Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Charlotte MAsT: How to be Exclusive w/o Drama

So there’s been a fracas on Fet over the Charlotte MAsT chapter switching to a more exclusive and vetted group strictly for those in live-together M/s relationships.  Let’s start w/ this: Personally, I’ve never been to a MAsT meeting.  I was invited a few times, years ago, by Master_Kevin.  I declined because I’m not a “slave” and I’m not in an M/s relationship – I’m a puppy, the pet of my fantastic Owner and a beta in the pack of my way cool Alpha.  Kevin, at that time, assured me that this was no biggie b/c everyone who had something to contribute of whatever relationship type was welcome.  Obviously the thinking has changed since then and the decision was made to take the group in a new direction – but the point I wanted to start w/ is that I have never been to a MAsT meeting and never really had an interest in one.  This pup has no dog in this fight, okay?

But it does touch on something I’ve been blogging about for a little while.

Here 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.  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.   If you’re not old-school leather then you’re not the real deal – you’re just a kinkster.  What a bunch of BS!  That’s a kind of exclusivity that we don’t need anywhere… I can say “M/s is not any better than other kinky dynamics,” and still support a MAST chapter which is an exclusively M/s group… b/c it’s not a blanket rejection (i.e. 'the rest of you aren’t as good as us'); it’s just a definition of what kind of group you have.”

And here I said: “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! … 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.”

Look, I’m Mr. Inclusively.  I’m not “traditional” Old Leather – I’m very New Leather (or, as I prefer, Leather Light).  In my family (recently conveniently flow-charted by Loki – which cracks me up) we have straights, gays, and bisexuals.  Men and women.  We have baby boomers, gen-x’ers, and millennials.  We have furries, puppies, kittens, concubines, Alphas, boys, slaves, primals and poets.  We’re a diverse family and we like it!  As I like to say: Nature loves diversity even when society tends to prefer sameness.  But diversity is healthy.
Does that mean I will never support or attend exclusive venues?  No.  One of my favorite gigs is Atlanta Dominion, Atlanta’s only recurring ALL MALE dungeon party.  Now, it is kind of a bummer that my Owner can’t attend and that my female wolf puppy pack-mate can’t attend… However, everybody understands that Dominion isn’t excluding females b/c it’s some elitist bullshit and the guys who run it (who happen to be my Sir and his Mentor) aren’t just being stuck-up pricks or anything.  Rather, they (Sir and Master Dan) saw there was a need in the community for this venue and they stepped-up to fill that niche.  (And they’ve done it so well that the group has steadily grown; this month’s was the largest turn-out yet.  Go us!)  THAT’S what I meant about “Don’t be an asshole.”  It’s one thing to say, “We are restricting this group to X demographic b/c that’s our niche” – Whippersnappers, for example, is age 20 to 39 only – but it’s entirely different to say (or come across like), “We are superior to you and our way is the TRUE way.”  I’ll say it again, there is no place for that kind of BS in our community and people who act like that deserve to be called out.

A few months ago I lost a lot of respect for Race Bannon b/c, in my eyes, he crossed the asshole line by moving from advocating for the former, okay, reasonable type of exclusivity to the latter, asshole, we’re-better-than-you type.  (To be fair to Bannon, it wasn’t so much what he said himself, but he uncritically lent his support to some dickhead who wrote a sophomoric and offensive tirade.)  You can advocate for the former exclusivity (which I do) while denouncing the latter (which I do).

As far as MAsT is concerned, I’ve always supported their right to have such an exclusive group, and I’ll still exercise my right not to attend.  (Although I guess now I’m not invited anyway, but I’m okay w/ that.)  The Charlotte kink community is a very welcoming and over-all inclusive one, so there are plenty of venues for kinksters, fetishists, leatherboys/leathergirls, young and old to come together and mingle.  You still have CAPEX, Lynx, Traveling Munch, Midweek Munch, Bondage Brunch…  And you still also have more niche operation like the Dom SIG, the Sub SIG, the FemDom Society, Charlotte TNG… and MAsT.

Takeaway lesson for community leaders:  Drama doesn't come from having a group/event exclusive to a particular niche - it comes from being or coming across like a stuck-up, judgmental asshole.  If you’re going to create an exclusive group (be it just for men, just for TNG, just for M/s relationships, just for pups and Handlers, etc.) be very mindful that you don’t cross the asshole line or come across that way.  If you do, you probably deserve the blow-back you’re likely going to get.

(And now I sit back and wait to see how many wise-ass comments I get from my gay readers regarding getting "blow-back" from "crossing the asshole line.")

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