October 10 1999 EhBC Online Discussion

<BernieRoehl> Well, it's 9 pm and time for our regular Sunday night discussion.
<trufriend> He hugs, i don't know Him and He leaves....
<SirBear> hi Bernie... desire...
<trufriend> SirBear!!!!!!!  ltns
<april^^> well im making coffee so LS is coming in 
<SirBear> hi swanie
<BernieRoehl> Here's the standard intro...
<SirBear> hi forbidded
<BernieRoehl> Welcome to our Sunday night discussion.  Please refrain from sending "hi" and "bye" messages until after 10 pm.  Also note that the discussion is being logged.  If you wish to say something, but remain anonymous, you should change your nick.  Tonight's discussion topic is "Enlightening the Masses -- Educating the Public about BDSM".  Enjoy the discussion!
<SirBear> hiya tru :)
<BernieRoehl> So... anyone have any opening thoughts on the subject?
<trufriend> how about seminars with accredited people speaking about bdsm....
<BernieRoehl> That sounds like an excellent idea, tru.
<trufriend> public seminars that is
<swannie^^> how do we determine who is accreditied? 
<tvsubbie4you> how would one go about getting accredited tru???? or, do you mean kink-friendly professionals, like doctors, psychiatrists..etc
<trufriend> like maybe Dr. Beryl Chernick, a top Cdn. sex psychologist
* cyberbrat_ scampers off cuz she's not feeling discussionly
<trufriend> who thinks kink is healthy!
<BernieRoehl> Yes, they have to be kink-friendly.
<tvsubbie4you> ok..just clarifying that
<BernieRoehl> It would actually be interesting to gather a number of people like doctors, lawyers, psychiatrists, to talk about the scene.
<trufriend> damn!  gotta scoot, my ride is finally here...anybody want to talk more about this with me...drop me a note via my email crose@odyssey.on.ca
<BernieRoehl> Of course, we're talking about people in professions in which time is money.  Asking them to volunteer their time on an ongoing basis might be difficult.
<swannie^^> i guess this discussion ties in with the one we had the other week.......how can we enlighten about bdsm when 1 so many ppl are not open about our lifestyle ...myself included ....and when so many recently don't lead by good example 
<BernieRoehl> /msg $nick Welcome to our regular Sunday night discussion. Please refrain from sending "hi" and "bye" messages until after 10 pm.  Also note that the discussion is being logged.  If you wish to say something, but remain anonymous, you should change your nick.  Tonight's discussion topic is "Enlightening the Masses -- Educating the Public about BDSM".  Enjoy the discussion!
<BernieRoehl> (oops)
<tvsubbie4you> swannie's right..you have to have your own house in order, before we can open it to the public
<BernieRoehl> Two good points, swannie.
<brett^> Greetings All!
<BernieRoehl> Your first point is easier to address.  There are a number of us who can afford to be quite open about our involvement in the scene.
<tvsubbie4you> would they be willing to take the burden of speaking for all of us???
<BernieRoehl> For example, arnora has been interviewed on the radio, and she and I have collaborated on articles.
<callay{TW}> some of us are able to be open in some areas of our life, in other areas it would be denied totally...no matter the cost
<BernieRoehl> I'm not sure I'd feel right about speaking for everyone.  However, I have no problem with sharing information about the scene with others.
<BernieRoehl> Your second point is a more challenging one, swannie.  We need to be accepting and tolerant of each other, before we can ask the same of the vanilla world.
<swannie^^> yes Sir ...but there are many who are open about their involvement but i would never want to be classed in the same category as they are 
<brett^> FYI....i'm wide open about it (having multible businesses in the scene) - and i've been on the NLA's education comittee
<BernieRoehl> brett, can you tell us more about the NLA's education committee and how they approach this?
<TheWolfe> as far as getting our house in order...it would be no different than attempting to promote the vanilla lifestyle
<swannie^^> i beg to differ Wolfe 
<swannie^^> vanilla is 
<swannie^^> accepted 
<swannie^^> bdsm is not mainstream 
<callay{TW}> there are ex's out there that wont accept bdsm.......
