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Thursday, 6 April 2017

Being kinky doesn't make us queer, but kinksters are still oppressed

The illusion of choice.
(We don't have a choice,either.)
There's a nice article by Carolyn Yates in AutoStraddle : Being Kinky Doesn’t Make You Queer.


She makes a valid point: queer and kinky have resonances, but are distinct and we shouldn't blur the terminology.

However, much of the article seems taken up with making a distinction between (a) transgressing normative gender and gender preferences, which is queer and OK to do in public, and (b) transgressing normative power relations, which is kink and not OK to do in public.

The implication is that queer is real and nice but kink is just a game and nasty.

In particular I disagree with this:
But you can hide your kinks. And, in public spaces, with non-participants present, you should. Kink involves consent.
So, being out in public is automatically a consent violation? 

I find that preposterous.
Sure, it's a consent violation if you force your intimacy on other people or use them as an audience. But that's also true for vanilla couples of all orientations as well: e.g. fucking on a park bench on a Sunday afternoon while people were out with their families is wrong whatever your preferences.

However, things like wearing a collar or using verbal protocol - if that's what you do at home - are no more a consent violation than two men holding hands. (That doesn't make these wise activities.)

The illusion perpetrated by the article is that kinksters have a choice, that we can opt in or out of our orientation. 

She conflates the persecution suffered by queer people with the opt-in, opt-out activities with which we kinksters express out dynamics:
As a kinky person, you can opt in, you can opt out, you can play, you can exchange, you can give, you can take, you can end it at any time. Power is everywhere, whether or not you’re practicing power play. It is yours to leave or to take. But as a queer person, you can’t opt into or out of those systems of power. You can’t end them at any time. There’s no safeword for your parents kicking you out before you’ve finished high school. For your new grandma-in-law getting homophobic and transphobic at your wedding reception.
Yes, it's easier to be kinky than queer since it's easier and way less inconvenient to hide. 
Repressing our sexuality
also has consequences

Yes, queer rights are a much, much, more pressing issue than kink rights. I'm happy to be at the back of the queue.

However, we don't actually have a choice about being kinky, and repressing our sexuality has consequences similar to those suffered by all those closeted  queer folk of yesteryear: wasted lives, collateral damage to straight spouses, stress, illness, dysfunctional relationships, compartmentalisation...

Ours is still a love that dare not speak its name. 
In an ideal world, people would wear their collars, call their partner "Sir/Madam" and nobody would bat an eyelid. 

In a slightly less ideal, but still better, world, being outed as a kinkster would have no professional or personal consequences.

We don't live in either of those worlds now. I doubt we ever will. 

Ours is still a love that dare not speak its name. The ease of concealment does not detract from the fact there are still consequences if that concealment fails.

So, we kinksters will always be an oppressed sexual minority. At the very least, this should make us sensitive to LGBTQ rights. It would also be nice if some of that sensitivity would flow both ways. 


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6 comments:

  1. 1. Kinksters always have choices to opt out kinks. But there are horrific prices to pay.

    2. It’s not easier to hide. Since it’s the norm to hide, kinksters are so skilled at doing it that it looks effortlessly to hide.

    3. Personally, I got over it and perfectly ok to hide. Not just about kink, but anything that’s out of the norm. And I think it’s a good skill to have.

    4. I find myself insensitive at times, so I’m sensitive to insensitive people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. > Kinksters always have choices to opt out kinks. But there are horrific prices to pay.

      THIS

      Delete
  2. I agree with you Giles. The commenter who used the example of the sissymaid type malesub accosting them in the club and trying to forcibly incorporate them into play sounded like an example of immoderate behavior presented to denigrate kink.

    Such intrusive behaviour isn't on, but neither would any such level of intimacy be appropriate in public. But what's wrong with milder forms? At a restaurant the other evening my partner hand-fed me some morsels from her plate. I like to be her pet. I think anyone who objects to this sort of thing would be on a par with objecting to hand holding or a little kiss.

    My partner and I noticed our bond strengthen as my obedience increased along with her peremptoriness. There was one little landmark moment when she admonished me in a café. The two women serving behind the counter were amused and couldn't help laughing and something clicked.

    Now, the café staff were part of that moment, and I honestly didn't get the impression that they were laughing out of nervousness.

    My sub nature isn't something I just 'chose'. All my life I have found relationships to be unfulfilling as I haven't been with dominant women and I have kept my kinks quiet. At nearly middle age I now feel I'm in my first truly happy relationship with my first dominant partner. It's not just about 'kink' (unless we interpret the word as encompassing a very broad mental, emotional and spiritual sense of self).

    And, although much of the content of the comments page was eye-opening and profound, what the hell is all this 'get the fuck out of here and fuck the fuck off straighty' type nonsense? I don't think it's said with any irony and it is immature and unhelpful.

    Thanks for posting this Giles, v interesting!

    Mr. Bump

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm enjoying your ongoing pilgrimage through my blog!

      Your cafe incident is a good example of how kinky dynamics are mostly extensions of vanilla ones. I'm sure the staff just thought they were watching a vanilla couple where "she wears the trousers".

      The point about those comments was that we don't get to hijack LGBTQ etc events, because though the issues are related, they are different. That seems fair enough to me.

      Delete
  3. BTW, I wrote a comment on your 10 March post but I didn't get the Captcha, it just said 'comment will be visible after approval'. Did you get my comment?

    Thanks!

    Mr. Bump

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just seen them and approved the lot!

      Delete

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