Build Community, Not Walls

The recent election of the racist cheeto has many folks in the kink community reeling. We are hurt and horrified by the hate harbored in by so many Americans. Many of us, LGBT, POC, women, poly folks and more are terrified about what an Insane Clown Posse administration could mean for our relationships and safety.

People are wondering what we can do to protect ourselves and those we love for the possible onslaught to policies to harm us and the unleashing and legitimization of racism, misogyny and hate in this country. Americans are taking to the streets to protest. We are unleashing rants on Facebook and Twitter and we are screaming “what do we do???”

BUILD COMMUNITY

The most effective way to create safe spaces, to form buffers against the onslaught of hate, to physically and emotionally protect ourselves and to coalesce resources for the upcoming battles is to create community.

Angry posts on Facebook do not build communities.

Trolling Trump supporters on Twitter does not build communities.

Protesting is not community building.

Across the U.S. people are taking to the streets to protest the election results. There is an outpouring of rage and fear at these rallies. Some will find this cathartic and necessary. But protesting, gathering in one spot and chatting slogans, does not build community.

Community building involves productive conversations about substantial issues. It involves getting to know individuals. It involves recognizing who is part of your community, welcoming them into community spaces, fostering atmospheres where community people feel present, and working toward goals.

I am incredibly lucky to live near the San Francisco Bay Area. The kinky community here is huge and diverse. We are working to build community.

In San Francisco we have a coffee house, Wicked Grounds, that is a community center. First (and many times the most important) is the coffee and food are bombtastically good. The owner has created an atmosphere which welcomes kinky folks. The cafe has books and toys and rope for sale. The books are all lifestyle books. The furniture and art are kinky. The cafe hosts classes and receptions and munches. There are racks of cards advertising upcoming events and educational opportunities for the community.

The owner is an essential part of the SF community. Not only do they (singular) create a welcoming space and a place for connection and education, they care for the community. After the horror show on Tuesday patrons and staff started posting notes around the cafe offering words of care and encouragement. The notes let people know they are loved, that it is okay to be afraid and cry, and that we as a community will get through this. Additionally, patrons are buying drinks to “pay it forward.” For people who need community but don’t have the funds to buy a coffee they can claim a coffee that was already paid for.

While this is a kind gesture, it is also incredibly important. It tells folks that they are welcome regardless of financial circumstance. It is a way of anonymously letting someone know they “Hey, we are in this together. Let me get you something to drink.” It is incredibly kind and helps everyone feel welcome. Grabbing a good cup of French press and reading there this evening replenished my heart.

We need to do more of this. Mourning the death of the idea that your fellow Americans have your back on some minimal level needs to be done. We need to be angry that our fellow citizens have betrayed us and the future. It is important to hold a mirror up to their hate and hostility.

To be able to do that, we have to be fortified and feel we are not alone. I know some folks are scared to leave the house. Some fear (and rightfully so) going into establishments for people that the cheeto’s minions hate could result in physical harm. This is not irrational.

But if we are going to get through this we need each other. We need each other in real life, not just on social media. We need to find ways to tell strangers they have safe places. We need to feed our souls. We need community.

Upcoming posts will talk about ways the BDSM community fosters a healthy community and how we an survive the future.

 

Join me. Love each other. Make each other safe. Do dirty. dirty things to one another. We got this.

 

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