Open Letter

An Open Letter To All Kinksters: Please Stop Co-Opting LGBTQ Oppression

I’m literally at the point of begging you. Please stop it.

The very concept of outing someone is rooted in LGBTQ history. Save for when someone is as out as they can be (as I am), is socially read as trans* (as I often am), or when a person is caught in the act of a homoerotic/queer encounter (as I unfortunately am not very often), LGBTQs are not socially visible as LGBTQs, and thus not readily identifiable upon visual inspection alone as members of a systemically oppressed and marginalized group of people — unlike visibly racialized individuals. This conceptualization is the entire root of how one is at risk of being outed as a lesbian, bisexual, gay, trans* person, or queer.

But kinksters, especially straight white cisgendered middle class kinksters who make up the majority of the public kink scene these days, you are not systematically oppressed by virtue of your interest in kink, and I am sick and fucking tired of watching you — especially the straight white cisgendered middle class individuals among you — co-opt the experience of sexuality-and gender-diversity-based oppression to complain about violations to your expectations of privacy and discretion. The effect of you diluting the very concept of outing in this manner, is both trivializing the oppressions experienced by LGBTQs throughout history and into the present day, and taking the power out of your own words! For what is it to “out” a straight white cisgendered male kinkster, assuming that’s even possible, if not to compare the consequences he faces by virtue of having his privacy violated, to the very serious threats and repercussions sanctioned against LGBTQs for being dragged against their will out of the closet and exposed to the light of day?! And what meaning could that comparison possibly bear if by making the comparison in the first place, you’ve just dramatically reduced the scale and magnitude of its social impact?!

Cut that shit out, and stop pretending it’s your right to co-opt this language, and this concept, and redefine it to further your own privileged goals. Stop coming up with excuses for amplifying your privilege at every available opportunity. Stop trying to declare status as an oppressed group when the evidence is pervasive that your First World Problems are simply not a form of systemic oppression, but the direct consequences of collectively ignoring virtually every way in which the majority of you are privileged. You’ve already collectively co-opted Old Guard protocol and language from the gay leather community, and misappropriated the hanky code (you don’t see the irony here?), and co-opted the very idea of a leather family, from LGBTQs; and this is all after you appropriated everything kink was to LGBTQs, to serve a majority of cisgendered white heterosexuals who needed something to do on a Saturday night. Haven’t you stolen enough?

Yes, there are real-world consequences, many of which are quite troubling, for people whose privacy is violated. For the sake of fuck, we live in a world where a U.S. President was nearly thrown out of office over a blowjob. But you know what didn’t happen to him? Systemic oppression.

Edit: I said he was thrown out. He wasn’t. I was young at the time that this happened, and this was an error of inaccuracy on my part. I have made the correction as a result. Ironically, this correction only further emphasizes my existing point.

What happened to Bill Clinton shook up his marriage and nearly resulted in him being deposed from the seat of the country’s leadership, which he had earned in a legal democratic election. Every detail about his private life that people could get their grimy hands on became public knowledge. I have little doubt that it struck him as extremely invasive, sensationalist, egregiously offensive, and particularly stressful. But neither he nor any straight white cisgendered male in the country received death threats for suddenly being exposed as people who take erotic pleasure from getting their cocks sucked by a consenting member of the opposite sex. Police didn’t start raiding clubs that they knew were predominantly attended by straight white cisgendered persons trying to cruise each other, to protect and serve the shit out of all of them. Heterosexuality as a sexual orientation was never classified as a psychiatric sexual dysfunction in need of a dehumanizing “cure”, and people were never rounded up on suspicion of being straight and thrown into padded cells until they would denounce their romantic and sexual inclinations towards people of the opposite sex.

Straight-bashing wasn’t a Thing™ before Clinton and it still isn’t. Kids aren’t killing themselves by the dozen, because other kids are unrelentingly antagonistic towards them for being attracted to the opposite sex. Kids aren’t ganging up and beating straight kids to beat the straight out of them. People don’t lose relationships with their own families and all their close friends for announcing their heterosexuality. There was never a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of keeping straightness as secret as possible in the military, teachers don’t lose their jobs when parents of the children they influence find out that they’re straight, and churches don’t insist that being forced to marry straight people is an infringement of their religious freedoms. There’s no abusive slang for someone who is heterosexual.

And you know what? Almost all of this of this is true of kinksters, but none of it is true of LGBTQs.

Every time you claim oppressed/victim status that equates the trouble a minority of kinksters experience to the oppression LGBTQs experience, you are essentially putting all LGBTQs on notice for claims of false oppression. And in the same gesture, you are eliminating the power of what you have to say by negating the value of your comparison. If experience has taught me anything, it’s that doing shit like this is what makes people call you names, act like you’re icky and untrustworthy, and reject you in the most sensationalist ways possible. If not for LGBTQs (whose oppression, experience, history, language, culture, and insight you clearly do not value), for yourselves: just fucking stop it.

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