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Clearing my mind a bit.

As I lie here ready to go to bed, I realized that there are a few topics that are burning in my brain that I needed to type down, if only briefly.

I have a feeling these will be inspiring one or two future posts.

I'm finding more and more that the type of play partner I attract tends to also be attracted to people who are not exactly to my liking. I usually have reasons for my distaste - suspicions about their safety (or lack of), past experiences with them that have left bitter tastes, or knowing other people whom they have mistreated and/or hurt. Other times I simply don't have a reason, just a gut feeling that leads me not to trust them.

When I'm approached for play by these potential partners, I am forced to make a choice. Put aside my feelings for their previous/current other partners and enjoy our time together, or walk away. I don't say anything about their choices - it is not my place, and it is their decision to make. So, it's a tough situation - often I am forced to swallow my misgivings, as I don't want them to get in the way of potential new friendships. Lord knows I have made bad decisions in the past - I shouldn't be judging others due to theirs, even if they don't see it the same way I do.

It's not a omni-present problem, but it's there.

The second thing burning in my mind is much, much tougher. There ARE dangerous players in our midst. I know who they are, I know them, and they know me. I know what they've done, I know who they hurt. And these people are Presenters - nationally recognized and celebrated presenters. They get asked to teach all around the country, either because program coordinators don't know the history of their behavior, or they do and choose to ignore it because they are so popular with attendees.

And these people ARE popular. Immensely so.

Lolita taught me something that I have learned to trust in a long time ago - "Sooner or later, people figure it out."

People aren't figuring it out fast enough when it comes to the people I am thinking about with this post.

So I wonder. Who will step up to the plate? Who will finally have the balls to go public and say "X" is a dangerous player and/or a liability issue, and it's time to put a stop to events endorsing their behavior by inviting them to teach?

Sometimes, I seriously feel like I have the balls to do it. I've come close to it several times before. I'm close to it now.

But the scene today is built on fame. Famous presenters all around us. To be the person who stands and tries to place a black mark on these famous people, you stand the risk of becoming shunned yourself.

I don't have the balls right now. Maybe I will tomorrow.


( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
Feb. 9th, 2010 05:04 am (UTC)
I agree with regyt. While I might be one of those folks who are not exactly to your liking I do respect your knowledge and insights. I would not shun you if you pulled out your balls and shook them around.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 9th, 2010 12:55 pm (UTC)
I think this is a great idea (refusing to present...) except for it to work, there would need to be SEVERAL presenters who would make that stance. If you try to create a pact, you could just end up alienating the other presenters and get a rep as being divisive.

I don't mean to say that I don't think this is worthwhile, because I do think it is -- you have great ideas, dear, and you know I love you! I'm trying to say, one would have to be very careful and diplomatic about how one goes about getting the needed support.
(no subject) - boymeat - Feb. 9th, 2010 02:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nineinchlovely - Feb. 9th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Decloacking to respond - high4tower - Feb. 9th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 9th, 2010 05:45 am (UTC)
I know much this topic means to you. I've seen you seethe. I know you've turned down play dates because of it - and for you to turn down play dates, well, woah! ;) (On an aside that doesn't help the current dilemma at all, I'm just very glad that I'm of the same mind as you on these things).

I think nvisiblegrrl has a point. You want to teach less this year, right? Well, wouldn't it be an opportune time to share your thoughts, and to refuse to teach at those events with presenters you just completely disagree with. It might not seem much to start with, but people will eventually get the idea.
Feb. 9th, 2010 05:57 am (UTC)
I also just want to make a legal point because, you know, that's what I do.

I read the comments on FL as well, where someone mentioned you might receive some heat over making the comments. And that's true - legal heat is entirely possible. Make damn well sure that whatever you do say about whomever you say it is totally true, and that you have ways to back it up. If it's your own personal opinion (and you explicitly couch it in those terms) that might be fair enough, but if you're referring to specific conduct, make sure you 100% know it happened.

Just sayin' (and this isn't legal advice yadda yadda yadda...)
(no subject) - zevinboots - Feb. 9th, 2010 10:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eric_mathgeek - Feb. 9th, 2010 12:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - boymeat - Feb. 9th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - feyrieprincess - Feb. 9th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:23 am (UTC)
I totally understand where you're coming from, and I think that it's one reason why I have gotten a lot pickier about which events I go to - because I see organizers making decisions that I myself just wouldn't make.

And yeah, I can't expect people to always agree with me, or think as I would have - but sometimes... yeah, I get it.

