Being “out” about the aspects of your personal identity that deviate from the majority of society is a risk that should be calculated. There are a litany of societal constructs that make being yourself difficult, no matter how affirming or positive it may be. What’s more, is that being “out” raises a kind of risk that is not just limited to yourself. Taking the time to determine the aforementioned risk is tantamount to self-care as you strive to keep your best interests at heart.
Sex positivity in any form is difficult when you consider the patriarchal, puritanical and intolerant world we all live in. However, being visible about sex positivity can have amazing results. Someone who is dealing with sexual shame may be inspired to embrace their sexuality. Another person may strive to communicate about the kind of sexual interactions they desire where they had not done so previously.
Unfortunately, visibility isn’t always a good thing. Being out can have dire consequences for many individuals. It is for this reason that being out is a privilege that should never be taken for granted.
Here are some questions and a look at a few instances of risk:
- Why do you want to be out?
- Can being out about kink adversely affect your life?
- Do you want to be out irl or just online? Remember, the internet is forever.
- Are you prepared for gross misunderstandings, ignorance and disregard for your humanity by the uninformed?
- Are you prepared to be possibly objectified? Fetishized?
- Do you have children?
- Are you prepared for them, their friends or their friends’ parents to come across you at some point? Are you prepared for any teachers or administrators?
- Are you prepared for your love of kink to be possibly used against you in reference to your kids?
- What kind of job do you have? What do you think would happen if you were discovered?
- Does what your family think matter to you?
- Where do you live? Is it safe to be out where you are?
It’s important for me to illustrate that being “out” has levels to it. It does not have to be a “loud and proud” sort of thing. As you assess risk, you’ll be able to act accordingly.
Consider these examples:
- You are entitled to privacy even when “out”
- Never revealing your location in any form. Withhold or lie when able
- Being out is not synonymous with showing ones face. You can be out and headless/wear a mask.
- Never photograph pictures of tattoos if possible
- Where you go can heighten or decrease the possibility of discovery. There’s a difference between house kink parties, the local dungeon and regional conventions
- Make sure you’re privy to any photography taken at an event and steps needed to avoid being photographed
- Think about the locations you take kinky photography and the angles, background, etc. Someone can recognize your home or the area you live in
- If you are striving to be visible for sex work, establish safety protocols including using VPNs or secure email services like ProtonMail.
No amount of being out is with the risk of you have interests to protect. I know you may feel invisible at times, but I want to acknowledge that I see you and think about you. Despite your ability to be out, you matter to me just as much as the next visible kinkster, if not more. Being out is a privilege not everyone gets to exercise. I hope that your life is full of positive, affirming kinky people regardless of visibility. You are part of my community too, wherever you are.