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A Maine lesson: think before you go represent me

This commentary is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily that of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Timothy Kincaid

January 18th, 2010

I support the right of individuals to get their jollies in pretty much any way that is safe, consensual and adult. As long as you aren’t harming me or anyone else, I don’t care if you get turned on by boots and a sling or a french maid’s outfit. Simply because I might find your fetish to be silly and better suited for a Halloween costume doesn’t mean I think it should be any less legal.

However, if your thing is kink, while I support your rights, you should in turn respect how your behavior impacts my rights. Here are a few should-be-obvious rules to consider:

  • If you have to tell the world about the delights of your peculiarities, don’t do so in a way that can be twisted by anti-gays to be an indictment of every gay person. There just aren’t very many ‘special events’ geared towards monogamous vanilla sex so please recognize that your slutty pig ball or feather boa fetishists convention will be perceived as more indicative of our community than it really deserves. Oh, and don’t let Peter LaBarbera and his ubiquitous camera in the door.
  • Don’t transfer your fetishes onto your kids. Toddlers don’t need to be at Folsom Street Fair. And it’s not cute (no, it really isn’t) to dress your young ‘uns up in leather. That is simply self indulgent and dances too close to the edge of sexualization of children.
  • If during sex play you accidentally shoot anyone in the head, don’t go testify about why you need marriage equality. Just don’t.

Now you’d think that common sense would somehow suggest that maybe, just maybe, you aren’t the right person to testify if you put a bullet in someone’s brain four days before, but apparently this never occurred to Bruce Lavallee-Davidson.

You see, Bruce was playing with some buddies on April 18, 2009 when, ooopsie, someone got shot. (Washington Post)

The fatal shooting happened after [victim Fred] Wilson, Lavallee-Davidson and a third man had been smoking pot, consuming the party drug GBL, huffing aerosol inhalants and having sex over a 12-hour period in the basement of Wilson’s Colonial home in a middle-class neighborhood two blocks from the ocean.

Defense lawyer Tom Hallett told jurors the men had been using guns as part of their sexual play and that the victim was a thrill seeker who may have slipped a bullet into the .44-caliber Rossi revolver unbeknownst to Lavallee-Davidson, who’d previously checked to make sure the gun was unloaded.

Jurors deliberated less than an hour before returning their guilty verdict in Cumberland County Superior Court. Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in state prison in Maine. Because a gun was involved, the minimum sentence is four years, Marchese said.

Yeah, how do you explain that to your “partner” when you get home?

But Bruce thought to himself, I think I’ll go testify in favor of marriage equality. Cuz that’s what I need right now.

So that’s what Bruce did. On April 22, there he was at a public hearing telling the world just how much marriage was important to his life, how much he and his partner were committed.

Umm, no. Bruce is going to be committed, but not in the way he intended. And, of course, there’s nothing quite so juicy to an anti-gay activist than tying our marriage rights to his insane irresponsible druged out lethal orgy.

So if, by chance, you happen to be a guy whose idea of “marriage” is drug fueled sexcapades with strangers in which you kill someone, I don’t really care how much you think its just a spiffy idea to go represent me and my community and argue for my rights. Don’t.

Comments

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Andrew
January 18th, 2010 | LINK

If this were facebook, I would click the “like” button.

johnathan
January 18th, 2010 | LINK

To Andrew: Ditto. Speaking of Facebook, does Box Turtle Bulletin have a page yet?

Richard W. Fitch
January 18th, 2010 | LINK

@johnathan – Yes, here is a link to the article above on FB. Join in:
http://www.facebook.com/notes/box-turtle-bulletin/jerry-sanders-to-testify-in-perry-v-schwarzenegger/258847583348

johnathan
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

@Richard: Thank you very much.

Tom Farrell
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

If you don’t like that some members of the gay community are different from others, and that many choose to deviate from societal norms, I suggest you move to a country where everyone has to live their life the same way. Saudi Arabia comes to mind.

Seezuredance
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

@ Tom Farrell

So I supposed you’re ok with ‘kink’ in which someone is killed? IMO, people into gunplay have no to do with the gay community than they do with the straight community.

Seezuredance
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Woops, I meant to say “people into gunplay have no MORE to do….”

Donnchadh
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

The anti-gays will probably say that this shows how “The gay community that is supposed to be about mutual support will abandon one of their own as soon as he steps out of line and it risks causing bad publicity.”
And the NRA might say it is wrong to put people’s sexual rights before that of guns.
Just a thought.

Mortanius
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Interesting take on the “keep it to yourself argument”. Lots of straights are fine with us faggots so long as we “keep our personal lives, personal”, i.e. no PDAs, but they can do it all the time. If this had been a straight couple, into pig play, BDSM, Leather, would you have slammed the gay BDSM, Leather community.

Quite frankly, we are not all vanilla, and yes the anti-gays will use anything against us, so if they catch you writing your legislator, you’re a gay activist who wants gay sex taught in schools, regardless of what you actually wrote your legislator about.
But honestly, the editorial telling me you’re fine with us “leather” folk is akin to the anti-gays saying “I have gay friends”.
In defense of “our slutty ways” taking it up the arse in the privacy of ones own bedroom is still going to be used against the whole community.
If American’s as a whole weren’t so effed up tight about sexuality, it wouldn’t be an issue. I have to say that a lot of the Gay BDSM Leather events once they go PAN are totally taken over by the Hetero’s, but oh it’s okay if the Hetero’s have their pig slutty events, but us gays can’t? If there was a dislike, I’d have to dislike this one. (course I like 98% of everything else you post) but it’s great to be able to talk about issues like this in our communities.

