Saturday, April 30, 2011

Identity

Malcolm made a comment on the blog
"I make no attempt to disguise myself because I want to live my life as openly as possible, but I realise some find it necessary not to be identified."
and it got one thinking about that idea of being out and how it pertains to your identity.

Many moons ago when one was very gay, very out, very (insert cliché of choice here) it never occurred to be in. Seriously why did one have to be? Hell one wasn't even living in the same country as the family. Even when one was, the few one was still in contact with couldn't have cared less. The thing was that being out was important, otherwise you were condemned to living in the shadows and passing off your partner as a friend. Which is kind of insulting to them at best and completely negates them at worst.

To be honest though it is very easy to be out when you live in a decent sized city. You have your own papers, pubs, clubs, B and B's, radio stations and social support networks. The pink dollar is huge and it buys a lot of buffer... if you manage it right you only run into the odd straight person by accident. Being gay is not only a sexual identity, but a social identity as well. You work with your own kind, flat with them, party with them and sleep with them. The community is mother, the community is father...

Being in a BDSM relationship is the same, but different. Unlike being gay, being bent doesn't provide that much of a buffer here. Which is fine if you are isolated and rarely see people, but becomes more problematic when you live in a small town. There simply aren't the numbers when you live in Queensland and despite cries of unite, the community is fractured. We have very little in common with those whom we have met to date... hell we don't even speak the same language half the time.

Now this is true when part of the gay community. There were often times that you found yourself in a room full of people that you had nothing in common with other than sexual orientation. What is different is that when you are gay, you don't have to explain what that means. It is like the ultimate short hand in some ways. When you are 24/7 you do have to explain.

There isn't any short hand because the BDSMers are a bit like organised religion. Diverse and often with no clear understanding between them.  In fact if you were to extend that analogy we are often regarded a bit like a cabal. Secret and hidden and inserted in a dark little corner. The rest of the orders either; don't believe we exist, think we are raving lunatics, are dangerous, or they want to make us conform to some mythical standards, wear strange clothes and perform all sorts of rituals... preferably semi-naked. These are not our people J

Next it raises the question what does being out entail if you are a BDSMer? The right to walk down the street in fetish gear? The ability to wear a leash? To be punished in public? To perform your function as a toilet slave? All of this skitters across that line between a sexual identity and being sexual. And you have to ask yourself why is that important?

The trouble is that one can't think of a good reason for it to be... and His dream to turn the whole flat into one large dungeon is going to clash horribly with his taste in 50's kitsch... which leaves one firmly in the closet. It doesn't make one less in any way... one is not less a slave nor does one serve Him less by not feeling an overwhelming urge to be out. Been there done that and hell still have the odd t-shirt, and there is probably the odd bit of archived news footage, to prove it.

2 comments:

Mockingbird said...

Don't really see the need for a BDSM "community" honestly... So I can compare collars?

Master's piece said...

Well one suspects that might be a component... comparative studies are what humans do. Seriously though, it seems to fulfil a social function that as an introvert one deeply suspects passes one by. And also it is different when you aren't out looking for someone... maybe?