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20 May 2008 @ 05:59 pm
Celebrate Our Diversity...  
Recently I have decided to interact more with others within the bdsm community. Since making this decision I have come across many others in the lifestyle that I am very disappointed in due to the fact that some of them seem to think that their way is the only way to practice D/s and Bdsm. Their minds are completely closed to the fact that we each must decide the best way to live our own lives and this does not always include living them as they think we should. I do not mind others sharing their beliefs with Me, matter of fact educating Myself further and learning about the methods and beliefs of others is the one of the reasons I began to seek out others in the lifestyle, but that does not mean that I am going to change My beliefs to conform to theirs.

This inability on the part of some to accept the diversity of others was strongly on My mind when I came across the writings of Bob Harris on the website of the legendary Gloria Brame. One article in particular really expressed My feelings on our need to develop acceptance for the beliefs and methods followed by others within the bdsm community whether we agree with them or not. I enjoyed this article so much that I'd like to share it with anyone else that is interested in reading it. All text below was written By Bob Harris and I do not take any credit for his work in anyway.

Whose Way Is Right? And Who Cares Anyway? (Written By Bob Harris)
Ever since the creatures known as mankind first came into existence, there has been only one characteristic that has remained constant. How we look, how we dress, how we structure every social unit from the single family up to the world society, has undergone a continual evolution. Not even the basics of gender have remained constant. No longer is it just an issue of male versus female. Today we face the ever-growing questions presented by the rapid increase in the number of transgender persons.

Each successive generation has brought with it new ideas, new challenges, new definitions. Advances in the technologies of communication and travel have caused an explosion in the mixing of cultures. It is no longer possible to find a single race or tribe of people who have not been influenced in some way by the technology of some other culture.

Everything that has ever defined mankind, from the individual level to the world society as a whole, has continually undergone, and continues to undergo, change. Change is the only constant that has not changed and there is no reason to believe that it will not be the only constant that will not continue to change in the future.

For the most part we look upon change as being good. By continually changing, we feel that both as individuals and as a society, mankind is growing, progressing, coming ever closer to becoming that ever-elusive "perfect" society. Of course the paradox here is that no one can agree on what that perfect society is. So we continue to change, continue to "grow", so very pleased with ourselves that by doing so we have somehow become better than the generation before us.

But while we continue to strive to change and grow, we also struggle with how to hold on to our past, incorporate the changes brought by the previous generations into our current view of what the world should be. Our history is our roots. It is the place from which our journey through life begins. Our home. Home is a very comfortable place to be. We need desperately to feel secure in that no matter what happens, if the change our generation brings fails to bring improvements but instead only brings increased problems, home will still be there for us.

Our Leather Community is no different. Both individually, and as a community, we are in a great struggle to redefine, restructure and redirect just about everything considered to be a tradition of our culture. But just what are those traditions? Because our written history is so incomplete, no one can definitively say.

We have bits and pieces. A few members left that were part of this or that group which, depending on which part of the present community we identify with, are looked at as being the roots of our culture. But even those few who are left do not always remember those early days the same way. What was an absolute in the early groups on the west coast were not necessarily a part of the absolutes of the early groups from the east coast. What are considered as the basics of the gay community are not consistent with those of the heterosexual community.

So we struggle to somehow define what is traditional. And in that struggle, instead of becoming more cohesive as a community, we become more segmented as each group demands that the other groups accept their idea of what traditional is.

What seems odd to me is that for several years now, we have pushed the concept of celebrating our diversity. Accepting all people into our community regardless of gender, race, sexual preference and especially fetish preference. Yet we find so many frictions occurring between various factions of our community because of those diversities. Celebrating our diversity seems to have somehow become warped into being celebrate our diversity as long as you agree that our way is the standard, the only true and correct way, which everyone should strive to follow.

While the recorded history may be sketchy, information about the modern state of the lifestyle is abundant. Thanks to the Internet, anyone with an opinion on who we are, where we come from, what we stand for or the way we define ourselves and our relationships, can establish themselves as an instant authority on the subject. With so much information available, so many conflicting opinions being easily accessible, it is no wonder that we, as individuals, have such a hard time trying to figure out just where we fit into the picture and how to structure our relationships.

For the most part, there appears to be a growing consensus that there is no one right way. We can pick and choose from the magnitude of opinions, those that make the most sense to us personally, and structure our involvement in the lifestyle and the manner in which we define and conduct our personal relationships, in the way most comfortable for us. If how we choose happens to coincide with the choices made by the majority of the community, that's great. If not, that's fine too.

It is unfortunate that we have no way of accurately tracking the beginnings and evolutions or our culture. For many of us, there is only emptiness when we look back to catch a glimpse of home before facing the challenges presented by yet another change on the horizon. Not realizing of course, that home is where they are right now. That where they are now is the basis for any changes they may make during their journey through this lifestyle. Not until they become comfortable with where they are today, the definitions they use to describe themselves, the structures upon which they have built their relationships, will they realize they are home.

On the other hand, there are those of us who can look back and see our starting point fading off in the distance as we are taken, sometimes kicking and screaming, further down the road. Forced to change, whether we want to or not, because the way it was no longer exists or is no longer useable. Yet at the same time, desperately holding on to whatever portion of home we can, whatever portion can be incorporated into the new home we have today.

It does not matter which of these two groups--either those who identify with a particular past or those whose beginnings are not clearly defined--you identify with. It does not matter whether you look forward to change in the hope that the rest of society will move closer to your vision of what a perfect society means; or if you feel that society has already changed too much and dread the thought of more changes to come. It doesn't matter if you have defined protocols passed down from a past generation that you choose to honor by continuing their practice, or if you see no reason for establishing, defining or practicing any protocols at all. When it comes to deciding on your where your place in the community is, it just doesn't matter. What does matter is that you respect and honor the decisions other individuals of the community have made for themselves.

We do not ask that you follow us, but we do ask that you respect our right to do so. In return, do not expect us to follow you, but we do respect your right to go whatever way you choose.

There is room for all of us. There is no reason to force divisions by ultimatums of do it this way or else. Let's try to "celebrate our diversity" in the fullest sense, and not limit ourselves to what any one group thinks is best.

© Bob Harris - http://gloriabrame.com/domidea/sub3.htm#may.htm
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