Désirée
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

are people missing the fact the the guy under discussion SHOT HIS SEX PARTNER IN THE HEAD? The complaint here wasn’t that the guy was kinky and speaking up for gay rights, it was that he was a non-monogamous killer and speaking up for gay rights.

So here’s the short version:
kinky gay people=OK to speak for us about marriage equality

murderous adulterers=not OK to speak for us about marriage equality

Matt
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks for writing this post. It’s always discouraging to see how many gay people leap to defend those who are not just kinky but aggressively and dysfunctionally kinky. I hope this kind of reflexive deference to “people who challenge mainstream norms” is just a leftover from the communal-sewer sex culture of the 1970s and that it will die out/became more and more uncommon among most gay people.

CPT_Doom
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

As a leatherman who just had a whole lot of fun at MAL, and as a person taught manners by my parents, I understand both Timothy’s and Mortanius’ points of view. I feel absolutely no shame for my enjoyment of more esoteric forms of sexual fun (forms, I might add, that are among the safest – from an HIV transmission risk perspective – out there), but I also understand that there are people who freak out over those same forms of fun, even if they are not specifically anti-gay. That is simply a function of our sex-negative culture.

Clearly we must condemn the stupidity and recklessness of Levallee-Davidson’s actions, both those that directly resulted in his play partner’s death and in embarrassing the equality movement in Maine, just as we must condemn the parents – overwhelmingly heterosexual, I might add – who bring their children to restricted events like Folsom.

But because society has a tendency to treat any gay person as a perfect representative of all gay people – a problem all minorities face – the anti-gays are quick to use any and all evidence of non-vanilla behavior to condemn us. I don’t think the answer is, as some in the LGBT community would have, for us all to become conforming suburbanites raising children and driving mini-vans. That is certainly not the life that I want.

Rather we must support the rights of every adult to make reasoned, informed decisions for him/herself, including kinky sex, as well as condemn those who declare that anyone who is involved in non-vanilla sex as therefore morally degenerate and untrustworthy.

Jonathan Oz
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy,

Your concerns are not new. I know the feeling of being embarrassed by some of the more flamboyant expressions of sexuality in our community, but your message did not open the channels of communication Calls for behaving acceptably have always created battle lines in our communities. At the extremes, some feel that if we just try to minimize our expressions of differences, we will be seen as “no different” than the straight community whose acceptance is of value while others see the pursuit of acceptance as the denial of self and unacceptable.

I think if you had taken a bit more time between hearing of Bruce Lavallee-Davidson’s situation and putting figurative pen to paper, you might have come up with a more persuasive, nuanced expression of your concerns that informed more than it inflamed.

Jason D
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

I was with all you “hey, don’t bag on the kinksters!!” folks until we got the drugs, firearms, and death.

Drugs are one thing, Firearms are another, but they do not go together. If you’re going to do one, don’t do the other.

The criticism is apt. It would be like a 14 year old with pending DUI vehicular manslaughter charge deciding to testify on behalf of lowering the drinking age or driving age. Thank you, no.

You would think the trauma and embarassment of playtime gone horribly, horribly wrong would’ve made him think that maybe he should stay home.

John
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

He shot the guy in the head in an act of supreme stupidity and irresponsibility. He has been convicted and is going to jail. I support the authorities in Maine for dealing with this killing appropriately.

As for requesting that this guy should have given some thought to not testifying for Marriage Equality after committing this homicide, Timothy, I think you are asking a bit much.

If he had anywhere near enough judgement to consider how his actions might affect others, I would guess that he never would have shot that guy in the head in the first place.

Priya Lynn
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

I think the criticism Timothy got here is not because he condemned the man that shot his partner or the people taking their children to fetish events, but because his first point condemned fetish events in general.

Priya Lynn
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Just to clarify, my previous comment was in response to the comments such as “are people missing the fact the the guy under discussion SHOT HIS SEX PARTNER IN THE HEAD?”.

Those criticizing Timothy I’m sure had no criticism regarding that part of his post. It seems that some of you are doing what Timothy complained about – suggesting that the actions of this killer are representative of the fetish community in general. That’s no more fair than when the anti-gays claim the fetish community is representative of gays in general.

Amicus
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

“Your rights”? Good grief, you don’t really mean THAT, do you? (I think you mean something like rights that might be more valuable to you, but they are rights for the whole group).

I admit that I’m confused by people who believe that one has to desire marriage for themselves or have a perfect relationship of X+ years, in order to be an effective or believable marriage advocate.

Is it so hard to imagine that someone, anyone, might not want to get married, yet fully support fighting for full rights, because they look around and see that it makes sense, that the absence of such rights is an injustice, that it seems to mean a LOT to the younger generation?

Richard Dawkins, for instance, has been married three times – does that make him a marriage hypocrite or just a ‘damned atheist’ violating the “sanctity of marriage”? Newt Gingrich?

Many groups have tried to collect compelling personal stories, because so many of them had not been visible, by choice or otherwise, leaving a general, but open-minded, public with a distorted view. But a “compelling personal story” is not the standard for belief in the cuase, is it?

