Thoughts on Community

Posted on 5 January 2011

There's been a lot of discussion about the Leather Community in the fallout of this year's IML. If you're out of the loop, this year's IML winner is a transgendered man who uses a wheelchair. Let the record show that I think this is awesome.

I learned a lot about community from my college fraternity. Hazing jokes/fantasies aside, I'm still pretty involved with the fraternity; it's done a lot to shape who I am today. One of my more powerful experiences was discussing community at Undergraduate InterFraternity Institute. They defined it like this:

A dynamic whole that emerges when a group of people: participate in common practices; depend upon one another; make decisions together; identify themselves as something larger than the sum of their individual relationships; and commit themselves for the long term to their own, one another's, and the group's well being.

Which is a lot of fluff and bullshit. But the main thing I want to convey is that even with the broader pansexual BDSM community, we've all got similar interests, similar experiences, and similar challenges. We have similar formative and self-realization experiences. And in this society, we have a significant uphill battle to express our sexuality. We have to look out for each other's well being, even reaching across gender and fetish boundaries, whether we like it or not we are inextricably linked.

That I think creates a bond much deeper than any college fraternity. It's far more important than any particular gender, or fetish. I consider my fellow kinks to be brothers and sisters, people worthy of respect and dignity. We've all struggled to be who we are, and we're all struggling to figure out how best to express it. These are the things that make us a community.

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