Mar 132009

A friend of mine, EM, emailed me this week to rhetorically scream about engaging in fruitless battles on FetLife. The question prompting her email? Is Poly Queer. In this case it was heterosexuals appropriating the land queers stand on. “How do I get sucked into these things?” she asked.

I read and then giggled to myself. Oh those of the majority norm… not enough of you to hang out with? Feel like you need to stand on my piece of ground too? I told her: “you get yourself into these things because you are an UPPITY queer….”

And then tonight I got a message on FetLife looking for input on a Racism thread in the FetLife Rants section. So I hand to wander over. And then I had to respond. So I did. GAWD.


I see lots of white people on this thread justifying the use of a word that is CLEARLY something that is a personal hot button. Not a lot of compassion. Not a lot of understanding. Not a lot of analysis. Bits and pieces but really it seems like the thread is more about stirring up shit than doing WORK around racism or discrimination or the language/behaviours which support those things. I read defensive postures from People of Colour and their allies.


I’ve always been pretty smug about the intelligence of kink/leather people. But posts about how “they call themselves”, “I’m not like that”, “why can’t we all get along”, etc aren’t analysis.

I will ask those who are on this thread defending the usage in one way or another: are there lots of Black people in your public dungeons and at your conferences? I was in Dallas at South Plains Leather Master/slave recently. I was looking forward to seeing LOTS of Black folks. No one… rather very few. Plenty in the airport and folks in stores. Same wherever I travel on the continent (Canada/US) for kink/leather events – with the exception of BlackBeat. WHY?

May I suggest that (Master) Skip Chasey was onto something in his 2008 keynote address, at the Master Slave Conference in Washington DC? In Rise and Fal of the M/s Community – A Cautionary Note, {link goes to PDF} he quotes that great forward that SO many of us saw called Civility and Incivility in the Scene written by Chris M of Black Rose and Lady Medora of the New Orleans Power Exchange.

The civility crisis hurts our leather brethren, demolishes friendships, breaks the spirit of our volunteers, cripples our organizations, invites retaliation, and weakens our claim that SM is practiced by emotionally healthy, well-adjusted people. The civility crisis may play a role in the scene’s disproportionate absence of people of color, who know discrimination and hostility when they see it, may feel unwelcome, and stay away. Why are we doing this? What can we do to stop it?

At the risk of derailing this thread let me add: there are LOTS of places in the outside world where we can sow discord or chew on bones. How does the petty griping about this word on this thread advance or clear up anything to do with why we are all gathered here? How is this civil behaviour? How does this reveal or demonstrate our sense or honour, integrity, respect and community to a world that would demonize us, take our children in custody battles, fire us from our jobs and alienate us from family? HOW?

Peace in Leather,

  One Response to “FetLife’s Racism Rant I”

  1. I jumped in on the thread on racism. Now you have me arguing on the internet again — and I dumped the other thread as a time-waster, too. (sigh)


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