Thursday, October 31, 2013

Inclusively… and not being an Asshole

Not long ago, I wrote about the balance we need between inclusively and exclusivity.
I concluded: “It’s stupid to say that every club/event/party needs to be pansexual and inclusive… and it’s stupid to say that none should be.  Not every group or space needs to be open to everybody at all times and that is okay.  Balance is good.  All of that being said, there is a form of exclusivity that, I believe, has no place in our community.  The we-are-better-than-you bullshit.  I’ve not encountered a lot of this first-hand, but I’m hearing (second hand) about this going on a lot more.  This attitude of our way is the TRUE way.  If you don’t do M/s like this then you’re not a TRUE Master/slave.”

This point has also come up in different ways in many of the recent episodes of No Safe Word.  One of the great things about that podcast is that (in addition to being fun and entertaining) it’s very inclusive and (small-d) democratic.  They bring on guests from all kinds of backgrounds and fetishes and sub-groups: letherati, puppies, furries, switches, ABDL, erotic hypnosis, piss players…  Frequently, I’ll look at the topic of the show and go, “Eh, not interested… but I’ll give it a chance…” and then halfway through the show, I’m totally hooked – not b/c the topic is ABDL or whatever, but b/c the conversation is just lively and interesting and fun.  But back to what I was saying: Several times in recent shows this theme of inclusively has come up.  I’ll point toward two:  The interview w/ Dart (Episode 45) was very good.  For instance: He’s a switch and has been slave to a Master while simultaneously Master to his own slave… and he’d go to leather events wearing both his Master’s cap and his collar at the same time, and this would give the TRUE Leather Path jerks conniption fits.  LOL.  Another great episode was talking furries w/ Nightcat (Ep. 48).  There’s a lot of overlap between the puppy community and the furry community… and if Old-school Leather is at the top of the kink hierarchy – the popular kids and the captain of the football team and shit – and rubber in the mid-zone; puppies, diaper fetishists, and furries are the nerds, geeks, and weirdoes at the bottom of the heap, so there’s some inherent solidarity between pups, furs and littles.  But one of the things Nightcat talked about was that most furries are kinky, and almost all of those kinky furries are into stuff other than just fur suits: bondage, piss play, humiliation, etc.  So if you disregard and discount someone just b/c they are furry, that’s stupid of you b/c (1) they might be a cool person, and (2) you may have other kinky interests in common you could hook-up over.

Just like No Safe Word has brought in a wide range of guests, that’s also very much what we’ve traditionally done w/ the education line-up at CAPEX.  I’ve frequently said that, for my money, CAPEX, my home club, is the top education group in the Southeast.  Part of that is b/c we cater to a wide spectrum and we deliberately bring in presenters from all aspects of the greater fetish/BDSM community.  CAPEX isn’t a leather club (like the Tradesmen).  It’s not an M/s group (like Charlotte’s MAST).  It’s not a bondage group (like Cable), or a fem dom group (like Charlotte Fem Dom Society).  CAPEX is there for everybody, and I love that.  (1) That’s a great way to learn.  Just about every CAPEXian who has been around for a couple of years will have at least one story about a “That’s not my thing” class they reluctantly went to – and were surprised to get something out of it.  (2)  You might meet someone who is into something you’re not but still make a good connection, maybe become friends, maybe find that they are into something you are into as well.

That’s what I love about CAPEX.  That’s what I love about the No Safe Word podcast.  And that’s also (I’ll insert another plug here… no, that wasn’t a euphemism) what I love about Frolicon.  Frolicon is by far my favorite con in part b/c it is by far the most inclusive con I’ve been to.  I love that there are leather folks and boot-blacks mingling w/ puppies and furriers and rubber fetishists and diaper fetishists and swingers and drunken hedonists.  It’s fucking fantastic!  And (virtually) everybody at Frolicon is so open and cool and non-judgmental.  And the breadth of classes offered at Frolicon (from self-publishing erotica to furry fan art to boot-blacking to a whiskey and cigar tasting) is far greater than any other kink convention I’ve been to.  (And it typically falls w/in a week or two of me and Shdwkitten’s birthdays.)

Earlier I compared CAPEX to the Tradesmen, Cable, Charlotte Fem Dom, etc.  Is CAPEX right and those groups wrong?  Hell, no.  As I said: It’s stupid to say that every club/event/party needs to be pansexual and inclusive… and it’s stupid to say that none should be.  The bottom line is: Don’t be a snob.  Don’t be a jerk.  Don’t be that idiot that Race Bannon rather un-wisely re-posted on his blog.  Don’t be an asshole.  We are all in a sub-group in a sub-group of a minority.  The least we can do is be cool to our fellow sub-sub-sub-groupies.