<swannie^^> people look at us differently and look for what they think are errors 
<TheWolfe> I'm referring to our house being in order 
<brett^> The education comittee (of the Toronto chapter anyways) was mainly set up to educate on a different topic each week...the NLA chapter in general dealt with the general questions
<BernieRoehl> Was it an education effort aimed at people already in the scene, or was it intended to educate the general public about BDSM?
<brett^> ie:  You would have been the male co-chair and Arnora the female co-chair...and hence spokespeople
<brett^> Yes....there were two different education efforts
<BernieRoehl> I suspect that the "internal" education effort is generally better developed than the "external" effort (in general).
<brett^> The latter (educating the general public) was a more if/when thing...  Folk would approach us individually; or the media would...and then we'd set something up tailored to that need.
<BernieRoehl> There are lots of books, web sites, groups (like EhBC and DSSG), SM 101 seminars, and so on that address the internal side.
<BernieRoehl> So external education was on-demand, then?
<swannie^^> *nodding* one has to do a needs analysis before knowing what exactly people will learn 
<brett^> Mostly, yes.  ]
<brett^> We had the standard NLA flyer describing us and our purpose...and that explained consentual, sane BDSM at the same time
<BernieRoehl> I think a good first step might be to decide what we want the vanilla public to know about the scene.
<`abi> and why
<swannie^^> with all due respects they will only listen to what they want to know ... 
<brett^> What angle are you appoaching this from Bernie?  What is the medium?
<BernieRoehl> That's still very much an open question, brett.  I would say "any medium that works".
* brett^ nods
<TheWolfe> exactly Bernie
<tvsubbie4you> i think we also have to realize that we're fighting a battle against the modern entertainment media
<brett^> The problem is that the message needs to be tailored to work smoothly in the specific medium.
<TheWolfe> what battle?
<brett^> Print vs. film vs. radio vs. lecture...
<tvsubbie4you> look at the following movies...8MM....The General's Daughter.
<BernieRoehl> Yes, but to balance that, look at all the scene-friendly references in television programs.
<brett^> And various sub-catagories...newsprint vs. magazine vs. flyers, etc
<tvsubbie4you> they both portrayed bdsm as negative, forceful, degrading acts, rather than the consentual ones that we know of
<TheWolfe> first of all, I don't think we are considering a door to door approach, or Disciples of s/m crusade
* BernieRoehl laughs
<BernieRoehl> ... amusing though that would be...   :-)
* BernieRoehl imagines door-to-door flogger salesmen
* BernieRoehl thinks about handing out leaflets in airports
<TheWolfe> quite simply, if someone asks I will offer information...based on what I consider they can handle
* BernieRoehl does the same as TW
<swannie^^> my point exactly 
<brett^> The NLA (Toronto chapter anyways) let the folk come to them...and then adapted our message to fit.  Nowadays we have quite the range of books and websites to refer folk to...most of which give the same message and information - just with different wording.
<swannie^^> thank you 
<BernieRoehl> The question is whether we should be trying to be more pro-active in communicating with the vanilla world.
<brett^> No, i don't think so...
<BernieRoehl> For example, when a film like 8 mm comes out, should BDSM groups consider sending out press releases pointing out the unfair portrayal of our community?
<TheWolfe> I would say no..
<brett^> Personally, i think the EhBC has reached the maximum level for educating...we have to let *them* come to *us* first....
<BernieRoehl> My current thinking is no as well, but I can certainly see both sides to that.
<swannie^^> my belief is that you dignify stupidity by responding to it 
* BernieRoehl nods
<swannie^^> i choose to actively ignore what i feel is ignorance.. 
<TheWolfe> not necessarily stupidity...but definitely ignorance
* BernieRoehl is playing devil's advocate a bit here, to stimulate discussion
<brett^> More and more folk are doing exactly that....reaching out for more information (intending to use it against us), and finding out that we're extremely responsable folk!