To the chagrin of socially conservative leaning gays and lesbians, the LGBT community has limited ability to police itself, because being homosexual is not confessional. There is no ‘gay card’ to revoke. There is no uniform ‘good face’ to put forward that is possible, just as women had no perfect face to their movement to offer.

Accordingly, if opponents want to scandalize the community, there will be plenty for them. Blacks were scandalized terribly in this country – the libel that every black man was after virgin white flesh, comes to mind.

No, equality comes when people realize that the gay community is like any other, with the whole range of human experience, from picket fence vanilla to motorcycle black leather.

(And don’t unintentionally stereotype the leatherfolk either – many longstanding bonds/couples, there, too).

Jason D
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

“If you have to tell the world about the delights of your peculiarities, don’t do so in a way that can be twisted by anti-gays to be an indictment of every gay person.”

This is pretty much an impossibility. Any and everything can and will be skewed as an indictment. What you see at pride parades is not much different than what you see at Mardi Gras or just about any other holiday event/parade. What’s different is the standards by which it is judged. A Bikini is okay on a man at a public beach but somehow SCANDALOUS on a float on main street.

“There just aren’t very many ’special events’ geared towards monogamous vanilla sex”

Exposure is all about who’s willing and interested to step forward. Perhaps there should be a special event for vanilla sex. Perhaps a whole “normal” pride parade. We can have floats of people somberly folding clothes, paying their taxes, and mowing the lawn.

” so please recognize that your slutty pig ball or feather boa fetishists convention will be perceived as more indicative of our community than it really deserves.”

Perhaps, but again, this is in how others perceive it, something which the conventioneers are NOT responsible.

“Oh, and don’t let Peter LaBarbera and his ubiquitous camera in the door.”

Always a good idea.

Timothy, I think you’re under the mistaken impression that we’re responsible for our own homophobia.
Every so often online I run into a gay genius who usually thinks that if we can get rid of or hide the “freaks and geeks” of the gay community, all would be well. That if we were to cloak or hide those more ostentatious members of the community, the enemy would have nothing with which to attack us. When the reality is, they’d just find something else.

It’s always tempting to point the finger at others in our community and say “this is your fault”. Congratulations, the anti-gays have co-opted a little bit of your mind. Far easier for them to win if we waste time blaming each other rather than those who are actually responsible for homophobia.
I see very little grey area between suggesting that the kinksters should keep it behind closed doors and suggesting that all gays should keep our entire lives behind closed doors.

Emily K
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Can’t someone be freaked out about certain sexual practices without having been “f*cked up by a puritanical american sex-negative culture?” Some things just turn people OFF. Grow up and get over yourselves. I get that many BDSM “non-mainstream” people are confronting for stupid reasons, but getting self righteous at the whif of any unattraction to such practices is no way to handle it.

That said, the man’s testimony is a joke and makes a mockery of our case. Shame.

Emily K
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

“confronting” SHOULD be “confronted.”

klaus
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

next time i’ll wear my leathers at a pride parade, i’ll additionally carry a poster saying “attention! i’m gay and perverted, but this is not typical – the others are gay and normal!”

it seems to be a widely spread misunderstanding of the concept of “tolerance” to think that it can be earned by demonstrating that you’re not different. a “tolerance” that only accepts the well-known and not the different does not deserve to be called tolerance at all.

Jason D
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

emily, if that was directed at me:

There’s plenty of things that are a turn off for me. However, I don’t go writing blogs about them. I sincerely doubt that “Slutty Pig Ball” is a brand name (though it’s certainly possible) Tim’s post reeked of judgment. The ultimate point about the manslaughterer not being our best witness made sense, but all the unnecessary criticism of, well, everyone who’s not 100% vanilla was rather unnecessary.

if it wasn’t directed at me: Then we need some clarification on who you’re criticizing.

Priya Lynn
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

What I don’t like about Timothy’s piece is that he blames the fetishists for being portrayed as representative of the gay community when they’ve never claimed to be. His anger should be directed at the anti-gays who are the ones making this claim.

klaus
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

timothy, first you complain about unrealistic representations, and then you mix together your criticism of BDSM events with the extreme case of one single BDSM guy?

don’t you get the idea that you’re on very thin ice here?

B John
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy isn’t blaming anyone for how “slutty pig balls” are perceived. He is not calling on everyone to be vanilla, and he’s not telling anyone to not attend any event they want…He is simply asking that you keep in mind how it will be perceived by the anti-gay community. That doesn’t mean he’s demanding one censor their behavior, he’s just saying to do what you gotta do, and at least realize it could have unintended results.

Timothy never said that people who are not into marriage for themselves should not (nor could not) advocate for marriage for everyone. But the truth is, if you are testifying for or against something, you’re own behaviors/attitudes are judged to be somehow associated with your position.

Obviously Bruce doesn’t have much in the way of personal judgment, but it was a poor choice for him to testify about pretty much anything. Not a great idea to testify against gun control legislation, probably not a good idea to even testify for gun control at that point, and not a good idea to testify about gay marriage…for or against. The better choice would be to maintain a low profile in general.

Priya Lynn
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

B John, there’s no point in asking people to consider how their behavior will be perceived if you’re not asking them to censor their behavior.

Jason D
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

“Timothy isn’t blaming anyone for how “slutty pig balls” are perceived. He is not calling on everyone to be vanilla, and he’s not telling anyone to not attend any event they want…He is simply asking that you keep in mind how it will be perceived by the anti-gay community. That doesn’t mean he’s demanding one censor their behavior, he’s just saying to do what you gotta do, and at least realize it could have unintended results.”

