Radical Participation or “There are No Fags There”
Ed note: This post originally appeared on the personal website of author and educator Lee Harrington: passionandsoul.com. It is re-posted here with his permission. Lee will be speaking at Washington University’s Sex Week. Bristol Palin sends her regrets.
by Guest Blogger, Lee Harrington.
I hear it time and time again. That dungeon or event or play space has no “x” there. No swingers. No fags. No queers. No people of color. No latex fetishists. No human puppies. No… whatever.
So this, is a simple idea.
That’s right. It’s not the venue’s job to make the lay of your dreams appear for you. We try. As event producers, we try to make your dream-lover appear… we lay out spaces and programming to attract the populations we think we might be serving. But we are imperfect creatures. We can do what we can, but we can’t do it all. Part of the job- its yours.
Its really tempting to go to the local play space, not find anyone who nabs your attention, and then go home and give up. To say “I went once, I tried, but no one like me was there so I don’t go.” And that’s if you’re being civil. I have certainly said the above sentence with incivility. I have said it in crushing and crude ways that likely fucked up the reputation of play spaces. Because what we say affects what others do. If I am queer, and say that that space has no queers, to my queer friends, they won’t go either. And know what? That is, officially, a self-fulfilling prophecy. No queers show up because… get this… I made them not show up because I said none show up.
So, here is my counter-proposal.
This fabulous crew in Connecticut, headed by a person named Scout (I don’t know Scout’s pronoun of preference) had just the above happen. Scout went to a local playspace, and found no/few other queer folks. They talked with a friend, who had the same experience in that space. But you know what- they had both gone! They had just gone on different nights. Others had similar stories… and the issue? Scheduling! Scout announced that there should be a Queer Invasion of this play space, on a specific date. Everyone came out on that same date. And you know what? There were queers in the play space to play and cruise and hurt and fuck one another.
Yup, magic. Magic is when we put Intention and Attention together. The intention- get play. The attention- scheduling. Viola- hot queer porn action.
Okay, so this does not apply locally for all things. Maybe you are the only cucumber fetishist in your small town in rural Idaho. It may be hard to arrange a cucumber fetish invasion of the party in Moscow or Coeur d’Alene. But this is what regional, national or international gatherings are for. The Master/slave conference exists because M/s lifestylers who wanted to meet other M/s lifestylers decided to get together back in 1999. It took a few passionate folks on a topic standing up and making something happen. They declared it, they found a space, they made it grew.
In 2003 at Black Rose, Mortis, Bill Andrews, Dov, myself and a few others stood around in an underground (literally) play space in Maryland hoarding the single suspension point that we could do suspension on. The group of us bemused how lovely it might be if we actually had a space to have rope people gather, and not have to literally fight for a space to do our art and smut. And you know what took us from dream to reality? Mortis deciding he would actually do it. And in 2004, ShibariCon was born… and a real home for what became a movement was born.
So look online. If you think you are the only person into gummy bear fetishism… you are wrong. Here is the list of gummy bear fetishists on Fetlife.
And the discussion group for them.
Whatever it is- search to see if there is already an invasion, a party, a munch, a gathering, a brunch, a conference, a campout or a festival for your people. If there is no in-person gathering, but a group online… declare the invasion! Decide where it will be, and make it happen.
Want it to be local? Talk to your local group and see who you can convert (aka introduce in a positive light wrapped in their desires) to your interest.I recently attended a play party at Arizona TNG entirely about food play. They are not a food fetish group. They are “a social and educational group for Arizonans aged 18-39 interested in the fetish and BDSM lifestyles.” But a few members have different types of food, feeding, eating, sensuality or whatnot fetishes. The handful of them talked out loud. And an idea was born. The idea took almost a year to come to fruition, but when it did there were kiddy pools full of mud, full of jello, full of pasta, full of cakes. There were girls on all fours with food trays strapped to their backs. There was sensual feeding, and maple syrup painting. There were hose-down areas, and even the non-food humans came out to support, have fun… and in a few cases, get turned onto a new desire.
We change the world when we add attention and intention together. When we take our dreams and manifest them in the flesh.
Because if you build it, they will cum.
Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality and spirituality educator, gender adventurer, artist and shaman. He is the author of several books, including Sacred Kink, and the editor of the recently published Spirit of Desire. His books are available through Mystic Productions Press.
David Wraith is a writer, filmmaker and activist. His website is davidwraith.com