<TheWolfe> Gay Pride was shunned not too many years ago
<tvsubbie4you> one way, perhaps, of opening us up to the public would be to, as a group, help out with some charitable causes.......little by little
<LS_april> personally a short slogan or creed that we can blurt out in most any media type that captures how we wish to be percieved and ends with to each his own ..see..for more in depth info ..
<BernieRoehl> If the only message people hear is one that comes from ignorance, fear, and lack of understanding, won't those feelings spread unchecked?
* BernieRoehl nods to LS_april
<brett^> i'd leave things the way they are...BDSM is being accepted a little more each year without us trying to force it upon the mundanes...
<BernieRoehl> In some sense, we already have a slogan - Safe, Sane and Consensual.
<swannie^^> not if we lead by example .... 
<LS_april> true
<swannie^^> show ethical behavior 
<swannie^^> show integrety 
<swannie^^> show tolerance 
<swannie^^> etc .. 
* BernieRoehl agrees with swannie
<swannie^^> until we do that ...then we lost the battle before we start 
<BernieRoehl> However... if we show these things privately, and behind closed doors, then how are we making things any better beyond those doors?
<brett^> Whereas the gay community had to overcome much worse steriotyping and hatred.
<brett^> Though example...for anyone to see if they care to look.
<swannie^^> as you said before Bernie Sir ....you are open .. 
<swannie^^> KinkDom is open 
<TheWolfe> what battle?
<brett^> We have public organizations....
<BernieRoehl> The analogy to the gay community is very interesting, brett.  I think there many parallels. 
<swannie^^> ot
<TheWolfe> I still don't see the need for a crusade 
<LS_april> had a idea last year there was a small angel cham available from peoples jewlers the proceeds from the sale of these charms went to battered women homes 
<LS_april> cham=charm
<BernieRoehl> The idea of having events to raise money for BDSM-related causes might be worth exploring.
<brett^> The analogy was as per the Gay Pride comment and the suggestion to help out with charitable causes...i think that would be pushing things too much.
<TheWolfe> politically...who would want our open support?
<TheWolfe> no one
<BernieRoehl> Probably true.
<brett^> My opinion is that we are being accepted...slowly but surely.  And i'd rather not mess with it in order to accelerate the process.
* BernieRoehl nods
<`abi> it also raises the potential for conflict....there's a pretty good possibility that a battered women's shelter would want NOTHING to do with money raised by a  BDSM group
<BernieRoehl> True, abi.
<TheWolfe> exactly
<TheWolfe> perhaps the cattlemens association?
<LS_april> yuppers very true sad but true
* BernieRoehl chuckles
<TheWolfe> not sad
<brett^> If *anything*....i'd hold an event that gave money to the foodbank.
<TheWolfe> it is quite understandable
<swannie^^> maybe the aids awareness group ..... 
<BernieRoehl> Hmm... it's a good cause, but very much unrelated to What It Is That We Do.
<brett^> Nobody anywhere would get offended by that...
<BernieRoehl> AIDS awareness is closer.
<`abi> same thing applies brett...unless the public uniformly perceives us a wholesome group, no charity is going to want to risk tarnishing their image through association
<brett^> But the general public isn't into AIDS charities...
<TheWolfe> they risk losing other donations
<swannie^^> jerry's kids 
<`abi> exactly TW
<brett^> No....not jerry's kids...  Think "Pulp Fiction"
<TheWolfe> Aids charities are politically correct to donate to
<LS_april> sad in that any "charity should not look down on where the donations come from but would due to public unawearness ..."so to speak ...
<BernieRoehl> They weren't in the begining.
<swannie^^> go on t.v. and give a donation in front of millions of ppl ....then of course everybody will love us and think we are great 
<swannie^^> (for those who didn't get it ....there was scarcasm inserted there) 
<LS_april> *L*
<brett^> Nice if it happened swannie...but it never will in those dollar amounts.
* brett^ grins belatedly
<BernieRoehl> In fact... what changed?  Not just in terms of AIDS being an "acceptable" cause, but in terms of the gay community gaining much, much greater acceptance than ever before?
<TheWolfe> do we want to "buy" acceptance?