B John, when parents and teachers do this sort of thing, it’s called “teaching” or “parenting” — one can get away with the “i’m just saying” sort of reasoning.

However, when a random person says this, writes a blog about it -no less!- it’s a passive aggressive version of the blame game. Especially evident when the TITLE of the blog entry says “think before you go representing me”. If it were someone else, on a different blog it would be called “concern trolling”.

Timothy is a spiritual man, and I doubt very much if he would appreciate someone making the same kinds of comments and statements about people of faith that he’s made here about people of kink.

Timothy Kincaid
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

OK, I try to stay out of the comments… but it seems that some folks are reading more into my commentary than I actually intended.

So, to clarify, what “kinds of comments and statements” are people objecting to? Are they words I actually wrote?

Or is it simply objection to the idea that perhaps one should think before they speak, should consider the impact of their statements, and should care about how the community is impacted by their choices.

Muscat
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy:

Physician, heal thyself.

Priya Lynn
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy asked “So, to clarify, what “kinds of comments and statements” are people objecting to?”.

I (and I think some others) object to:
“If you have to tell the world about the delights of your peculiarities, don’t do so in a way that can be twisted by anti-gays to be an indictment of every gay person. There just aren’t very many ’special events’ geared towards monogamous vanilla sex so please recognize that your slutty pig ball or feather boa fetishists convention will be perceived as more indicative of our community than it really deserves.”

Its not the fetishists fault that anti-gays take their behavior to be an indictment of every gay person. Blame the anti-gays, not the fetishists.

Also, by juxtaposing the examples of the man that shot his sex partner and the parents taking their children to the Folsom fair you’re suggesting that these two examples of bad behavior are typical of all fetishists. That’s exactly what you were complaining about the anti-gays doing to you – taking a group of people whose behavior is unrelated to your own and claiming it is typical of you. You’re guilty of the same thing you accuse the anti-gays of.

Timothy Kincaid
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn is correct that it is not the fault of various fetishists that anti-gay activist seek to portray them as indicative of the whole gay community. In fact, it’s not their fault that anti-gay activists seek to make even the most playful aspects of fetishes seem creepy or weird.

But we know that folks like Peter LaBarbera are out there. And we know that they will leap on anything they can take out of context to try and present an image of the community that will frighten Joe Six-Pack.

And even regular non-hate-based media will focus on the titillating. They don’t want to interview the soccer mom at Pride, they want the drag queen or the leather daddy and what they want to hear is “we gay people” followed by something outrageous. That makes for good news ratings.

So when fetishists talk about their particular kink, it is important that they do so in a way that makes it clear that they are not speaking for all gay folk. (That also goes for gay Republicans, gay Christians, and gay plumbers, though these groups are less frequently portrayed as frightening).

So, as I said above, when fetishists speak to media, they do have an extra obligation to be clear. Is it fair? Probably not. Is it a higher standard than I place on, say, gay bowlers? Yes.

But, nonetheless, it is a good rule to follow.

As for accusing fetish folk of all having poor judgment, of course I’m not. In the article about the kids (mostly of straight folks) at Folsom, you’ll read that some of the gay kink folk said it was inappropriate.

But I felt it necessary to condemn some inappropriate behavior. If for no other reason, so that the anti-gays can’t say “… and no gay bloggers said a thing”.

Now I know that this clarification will be inadequate for some. And that’s ok too.

Priya Lynn
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, unless most fetishists speaking to the media claim to be speaking for all gay folk (and I don’t think this is the case) you have nothing to criticize them for.

Jarred
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

So, as I said above, when fetishists speak to media, they do have an extra obligation to be clear. Is it fair? Probably not. Is it a higher standard than I place on, say, gay bowlers? Yes.

It’s quite likely an impossible standard as well. The anti-gay reporter will simply edit out such “clarity” and continue distorting. Heck, a reporter is likely to edit out any disclaimer simply for sake of time and space. (Disclaimers make for uninteresting soundbites, after all.)

And I admit that I find the idea that someone into some kind needs to point out that they’re not typical of the gay community a bit laughable. I suspect that most people who are going to assume such a person is typical isn’t going to be swayed by a disclaimer to the contrary.

And again, that’s assuming the disclaimer doesn’t get edited out so it’s never heard in the first place.

Richard Rush
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

I’m guessing that the average American considers vanilla homo-sodomy to be at about the same level of kink or ick-factor as the activity that might occur at a “slutty pig ball or feather boa fetishists convention.” Once that average person has a mental picture of one male mounting another, I don’t think images of BDSM and/or fetishes seem all that more outrageous.

Our opponents are determined to reinforce the image that gayness is exclusively about having sex, sex, sex, and more sex, and their shining a spotlight on these fringe events is one of the best ways they have to graphically do that. After all, when America watches Ellen DeGeneres on TV, they are probably not having mental images of her in a sex act with her spouse.

Burr
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

I don’t get the leather pride thing. Nobody is passing any laws against BDSM to my knowledge, so why draw attention to that sort of thing at pride festivals (which can be as much political as celebratory)? Cross dressers I get because they face discrimination and shame, but leather daddies? It’s not like you wear that gear in public and get discriminated against for it all the other days of the year.

I think this post could have measured its words a little better but is it really that much to ask for a little more conscientiousness and modesty?

