Years back, when social media meant AOL profiles and pages on GeoCities, people relied on nicknames and handles as barriers against being discovered as a secret freak. Google wasn’t a thing, reverse phone-number lookups and ISP tracking were not commonly available with the click of a mouse, and anonymity was easy. Then things began to develop such that the percentage of lives lived online multiplied exponentially and it has become necessary for most folks to have a public online presence. For many folks, this means they are obligated to tuck away or tone down aspects of their lives in order to maintain their careers or family connections. It is an unfortunate truth that there are people in positions of power in our lives who wouldn’t accept us if we were living a lifestyle against which they felt enmity, or about which they were ignorant to the point of fear.
I am fortunate. I don’t have to keep it secret. Even when I worked for Wells Fargo, their liberal, accepting and forward-thinking policies meant my being involved in the BDSM and Leather communities wasn’t an issue. My orientation to their Bay Area team was lead by a self-identified transwoman. One of my co-workers was the Empress of the SF Royal Drag Court. Another had been International Mr. Drummer and was well known as a gay leather pin-up. Hell, they provided the portable ATMs for the Folsom Street Fair! I made sure I always worked for companies and businesses where inclusivity was a feature, not a bug.
And yet, I have felt the momentary sting when I am disowned from public connection by a friend or acquaintance because they do not wish to be associated with a kinky person. Like BDSM is a contagion that will besmirch you. Leathery , kinky cooties, out to make you look…well…perverted!
Let me state that I find it bloody strange that my non-kinky friends and acquaintances never seem to feel that they have to evade me because I am kinky.
I want to give a shout out to all of those folks because you give me life. All of you – parents, spiritual leaders, doctors, lawyers, midwives, teachers, bankers, bakers, artists – all of you who are not ashamed or reluctant to claim me as a friend….you are changing the world, one drop at a time.
I give them dap because they don’t seem to worry about someone saying “Hey how do you know that pervert?”