magic. At best, they are an intellectual wanna-be using for themself the ideas coming from work unquietpirate & I are still doing to heal together. I think that would be great if they weren’t also comparing me to pedophiles and racists, for starters, while they did it.

At worst, and this I personally believe likely, Crosswords is a competent embodiment of everything BDSM actually is: sneaky rape apologist victim-blaming pieces of shit who have mastered familiar contractual-consent legalism and are experts at projecting their own fears of being vulnerable onto others in abusive, and personally and systemically harmful ways. Since that kind of manipulative gaslighting is so common, and since BDSM turns it into something of a sport where that skill is intentionally honed and refined, it can be hard to spot. After all, “a fish will never discover water.”

So, yeah. I don’t know where you got the idea that Crosswords “made it pretty clear that they do oppose bdsm culture” because, from where I’m standing, that’s a lie so big it’s visible from space. Just look at the recent posts on Crosswords’ blog. Just look at how often the abusive/consensual binary is invoked and never even questioned.

Crosswords isn’t a competent theorist. They have never had anything substantive to say about Consent as a Felt Sense, or rolequeerness (except a bunch of victim-blaming shit, of course) and they probably never will. But they sometimes provide a useful foil, as they did above, for showcasing sneaky rape apologist appropriative victim-blaming piece of shit gaslighting tactics.

Instead, Crosswords is a competent thief. A thief I’d even be happy to have “steal” from us (because ideas are free), if only they were even remotely capable of questioning the abuser/survivor binary they have been clinging to for years. If only they were successfully doing whatever personal work they need to do to start recognizing and treating “abusers” (*boo scary ghost hands*) like the survivors they often are, instead of only being able to treat those-they-themself-judge-to-be-abusers as abusers and those-they-themself-judge-to-be-survivors as survivors without nary a shred of critical self-reflection about what they are actually doing or why.

Rolequeerness is fundamentally about the recognition that “abuser/survivor,” “abusive/consensual,” “powerful/vulnerable,” and a number of other related binaries are, in fact, false dichotomies. These binaries are lies. There is no such thing as “consensual and not abusive” or “abusive and not consensual” in a pervasively coercive society. There is no such thing as power without vulnerability or vulnerability without power. And this also means that people who are abusers can also be survivors. It means that survivors can also be abusers. And, in fact, it means they often actually are abusers, too.

If that doesn’t scare you, if you think being “afraid of engaging with really important ideas,” to use Crossword’s words, is, as they put it, “the problem,” then you’re not really interested in engaging with this really important idea. That’s why no matter what Crosswords says they’re doing, what they’re actually doing is binarist, and it is dangerous to rolequeers, and it is appropriative, and it reinforces BDSM culture by directly supporting rape culture: BDSM relies on the binary of the powerful exclusive from the vulnerable, on the violent exclusive from the sexual, on the abusive exclusive from the consensual. And so does rape culture.

Also, as unquietpirate mentioned, there is a well-documented history of Crosswords’ victim-blaming, rape apologizing, survivor-auditing word-vomit. For as long as they cling to those beliefs, they have no hope of effectively opposing the BDSM culture, no solid understanding of rolequeerness, and pose a huge threat of exactly the kind idlnmclean outlined, whether they intend malice or not.

rolequeer, I think you might consider re-editing your edit.