Amicus
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Peter LaBarbera is out there? Most groups have learned to take steps not to make it easy for him, haven’t they? On the other hand, why can’t we organize against him, directly? People who go out and lie by omission – sometimes they are the easiest people to discredit, too.

As for asking people to self-censor, a bit, for the common good, it seems almost obvious. But, experience suggests, ‘good luck with that’. There is nothing common about commonsense. Everyone knows how hard it is, sometimes, to ask this-or-that person to please be quiet and play well with others…even the gentlest of requests sometimes creates five-alarm fires.

Should Bruce have not testified, disqualified himself? On practical grounds, probably, yes. After all, ‘politically viable’ is the standard for the “cultural-war” fire pit.

But, as a supporter of the marriage fight, is his set of circumstances what might cause one to pause? I doubt it. But again, no one from Maine or CA have shared their ex-post focus group stuff, making it easier for advocates at large to tailor their messaging, target their fights, … *sigh*

Actually, I’m more worried about the term “militant homosexual” (or ‘homofascist’), because it does look like it dovetails with the “militant feminist” term, creating powerful, unwanted overtones. These are the caustic ‘mental shortcuts’ that people use as a day-to-day means to avoid having to deal…

klaus
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

let me try to explain something…

BDSM needs public visibility because it helps those youngsters or adults who discover some unusual sexual desires to get a positive idea of how they might be able to bring those desires into their life. sounds familar? exactly, it is the same as with public visibility of gay life.

when i grew up, it was a big problem for me that i found only negative pictures of how my future life and identity could look like. would i have to join a group of sinister ugly people and spend my life on the edge of criminality, as the few articles i found in the media suggested? if i would have seen some happy, intelligent, goodlooking perverts having fun on a pride parade when i was young, it would have helped me really a lot and saved me years of unnecessary suffering and doubt. this is not about laws, it is about positive visibility of different erotic ideas to help people making their own free choices and discovering themselves.

and no, it would NOT be enough to find these positive pictures hidden somewhere in the back corner of some university library. they have to be really “public”.

and no, it would also NOT be enough to show only what vanilla people might think of “positive” pictures. erotic phantasies always look totally weird to those who don’t share them. it is us BDSM folks who are to decide what is positive about BDSM. i totally agree that we should think of some limits and respect of other peoples’ taste here. but if we take the limits of “porno pete” or even just any all-american family, we could as well stay in the closet for ever. in our society you cannot get ANY visibility without provocation (and again, the same would be true for the visibility of ANY gay life.)

and yes, it is important that even young people get contact to this (maybe children would not understand, but younger adults will). what makes us think that there are only youngsters who are confused by leather and not also youngsters who are fascinated by it? would you accept the same argumentation if it was about children and gay people? why is leather supposed to be “sex”, when it is just playful erotic dressing? what danger could there be if a youngster watches a couple in leather, as long as there are adults to answer his questions?

no offence intended, but i think this is not about the psychological health of children – again. this is about some unacknowledged fears based on lack of understanding.

(please excuse my bad english, it’s not my mother tongue.)

Burr
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks for addressing my question. I can somewhat understand the motivation then. However in this age of the Internet I’d say exposure to the BDSM scene and more accurate information and discussion about it is far more prevalent, making its conflation with more popular legal and political battles a little more irrelevant.

I don’t quite see the full equivalency between homosexuality and BDSM in the need for public display. The latter is much more about private choices in the bedroom than the former, and seems far more out of context when taken out of it. You’ll run into gay couples holding hands, hugging and kissing because it comes natural to them and because it has nothing to do with sex, which means it’s equal to any heterosexual expression out there.

I don’t see anyone walking around in daily life with a 5 point harness or with someone else leashed to them, gay or straight (after all they’re into it too) and I don’t think that’s solely because of societal pressures or hypocritical intolerance.

Jason D
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

“Or is it simply objection to the idea that perhaps one should think before they speak, should consider the impact of their statements, and should care about how the community is impacted by their choices.”

Timothy, no, my objection is to this(bold is for emphasis):

If you have to tell the world about the delights of your peculiarities, don’t do so in a way that can be twisted by anti-gays to be an indictment of every gay person. There just aren’t very many ’special events’ geared towards monogamous vanilla sex so please recognize that your slutty pig ball or feather boa fetishists convention will be perceived as more indicative of our community than it really deserves. Oh, and don’t let Peter LaBarbera and his ubiquitous camera in the door.

This paragraph is condescending, snide, dismissive, and contains at least one impossible request.

I find it hilarious that someone who says
“perhaps one should think before they speak, should consider the impact of their statements, and should care about how the community is impacted by their choices.

wrote that bullet point and doesn’t see the obvious contradiction. You evidently didn’t think before publishing that, you didn’t consider the impact of that statement, and you absolutely miscalculated the impact of your choice.

Perhaps you should spend more time thinking and less time judging people you know NOTHING about.

Amicus
January 19th, 2010 | LINK

Jason D,

You seem intent to misread Tim – why is that?

The guy has gone out of his way to show that he is not being dismissive, snide, or condescending. And that he’s listening to replies.

grantdale
January 20th, 2010 | LINK

I’d have more sympathy for much of what is being defended here if he’d shot someone in the head 4 days AFTER the testimony. As it was, it was 4 days BEFORE.

Take it as a given that I don’t point guns at people either in jest or as a game.

But if I did, and if I’d shot someone dead a few days before, I certainly wouldn’t be making any public claims about being a suitable role model on a related subject.