<`abi> what changed Bernie, was the gay community accepting themselves...in a big way
<TheWolfe> that was Gay pride
<BernieRoehl> I think that's certainly part of it, abi.
<BernieRoehl> And there was (and to some extent, still is) a Leather Pride movement.
<`abi> and I that's what I think our primary responsibility is...at least in the near future...to create a community where people feel comfortatable and safe about who they are
* BernieRoehl agrees with abi
<`abi> public campaigns hinder that to an extent
<brett^> And interestingly enough...the general public is starting to differentiate between the gay Leather folk and the (straighter) BDSM crowd!
<TheWolfe> so do we want to educate?
<`abi> if you're afraid to come to a munch, how much more afraid are you going to be if you think there might be tv cameras there?
<BernieRoehl> The slogan from the gay community that stands out in my mind -- "We're here, we're Queer, get used to it!"
<`abi> the parallel being We're here, we've got the gear, get used to it
<BernieRoehl> That, plus the awareness that there are a *lot* of people who are gay, were (I think) factors in the gay community finding greater mainstream acceptance.
<BernieRoehl> Yup, abi!
<`abi> but I don't think we're ready for that yet, as a community
<swannie^^> our slogan can be .....if you don't like us we'll whip you into shape 
* BernieRoehl laughs
* brett^ chuckles
<BernieRoehl> I think there's still a perception out there that very few people are actually into kink.  And yet... a *lot* of people are.
<LS_april> yes...it works *LOL*
<`abi> to put a slightly different slant on it...we could compare it to the way the nudist community handles public awareness
<TheWolfe> I think that's how we do it. Advertize fet nights noty only at Siren etc...but on Yonge St on Bay St......go to gay pride as a bdsm group...dress how you want to even if it's leather etc...ppl see it...
<TheWolfe> then...be prepared for backlas...lots
<TheWolfe> then...ppl all of a sudden want to know about it
<swannie^^> i live in the most constipated community that i have ever seen ....trust me i bite my tongue many times when i hear comments about "those horrible people" 
<TheWolfe> cause it's interesting and they can't ignore it
<BernieRoehl> Can you tell us more about how the nudist community handles it, abi?
<`abi> it's much more low key Bernie....
<TheWolfe> that's how the gay community got the acceptance they have now
<`abi> we quietly go about doing what we do....we make people welcome who want to explore, and we pick our fights carefully.....(a nude beach in Toronto is a small step to acceptance)
<swannie^^> that acceptance is in large cities..... 
* BernieRoehl has fielded many inquiries from people who are looking for a BDSM group, and almost everyone is astonished to discover how many of us there are
<swannie^^> not smaller out of the way places 
<TheWolfe> nudists are seen as harmless folk
<`abi> not be everyone TW
<TheWolfe> generally speaking
<`abi> nudists face the same prejudice from disgruntled exspouses who think it's unhealthy
<TheWolfe> there are always exceptions
<`abi> Gwen Jacobs got arrested for it
<TheWolfe> for the most part nudists are behind closed doors
<TheWolfe> how many Gwen Jacobs are there?
<BernieRoehl> I think TW has a point.  People don't find anything *inherently* threatening naked people.  Not the way they may feel threatened by someone wearing leather and carrying a whip.
<`abi> because it isn't the social norm TW...the same as BDSM
<swannie^^> ARGH ......so we whip and chain people in the streets everywhere??? 
<swannie^^> i think not .....bdsm is behind closed doors 
<`abi> yes they do Bernie...many folks think that nudists live a perverted, unhealthy lifestyle
<BernieRoehl> Same with the gay community -- they've been able to gain some measure of acceptance partly because people realize they're non-threatening.
<TheWolfe> I think we are arguing for the sake of argument here
* BernieRoehl sees abi's point
<`abi> I'm not arguing TW....I'm suggesting that there is another way to go about gaining acceptance by the general public
* BernieRoehl thinks for a moment
<swannie^^> i agree with abi 
<TheWolfe> is acceptance important to the community? (s/m)
<BernieRoehl> There seems to be a sort of... progression in the way people perceive any non-mainstream group.