Friday, October 25, 2013

This is why we March

The following was recently posted on a social networking site I'm on:

"My family found out awhile back that I was bi. So naturally a christian family said I was messed up in the head and took me to see a conceler and he said "Nothing is wrong with him". So my family let me go to college, I was lucky to go to [private Baptist] University. Now my family wants to pull me out of college because they found out I'm still Bi and that I want to be a pup. And the worst part is my own father is kicking me out of my family on Monday I may not have a home anymore. Can anyone give me advice on what to do I'm sad, heartbroken and just plain confused with what I should do next. Please help."

Two days later, the same person (who is 20 years-old - and adverse to punctuation) posted this:

"I found a solution paying for [private Baptist U] is too much over $25,000 is too much it's a pirvate college I'm moving away ill get a job earn money for a year pay for a community college and be happy with my life as to how my family found out about my life they had spiwere on my computer about 2 or 3 years ago they found out. I've been to over 12 theopists all trying to get me to no longer be Bi or into any fetish they sent me to camps that taught kids that gays were sin and the army of satin for about 2-3 years I've lived in hell I hacked my computer so my family can't put spiwere on my computer anymore and well it's sad I have to leave my family to be happy but it's something I have to do I have to step up and be a man not some wimp that everyone can push around I hope I see everyone in the future it's going to be a Long bus ride"

Today, I responded:

I hope you are doing well. I was glad to read that you were leaving [private Baptist U] (almost certainly the wrong place for you to be). Community college is a great option.

I can only echo what others have said – but nonetheless I feel compelled to do so.

Know that there is nothing wrong w/ you; there is something wrong w/ them and you almost certainly won’t be able to fix them.

Know that you have every right to distance yourself from them as much as you feel you need to. I’m guessing that’s not easy, but you have every right to do what is best and healthy for you. My best friend, who is gay, broke virtually all contact w/ his biological family when he was in his early twenties (about 20 years ago now). He is fond of saying, “The family you’re born w/ is like the cards you get dealt in a game of poker: you can’t choose the cards, but you can choose not to keep them.”

Most importantly, know that you aren’t alone. Certainly one of the best things to come from the internet is that it allows those like us to connect w/ others like us. Stay connected. Keep us posted. We’re pulling for you.

And if you ever feel like you want to talk to a complete stranger (but a completely sympathetic stranger) don’t hesitate to message me.

Take care.
Pup Emrys

I thought of the Pride Parade a couple of weeks back. I thought of being on all fours in pup-gear, marching (and trotting) on-leash in front of literally thousands of people.  And I thought: This is why we march.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Atlanta Pride Weekend

Last weekend, Ma’am and I went to our first Atlanta Pride… and (spoiler) we had a great time!  Whoo-hoo!

Friday (Party)

Friday night, we got things rolling w/ Sir’s Pride Kick-off Party.  Ma’am and I were supposed to drive down together, but she got stuck late at work (due to computer failures), so I went on down myself, and she followed about 4 or 5 hours behind me (picking-up our Poet along the way).

I got to see a lot of great people at the party, and I enjoyed playing Cards Against Humanity w/ some of them.  There was, of course, lots of drinking – imagine that!  I had extra fun bantering w/ my pal Max (whom I’ve known approximately forever) b/c when Max gets drunk he gets loud and starts telling everyone his life story.  When Sir gets drunk he gets loud and bite-y.  Well… more bite-y.  I think our Saint Bernard reached the point where he would bite anybody who came within striking distance.  We probably should have muzzled him.  :P  Ma’am and Poet didn’t arrive until most of the guests had left, but there were enough of us around to have some laughs, my Owner rapidly caught up w/ our drinking, and we had some fun time in Sir’s hot tub.

Saturday (Pride booths… and more Drinking)

Saturday morning started w/ sexy-fun-time in bed w/ a Poet, a Kitten, and a Wolfhound.  Then we took our Dalmatian with us to breakfast before we all went to Pride to wander among the exhibitor booths.  We met-up w/ Max and Jake… and ran in to various other cool folks from the Dominion crowed, Panthers, Team Friendly, etc.  By 3:00 we were hungry and Sir, Bishop and Gwynn had all finished their shift at the Team Friendly tent, so we all went to get some yummy Asian food before heading on out to Bishop and Gwynn’s house (after a stop-off at Sir’s where I got the backing piece on my Atlanta Dominion pin which I lost someplace).  Bishop and Gwynn have a great house… and a puppy pillow the size of a king size mattress!!!!  We called dibs on that, and Ma’am, Poet, and I slept there… but not before another fun night of fire spinning, drinking, playing Cards Against Humanity, and having lots of fun – minus Max and Jake, because after dinner they went back into town to go clubbing/cruising and were never seen again… so either something really bad happened to them or something really good.