Thoughtless is thoughtless, regardless of how you dress.

I can understand how Timothy’s wording (and all too obvious attitudes) will rile some. That wording has also unfortunately also allowed the issue at question to be trivialised into an unrelated back and forth about irrelevant individual sexual practices. Unproductively ironic, given what Timothy had set out to do.

But, that said, I also happen to think that while exhibitionism will often grab the necessary attention it is the sheer banality of the vast majority of our lives that has altered people’s opinions over the past decades. Nobody whose opinions we need to change needs reminding that there are indeed gay people who take drugs, wear leather, engage in BDSM or group sex or have extra sex partners, or behave stupidly and dangerously while doing so.

They don’t need reminding because that is an all too prevalent stereotype. And as even the supporters/defenders/apologists/whatevers have themselves correctly noted: that stereotype comes with a trainload of baggage. I can say that without needing to offer any description of my own life, or even mention where my sympathies lie.

As with many things in life sometimes one needs to pause and ask “Am I the right person to do this?”. All ego aside.

I am still stunned anyone would be standing up in public 4 days after mistakenly shooting someone in the head.

All else aside, I don’t want thoughtless people to represent my case to the public. There is little I could or possibly even would do to prevent it, but I also need not like it.

Jason D
January 20th, 2010 | LINK

“Jason D,

You seem intent to misread Tim – why is that?

The guy has gone out of his way to show that he is not being dismissive, snide, or condescending. And that he’s listening to replies.”

I don’t see how I’m misreading him. How was that first bullet point NOT snide or condescending?

To be completely fair Why is it even necessary? His point about the recklessness and stupidity of this one individual(and accomplices) can be made EASILY without stereotyping and attacking an entire group.

Read the article in the link You’ll find ZERO mention of Bruce or any of his cohorts being involved in a “slutty pig ball” or anyone wearing one. No mention of a feather boa fetish convention either. We don’t know that these particular BDSMs were at Folsom or attended any other public BDSM events.

Tim couldn’t just make the point about these individuals being airheads, it seems to me that he’s making the point that an entire group is airheads. These are the tactics our enemies use, bring up unrelated points so that you can connect one badly behaved person to a bunch of unrelated people and events.
The larger point seems to be that BDSM people badly represent gay people whether they’re going to a convention or shooting someone in the head right before testifying at a public hearing on marriage equality.

grantdale
January 20th, 2010 | LINK

Jason D, cool it. Really.

I happen to think Timothy could have dealt with this more sensibly, but the core still remains.

What in Sam Hill do you imagine the average punter — gay or straight — is to make of the testimony of a gay man who declares he wants to be married, but who has 4 days beforehand mistakenly shot a third party in the head during drugged-up group sex …

Even after near 18 years together I may be missing something in my understanding of “gay” or my own domestic life, but I doubt it.

I honestly cannot see what you are trying to defend here Jason. If you think Timothy was rude and stereotyped people, or you — just say so.

All the rest is a lost cause. And you know it.

Amicus
January 20th, 2010 | LINK

How was that first bullet point NOT snide or condescending?
=======
I see. I think it is just a language set of issues.

The word “peculiar” is fully descriptive, you are just reading overtones into it that are not _necessarily_ there.

Fetishes by definition are not general traits, they are ‘peculiar’ to each individual. [Same with 'oddball' and 'freak' - they don't *have* to be negative connotations.]

“Indictment” is probably descriptive of how antigay people handle the information, putting it up as a purported fact-based judgment, i.e. an “indictment”.

Myself, I’m willing to give leeway on ‘slutty pig’, because, not only have some individuals adopted that as part of their come-on appeal, but I believe something like it actually showed up in an event name that the wingnuts freaked out about loudly, once.

All the stuff not related directly to Bruce, who is referenced in the headline, isn’t gratuitous, if it is on people’s mind about the whole set of similar issues.

One could take the tone of it a little snippy, but not a judgment on a whole group. I think the point is “…will be perceived as more indicative of our community than it really deserves”. And that’s accurate – parts of the opposition do seize every opportunity to distort, scandalize, and put anything lewd-to-Granny or salacious-to-the-self-denied upfront.

You are right in noting above, though, something I didn’t think about. It’s not limited to dildos, et. al. Frankly, anyone who isn’t actively involved in pursuing a Christian lifestyle, as some among them perceive it (often a public pretense to piety is sufficient for them), is ripe for parody and attack. “ACLU” and “PBS” is being flung at even experts in District Court right now. The “Gay Agenda” and “Leftwing Agenda” are just code for godlessness, sin, and filth, right (even though it is our godless Constitution that guarantees all of them the right to free speech and assembly, i.e. both non-Christian values, ahem)?