<TheWolfe> are there s/m bashers?
<swannie^^> mostly in the sm community 
<TheWolfe> are we losing our jobs because of it?
<tvsubbie4you> of course it's important
<swannie^^> many would 
<`abi> well, as a matter of fact, I do know someone who lost their job because of it
<BernieRoehl> There was a time when being gay meant losing a job, losing friends, losing standing in the mainstream community.
<TheWolfe> did they come out & tell the media?
<TheWolfe> did they fight it in court?
<`abi> no...they quietly went about finding other jobs
<BernieRoehl> That doesn't happen as much any more.
<`abi> they were advised that they could probably fight it on the basis of sexual discrimation
<TheWolfe> that was the way gays used to react
<TheWolfe> but they got tired of hiding
<tvsubbie4you> like the way a lot of us are now
<TheWolfe> do people who enjoy anal sex want that practice accepted by society?
<tvsubbie4you> it's still a crime in some areas
<`abi> the fact is, there will never be universal acceptance of alternative lifestyles, which is why I think it's far more important to have a supportive infrastructure that it is to have an external focus
<LS_april> they rallyed together "strength in numbers " to protect each other from descrimination 
<TheWolfe> agreed abi
<swannie^^> *applauding abi* 
* BernieRoehl also agrees with abi
<TheWolfe> who cares what others think
<`abi> sooooo....how do we do that?
<LS_april> we are doing it
<BernieRoehl> I think we're starting to put the pieces in place now.
<`abi> we care TW...but it's more important what we think of each other
<LS_april> our groups are growing as we find each other
<BernieRoehl> Groups like EhBC and DSSG are there for people who need to have a sense of community.
* callay{TW} thinks internal support groups..association with others in the lifestyle...gives us the strength to make soem of the touch choices....
* BernieRoehl nods
<LS_april> yes ...smiles
<TheWolfe> Our groups are there to enlighten others also
<BernieRoehl> I've seen many, many people gain strength and self-assurance from simply meeting with others at munches or other events.
<cylen> Personally i find this a hard subject to even chat about, There maybe have been about 20 people that i have spoken to that are out to family and friends outside of the community..and if others cannot even start in that area of thier lives...why should they care if society as a whole knows..or understands..?
* callay{TW} nods Bernie
<callay{TW}> families often cant know...thus the NEED for the connection with others in teh lifestyle
<tvsubbie4you> once society as a whole becomes more understanding, then it becomes easier for the ones to follow to be able to come out to friends and family....
<TheWolfe> agreed Cylen
<swannie^^> i've also seen the effects of less than ethical behavior .....less than good integrety and no tolerance within our "community" 
<`abi> good point cylen....I think people find it hard to be out with family and friends if they think it will cause them to be shunned...no one wants to be an outcast
<TheWolfe> define ethical
<callay{TW}> an outcast......or loose connections to family that are invaluable
<BernieRoehl> By providing people with a sense of community, we may give them the strength to come out when it's appropriate.  And the wisdom to know when not to.
<swannie^^> i think you can find that word in the dictionary if you don't know it's meaning 
<TheWolfe> yes I can...
<TheWolfe> but the point is...there is no list
<TheWolfe> MANY would not consider what we practice ethical
<TheWolfe> we can't even decide amongst ourseives what is ethical
<BernieRoehl> Yes, some people believe that no one would ever consent to what we do, therefore we must be taking advantage of innocents.
<TheWolfe> morality is THE issue that is hardest for most to deal with among alternative liefestyles
<swannie^^> i'm talking about being able to look at yourself in the mirror ...
<`abi> I think we need to be able to look at each other in the mirror too swann
<TheWolfe> but you are saying (correct me if i'm wrong) that being able to do that would help in acceptance from outside the community
<`abi> hmmmm....a two way mirror...how kinky :)
<swannie^^> that is true ..but you see abi ...there are some who's opinion of me means nothing ...then there are others who's opion means a great deal to me 
<TheWolfe> I think those among us *within* the community have for the most part accepted our *kink* and can look at ourselves in the mirror
<TheWolfe> perhaps not some of those who haven't come out to the bdsm community itself
<TheWolfe> brb
<swannie^^> i don't give a rats ass about the outside community accepting me Wolfe.  i am not open to many in the outside community ...i care about being able to find my own actions acceptabe 
* Kilted_One has more "ethical" crap from ppl within "our" community than from outside it
<en{TW}> well then i misunderstood the topic we were discussing
<swannie^^> exactly... 
