A lesson in tolerance
In the kink community we have a term: Your Kink is not My Kink. It boils down to the idea that just because you don’t enjoy a certain kink doesn’t mean someone else shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy it if they have found a consensual partner for said kink. Many people are so repulsed by certain kinks that they find it their job to put a stop to it. This is where this term comes in. Just because you are repulsed by it, if they have a consensual partner, and aren’t hurting anyone outside of their partner, then just don’t worry about it.
I went to a Sci-Fi and Anime Con this last weekend. There were signs everywhere saying “Don’t harsh the squee.” Put into this formula, “Your Fandom is not My Fandom” or “Your Cosplay is not My Cosplay.” In short, I don’t have to like what you like, or even like how you are enjoying it to respect you and allow you to do so.
Let’s stretch this a little bit, because the same logic can be easily applied elsewhere. “Your Activism is not My Activism,” for example. It is really easy to forget that people want to better their own worlds. Two different feminists will rarely agree on the best course of action, but they do both agree on the ultimate goal. Tone policing or generally attempting to silence an activist who you think is “hurting the cause” doesn’t help things. You may be right, they may be hurting the cause. But if you try to silence them, you only make them louder. Go ahead, have a dialog, present ideas about why they appear to be hurting the cause, but at the end of the day remember that they have their own motivations, and it is their right to engage in activism how they choose to (within legal and safety limits of course).
I’ve been known in the past to be really harsh on #BlackLivesMatter. Why? Isn’t that going against my previous statements here? Not really, and there is an important distinction here. When I am face to face with a BLM activist, they will have my respect. Any individual activist who obeys the law and doesn’t hurt innocents is deserving of my respect. The problem is when a community comes together and turns violent, or becomes little more than attention seeking. It is 100% ok to criticise in a public forum a group of people. It is not ok to disrespect that group. I have a ton of respect for BLM. I don’t appreciate what they are doing and how they are going about it. This is the difference.
If I have a problem with someone’s kink at a kink party, I’ll tell them that, especially if I know it’s making a lot of people uncomfortable. I’ll ask them to consider next time moving into a more secluded area and leaving a sign up that warns people. I don’t want to exclude them, but I also want these events to be as welcoming as possible.
At Con last weekend I had to have someone escorted out. They were in character, but in character they were harassing people. That is not ok. I respect them, and even got a laugh out of how far they would go to stay in character (I hope) but that character can’t go around sexually harassing people, and they had to be removed. I would rather it hadn’t come to that.
I don’t like the way BLM is going about their activism. I can be critical of their choices as a group, while still respecting the fact that they are trying. However, it is important that I police my own tone! I had better not come across condescending and I had better be clear that I do respect them for what they are trying to do.
I have one final point. Your sexual orientation is not My sexual orientation. Your perception of my gender is not My perception of my gender. Your religion is not My religion. Your political choice is not My political choice. I may not agree with you on any of these hot button issues, but I hope we can have a respectful dialog and not just a mud-slinging contest.