Points about how and why the gay community are more open about sexuality could be developed further, in terms of ways to explain that openness frankly and candidly to our “critics” and make counter-claims to their propaganda.

klaus
January 20th, 2010 | LINK

burr, i’m happy that i obviously could help you understand a bit more of my opinion here. thanks for your feedback.

still i have to answer to some of your arguments.

you’re absolutely right, the internet helped a huge lot with the accessibility to positive information about BDSM. still it is something totally different if you can read something on the net or meet real people on the streets of your town in broad daylight. only meeting real people in real life makes things feel real. this experience cannot ever be subsituted, not for gays and neither for BDSM folks.

you’re also right that there is no full equivalency between homosexuality and BDSM. still it is not a fundamentally different level. for example, i know a couple who DOES walk in public with a leash. this comes as “natural” to them as comes kissing for other couples, and it is not more – or less – “sexual” than kissing. it is simply the expression of their relationship.

ever noticed how some straight people judge anything we gay folks do to be something “sexual” or “unnatural”? well… ;-)

actually, the reason why you hardly ever see harnesses or leashes in public, is exactly what you suppose it’s not: social pressures and intolerance. and this has to be changed. there is no harm done to anyone by people who wear a harness or a leash, as there is no harm done by visibly gay people.

in a society that is so eager to freak out about any public display of anything without the blessing of old religious texts, it is simply impossible not to provocate if you want to work on a free society. so my strategy would be: just do your thing. watch reactions carefully. if you notice a real problem (and i wouldn’t count porno pete into this category) try to solve it. but the answer cannot be to make yourself invisible and shut up in favour of the convenience of others who don’t understand and don’t care. the only answer can be to go there and talk.

understanding and tolerance will never come from hiding.

Priya Lynn
January 20th, 2010 | LINK

Grantdale said “I’d have more sympathy for much of what is being defended here if he’d shot someone in the head 4 days AFTER the testimony.”.

I can’t believe you guys would make such a dumb statement. No one is defending the man who shot his sex partner in the head, we all agree he was incredibly stupid and wrong. The problem here is Timothy’s bringing up that incident as though it is representative of all fetishists. That’s exactly what he was complaining about the anti-gays doing – using the behavior of a minority of gays as though it was representative of all gays. The fetishists aren’t to blame for the one man who shot his sex partner in the head – Jeeez!

Chris McCoy
January 20th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid said:

So when fetishists talk about their particular kink, it is important that they do so in a way that makes it clear that they are not speaking for all gay folk. (That also goes for gay Republicans, gay Christians, and gay plumbers, though these groups are less frequently portrayed as frightening).

This screams too much of “I hate that people I don’t like are representing me.”

So, as I said above, when fetishists speak to media, they do have an extra obligation to be clear. Is it fair? Probably not. Is it a higher standard than I place on, say, gay bowlers? Yes.

Higher standard? More like Double Standard.

But, nonetheless, it is a good rule to follow.

No it’s not.
This is exactly why we all called foul when HRC tried to sacrifice the T in GLBT in order to make ENDA more palatable to the conservatives.

Freedom is not the absence of tension, it’s the presence of justice.

Freedom for ourselves at the expense of the inconvenient is not freedom at all.

But I felt it necessary to condemn some inappropriate behavior. If for no other reason, so that the anti-gays can’t say “… and no gay bloggers said a thing”.

As Olsen/Boies pointed out in their opening remarks, even convicted murderers are allowed the right to marriage.

CPT_Doom
January 20th, 2010 | LINK

The really interesting thing that I have found is that the straight people who get the closest look at the Leather community at an event like MAL or IML, e.g., the staff at the host hotels, invariably walk away with incredibly positive impressions of us. Again and again I have met staff people who were working an event for the 1st time and were incredibly anxious about it. Without fail by the end of the event they think we’re great – friendly, outgoing, good tippers, etc. You can see that in the competition from hotels to host the events – it isn’t just the $$ that they want, they know the event will be one of the most positive they will host.

It is also true that the Leather Community is the least racist, agist, sexist, etc. that I have ever come across. The gay subculture is generally far too focused on the young and hot; that is not the case of the Leather Community.

Now, I totally understand Timothy’s point, because of course we’re going to be fodder for the haters, but the only answer to that cannot be to put the onus only on the Leather Community to counter that. More mainstream members of the LGBT world must also A) defend the rights of all adults to engage in whatever consenting sexual acts they may want and B) counter the argument that one’s sexual selections are some kind of window on their character and value as an American citizen. Just prior to the invasion of Iraq, the anti-gay right went after one of the weapons’ inspectors for being part of the straight BDSM community – arguing he could not do his job because of his sexual interests. That is the kind of argument we must attack as false.

grantdale
January 20th, 2010 | LINK

Priya — attack Timothy’s or our opinions all you like. But please refrain from using ‘dumb’ as an insult. People without speech are not (all) stupid.

Yes, he was complaining about what the anti-gays will do with this. That, I think, was a main point. A correct point.

However I got no indication that Timothy personally thinks “that incident” — another poor choice of words from you — was typical of any group. Where did he say that?

It’s rather simple Priya: should Bruce Lavallee-Davidson have presented himself in testimony on behalf of gay people four days after shooting a man in the head in those circumstances?

Yes, or no?

Priya Lynn
January 20th, 2010 | LINK

I already answered your question Grantdale, Lavallee-Davidson was wrong and stupid – you just dreamed up this idea that anyone was defending him.

“I got no indication that Timothy personally thinks “that incident” — another poor choice of words from you — was typical of any group. Where did he say that?”

He started out with a general condemnation of fetishists and then went on about Lavallee-Davidson. If his point was solely about him then he should have skipped saying this:

“If you have to tell the world about the delights of your peculiarities, don’t do so in a way that can be twisted by anti-gays to be an indictment of every gay person. There just aren’t very many ’special events’ geared towards monogamous vanilla sex so please recognize that your slutty pig ball or feather boa fetishists convention will be perceived as more indicative of our community than it really deserves.”

and skipped saying “you should in turn respect how your behavior impacts my rights.”