<en{TW}> *smile* that's what i just said
<en{TW}> not sure what we are arguing then
* Stephen_R understands Kilted_One. :)
<en{TW}> lol
<Peter38a> hi all
<swannie^^> when i say i am slave....more in the bdsm community have be rude to me about it than my vanilla friends who i have come out to 
<en{TW}> because in a way...the vanilla community don't understand it as well therefore have little to base their "rudeness" on
<BernieRoehl> One solution, swannie, is to simply ignore them.  I know that's easier said than done, but there are enough people in the community who *will* accept you that you should be able to ignore those who don't.
<en{TW}> lol
<swannie^^> i do ignore them Sir ..... 
<swannie^^> they cannot judge what is right for me 
<en{TW}> but i also think many mistake questioning as rudeness and lack of tlerance
<swannie^^> nor can the outside community 
<lil^bear^> boo
<valeriees> hi
<LS_april> came out to a openly gay family member figuring if anyone would have a open mind and listen she would ...was quickly dissapointed in her as she avoids us and refuses to even discuss it ..
<swannie^^> i think en most people know the difference 
* Kilted_One thinks that they can judge you however their judgement means nothing or "should" mean nothing
<en{TW}> i have witnessed the misunderstanding on numerous occasions
<cylen> You would be surprised swannie......i have seen it happen a lot...especially lately.
<en{TW}> people become very defensive
<en{TW}> it's natural
<LS_april> but hey to each her own and one day she might ask a question or two ...smiles 
<swannie^^> with all due respects en and cylen ...i don't think when somebody says ...bullshit you cannot be a slave....that i am mistaking that for trying to understand 
<en{TW}> swannie
<en{TW}> i wasn't talking about your experience
<en{TW}> not referring to you at all
<cylen> That is not rudeness that would be stupidity....however i was not speaking about you in general..
<swannie^^> i am saying that i think most adults can discern the difference 
<swannie^^> well have to run ..this has been a hoot 
<`abi> is there anything we can do to foster tolerance within our community?
<swannie^^> bye all 
<en{TW}> a few things i think abi
<en{TW}> be honest
<Stephen_R> I say, no, abi.
<Kilted_One> yes abigaille there is.....listen and not pre-judge toooo quickly
<en{TW}> for example....if you are talking about how you live the lifestyle be honest about it
* BernieRoehl notes the time
<BernieRoehl> It's almost time to wrap up the formal part of tonight's discussion.
<en{TW}> i have heard to many ppl exaggerate in order to be dramatic...that doesn't lend to educating or helping someone to understand
<Stephen_R> My experience is that opinions are stronger, and more tenuously developed within the community, than in the vanilla world
<BernieRoehl> Anyone have any closing thoughts...?
<cylen> very true en...KO
<en{TW}> but on the other hand...be open to the fact that what someone says may not be exactly how you envision it
<`abi> sure Bernie...think of it as ripples in a pond....start by accepting yourself
<victoria_angel> codes of conduct lends to credibility Bernie
<callay{TW}> we need to support each other, and as much as we want acceptance from "outside" we need to accept each other and our differences...kindness...gentleness...caring..we are all fragile ppl in soem way
<LS_april> as long as your happy ..try not to worry about what others think ..
* Kilted_One thinks that we ahve to learn tolerance and understanding within our own conmmunity before we can expect to see it in the general public
<BernieRoehl> And on that note...
<BernieRoehl> The formal part of our discussion is over.
<BernieRoehl> Please feel free to continue chatting informally.
<BernieRoehl> Thanks to everyone who participated in tonight's discussion!
<`ddesire> thankyou Bernie..it was very informative