I think you are well-respected and well-known, and not at much risk of being shunned... at least you yourself aren't. Others? I think that's a valid concern.
Feb. 9th, 2010 12:17 pm (UTC)
I've seen you present several times and I have a lot of respect for your opinion. If you think someone is unsafe, then you should probably say something. I do think there is something of a difference between historically unsafe and presently unsafe... I think the former should cause a certain wariness and maybe be something that's known publicly. The latter should be something that causes the kind of response you discuss above, but it's important to deal in specifics when having those kinds of conversations.
Feb. 9th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
I have very little counsel to offer, but this post makes me feel even more glad to have such a fantastic leather family, and to be on such warm terms with other families where I am welcomed, not only for play but also because it gives me the collected wisdom of a pretty big braintrust if I have questions or concerns or misgivings about someone. And that improves the quality of my life a great deal.
Feb. 9th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
sticky wicket
I think this could lead to lots of unpleasant drama for you.

As to folks you like to play with picking partners you don't care for, well that's a sort of a bizzarre and interesting pattern. We all sometimes make poor choices, but it usually ends up teaching us something. I would say that its a very personal choice that you will have to make, and probably in a case by case situation, as you decide who to play with and who not to play with.

If you fear for people's lives that is a certain risk. If your concern is just that someones' fame might cause people to overlook that internal creeped out feeling, that is another thing. Consider what you feel are the actual risks. Consider whether speaking out can have any actual affect on the situation. Consider that we are all adults. If you make the choice to openly stand in judgement of other presenters, be ready for the shit storm.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Feb. 9th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
An uncomfortable dilemma.

Its really frustrating that some unethical people end up with enough supporters that people take sides based on who they like, not the truth of the matter.

Sadly, I agree - not enough people figure it out fast enough.

I don't know though - I'm not sure what the effective and correct response is. Especially when the whole issue has the potential of getting lost in social bullshit.

I like nvisiblegirl's idea. Vote with your feet. Don't present at events where people you know are truly dangerous are presenting.

Feb. 9th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC)
The same thing happens even with those non-famous people. I'm actually working on an article for our local community about vetting in the community. We have so many local players that are unsafe, yet they seem to still attract lots of play partners. I'd say it is mainly the newbies, but not always. There's the fine line in exposing them for who they are and then being bitchy and into gossip...at least for me. One of my former play partners would be perfectly safe to Top someone, but get into a D/s relationship....HELL to the NO. He's completely and mentally unstable. However, that coming from me (because of our relationship history) just sounds like I'm a disgruntled slave. So I haven't went public about him, but will certainly give an accurate reference if ever asked.

So I feel your pain. The more of us that stand up, the more impact we can have.
Feb. 9th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)
I've been there in other "communities" and from my own experience when you tell the truth about popular people you lose.

The real question comes down to this: Do you want to be a part of a community that allows/accepts/ignores/offers no support for the victims of these people?

There are no right or wrong answers to this one. It's a deeply personal choice that only you can make.

What you decide, I support you because I love you and trust you to know what's best for your situation.
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
Very interesting post. I feel like there are plenty of responsible people out there who take safety very seriously, and make it a very active part of their presentations. I've also had my head bitten off by presentors when I dared to question the safety of their play. If someone is aware of the risks and wants to play that way then that is their business, but as presentors they need to be completely clear about the dangers involved in their play. You don't want a newbie to think that they saw it at a convention so it must be safe.
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:56 pm (UTC)
Question: are these people teaching others to be dangerous? Are their demos putting people at risk? Or is this based on their non-teaching activities either in groups or one-on-one?

If it's the first and/or second, I would think that others would see that as well and you shouldn't have to take a stand on it, or that your statements could be objectively verified.

If it's their behavior in groups, then again there are witnesses and the objective fact of them being made to leave, or banned, should be enough, no?

One-on-one is the problem. If they're not teaching dangerous techniques and they behave themselves in (semi-)public, I think you're on shaky ground in trying to get them kicked off the podium. If it was me, I think all I could do is say "no thank you, I choose not to teach at the same event as person X" but you run the risk of having to repeat what could be considered gossip or innuendo by someone who has no way to confirm it.

What do you do about non-famous but still active people who either hurt their partners or put them at risk?

Feb. 9th, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC)
You called it right there. It is the one-on-one. I'm going to expand more on that in another post.
Feb. 9th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
Everyone else has already said everything I would have said, so I just wanted to add that I respect your opinion and I support your choice if you choose to go public with the people you find dangerous. (And agree that you must state specifics, and they must be facts, not opinions.)

Missing you... I'll email you and maybe we can all get together sometime soon?
Feb. 9th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
I have had some minor experience actually doing this. Fire did reign down upon my head. Which is not the end of the world; it's more of a 'reputation' issue than life and limb after all. What I do now is privately offer my opinion whenever it is asked/circumstances bring said person as a player to the conversation. One-on-one communication. Our community doesn't have a way to cope with it otherwise; you get lots of drama and no motion.

And as frustrating as that is, I understand it. It's part of the "fame" thing. IME, only if an organizer of an event has an experience with an unsafe player/liar/etc does anything change.

Good luck!
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