And I never said you were dumb, I said your comment “I’d have more sympathy for much of what is being defended here if he’d shot someone in the head 4 days AFTER the testimony” was dumb and it most certainly was. Wake up, no one was defending Lavallee-Davidson.

Richard Rush
January 20th, 2010 | LINK

As most commenters here seem to be saying, it is most unfortunate that Timothy chose to present the story of the horrific Lavallee-Davidson incident, and then go on to link it with various other traits among some gays that he finds distasteful. I agree. The Lavallee-Davidson incident is surely in a singular class by itself.

I must admit, though, that I agree with SOME of Timothy’s points to SOME degree SOME of the time.

Although I am personally about as boringly vanilla as anyone can be, I’m not comfortable with throwing those under the bus who don’t fit the mold of being just like everyone else except for the itty-bitty detail of being gay. One year ago I wrote this as part of a comment here at BTB concerning a story about Mike Jones, the prostitute who exposed Ted Haggard:

Sometimes I think we are becoming so desperate for acceptance by straights that we are willing to abandon those on the fringes. I was thinking of this last year when many were eager to throw the transgendered under the bus in order to get ENDA passed. The T’s are certainly the most vulnerable of the LGBTs and need protection more than the rest of us. I think the people who stormed out of the Stonewall in 1969 would be disgusted with us.

Also in relation to all this, the Gay Patriot blog comes to mind where I think the writer’s and most of their reader’s mindset is, “I don’t want those damn gay liberals to represent me. Except for the itty-bitty detail that I’m unfortunately gay, I’m just like Republican Christians, and I’m willing kiss their asses 24/7 to prove it.”

grantdale
January 21st, 2010 | LINK

Priya — I’m going to ask you one more time, politely, to stop using ‘dumb’ as a synonym for ‘stupid’. Dumb is an older word for people who are non-verbal, and still in relatively common use. As in “deaf and dumb”.

Can you even see the hypocrisy in demanding that Timothy cease stereotyping while you are repeatedly — and obliviously — doing the same?

I don’t care if you do call me stupid, frankly, but don’t call me or my opinions ‘dumb’. That’s just gay.

Priya Lynn
January 21st, 2010 | LINK

Grantdale, I didn’t say you or your opinions were dumb, I said your statement “I’d have more sympathy for much of what is being defended here if he’d shot someone in the head 4 days AFTER the testimony” was dumb and it most certainly was.

Timothy Kincaid
January 21st, 2010 | LINK

grantdale,

You do know that you are wasting your time, don’t you?

Priya Lynn
January 21st, 2010 | LINK

dumb  Pronunciation [duhm] adjective, -er, -est, verb

–adjective 1. lacking intelligence or good judgment; stupid; dull-witted.
2. lacking the power of speech (often offensive when applied to humans): a dumb animal.
3. temporarily unable to speak: dumb with astonishment.
4. refraining from any or much speech; silent.
5. made, done, etc., without speech.
6. lacking some usual property, characteristic, etc.
7. performed in pantomime; mimed.
8. Computers. pertaining to the inability to do processing locally: A dumb terminal can input, output, and display data, but cannot process it. Compare intelligent (def. 4).

grantdale
January 21st, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, yes of course. If I chiselled it into a wrecking ball I doubt even that would make a dent in such a thick skull.

But apparently offensive terms become inoffensive if a dictionary lists the commonly used offensive term. I’m going to remember that: will come in mighty handy the next time I cannot bring myself to simply apologise for gross insensitivity.

This whole conversation is gay.

Jason D
January 21st, 2010 | LINK

“Jason D, cool it. Really.

I honestly cannot see what you are trying to defend here Jason. If you think Timothy was rude and stereotyped people, or you — just say so.”

Grantdale, do you really not see it? Really? You read that and didn’t see an obvious, textbook bigot example of connecting the dots between unrelated groups in order to attack the lot of them?

I’m standing up for the BDSM folks who are plainly being pulled through the ringer.

I don’t look at BDSM people and think they’re badly representing me.

You know what I do when I think I’m being misrepresented?

I act.

I don’t complain.

I don’t whine.

I act.

I stand up for myself. I don’t ask others to sit down, or consider sitting down, or consider wearing a disclaimer while they stand. Timothy is applying a double standard, and apparently very few are willing to call him on that.

Timothy has no right to ask these folks to change in order to please him. But that’s what he’s doing nonetheless.
What he should do is grow a pair and represent himself.

How is his double standard any better, any different than the ones that are applied to gay people en mass by our enemies?

And I think you are right, this is a lost cause, as apparently people give Timothy leeway they’d never give to someone like Maggie Gallagher, even though they’re starting to sound alike.

Priya Lynn
January 21st, 2010 | LINK

Grantdale, you make a dumb comment and somone might call it dumb – get over it.

Priya Lynn
January 21st, 2010 | LINK

And Grantdale, if you’re going to whine about people being offensive it takes away from your credibility when you accuse others of having thick skulls.

Burr
January 21st, 2010 | LINK

You know what, I think you’re ultimately right, klaus.

And really, I don’t have a problem with leather events on their own and can understand the value they have as you explain. I just get anxious when it mixes with other causes, but in the end we all have to get over it.

Besides, the more tolerance shown to the BDSM community in the general, the easier it becomes to criticize those who truly do cross the line and maintain integrity instead of allowing them to hide behind claims of intolerance and a sort of defensive tribalism.

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