Sunday (Parade)

The morning began with me getting into Bishop’s underwear.  ;)  Then we had to head back into town for the Pride Parade.  Sir had invited us to march w/ the Southeast leather groups behind the Panthers’ float.  (As I said: It’s my first Pride, so may as well begin by marching in the parade, right?)  The logistics of getting there was tricky.  We had to take two cards: Bishop ridding w/ me and Poet riding w/ Shdwkitten.  Placing the two puppies in the lead car didn’t result in the smoothest journey, especially as the plan kept changing on he fly.  (We got a message that there was no parking left at the Eagle… then we decided to park here and do this… then we thought we’d park there and do that… then – oh, look! Squirrel!)  Once we finally got parked, my exasperated Owner, getting out of her car, exclaimed, “How do puppies ever get anywhere or do anything that requires any form of organizing!?”

I simply answered: “Loki.”

Fifteen minutes later, when we found Sir, Ma’am just walked up to him and said, “You can take charge of the pups now! I’m done!”  LOL.

(For the record: I’m the well-behaved one.  Sir has said so.)

So we met everybody at the parade staging area an hour before the step-off time.  I was very amused to see that the PETA group (“Fur is a Drag!”) was positioned right next to the leather floats!  LOL.  Then I was informed that that the Anti-circumcision people were put next to the LBGT Jewish group.  LOL.  Whoever organized this parade definitely had a sense of humor.  We (the Eagle float, the Panthers’ float, and then those of us on foot representing mixed leather groups) were close to the back of the parade, so it was actually about two hours before we got moving, so we found a wall in the shade were Ma’am sat, Poet perched, and I (w/ gear on) lay down on the cool concrete for a little puppy nap.

I was wearing my tail, leather puppy hood, pads, and “paws.”  I know a lot of pups like volleyball pads, but my favored knee pads are skateboard pads, designed for skidding on pavement, so they not only cushion, they turn impact into a little slide, really protecting my knees.  (I tend to do more walking on my toes rather than knees – I can move faster that way – so my knees tend to just skid as I move.

So, before we ever stepped-off, I noticed that lost my CAPEX pin.  *Growl*  This is why I don’t have eight million pins on my vest.  Having just replaced the back of my Dominion pin and now having completely lost my CAPEX pin, I seem to have no luck w/ pins, so I’m trying to keep just a small, personally significant number: my wolfhound pin, and my CAPEX & Atlanta Dominion pins (my two primary clubs).  I’ll now have to replace my CAPEX pin at our next event…

Everybody loves a parade!  I’ve never marched in a parade of any kind, much less marching/“crawling” in pup gear, led on leash by my lovely Owner in front of literally thousands of people.  It was a fantastically fun experience!  I noticed my Owner was smiling and giddy the whole time as well.  It’s very hard not to feel really, really good when you’re marching along and thousands of people are waving, smiling, and cheering you – of course they aren’t cheering you; they and you are celebrating and cheering an idea.  But you certainly can’t help but feel very good and very optimistic.

By necessity, I walked most of the parade on two legs… but whenever we came to a momentary halt or slowed down, I dropped to all fours.  Many times (and I absolutely loved this) when I dropped to all fours the crowd around us erupted in a roar of cheers.  That got my tail wagging, for sure!  (“Puppy” is another word for “attention whore.”)  There were several fun, cool, silly moments along the parade, but definitely one I will never forget was when a family allowed their little girl (she was maybe four or five) to come out into the street to see me and pet me.  I thought that was just so cool.  :D

Unfortunately, we didn’t think to get a photo of us on our phone, so I’m searching online hoping a good picture of Shdwkitten and I will turn up, since we did get photographed a lot.  Sir posted the group photo of the SE Leather Contingent on his Fet at .  Way over on the right you can see the lovely Shdwkitten in green and a rather tall wolfhound standing right behind her.  I also spotted us on 11-Alive’s coverage of the parade at .  In Part 5, skip 21 minutes in and you see the Eagle float and then the Panthers float go by, and right after that Ma’am walking a very tired puppy on leash (this was near the end).

If anybody spots a picture of us in the parade anywhere else online, please let me know.

The parade was about 2 miles.  My knee pads and “paws” (MMA fighting gloves) held up rather well – but I seriously wrecked the toes of my boots crawling over pavement.  (I am a bootblack’s nightmare.)  But the fun we had was well worth the sacrifice.