Today’s is a two-part post. Well, maybe three. Sort of. Part 1 is some news. Part 2 is a few questions for you as a reader. Part 3 is some writing, but it relates back to part 2. Anyway. You’ll get what I mean as you go.
Part 1: News! Or shameless self-promotion, your pick.
Some cool Xtra! articles…
I’ve done some fun writing work lately and thought you might be interested in some links! For starters, I’ve had articles in the last three issues of Xtra. On May 7, a piece about Kinkalicious, a new annual kink-positive weekend event run by an old acquaintance of mine who, like me, spends a lot of time in both Montreal and Toronto. On May 14, the first article in a three-part series about the newly launched Rainbow Health Ontario organization. The series takes a look at the realities of queer health care in Ontario’s 14 different LHINs, or Local Health Integration Networks, each representing the interests of a region of Ontario. Expect the next two instalments between now and mid-June. Lastly, a piece about the first-ever Trans Pride March to be held in conjunction with Pride celebrations in Toronto.
… and a magazine launch…
In addition to the Xtra! stuff, a few months back I wrote an article for Women & Environments International Magazine about the website Safe2Pee.org, a hacker-run website that provides a Google Maps mashup where users can submit listings of safe bathrooms for trans people and, in some cases, people with disabilities. It covers over 400 cities worldwide. The mag has now been published and it’ll be launched Thursday night (May 28) at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore (73 Harbord St.), with a panel featuring several of the contributors, myself included. It starts at 7 p.m. Come say hello!
… and a trip to Australia! Yay!
In other news, I’m going to be spending almost the entire month of July in Australia. I’ve got a couple of speaking gigs in the works, but nothing confirmed yet. If you’re a reader in Australia and you know of an establishment or group that might like me to speak, drop me a line at veryqueer3 at yahoo dot ca. Also, if you just want to meet up, that’d be great!
Part 2: Questions for you.
I’m in the process of doing some thinking about what I want this blog to be all about. And while I certainly reserve the right to make final decisions based on what I feel best about, I’m very curious to have your input as a reader. Feel free to respond in the comments section, or send me an e-mail at veryqueer3 at yahoo dot ca. I would really appreciate anything you have to say!
1. Product reviews. I’ve always resisted doing product reviews here, because I feel this is a place for intellectual engagement, not so much for my opinions about the latest trendy dildos or lubes. But I’ve been approached by three or four different sex toy companies in the last few months who’d really like me to review their stuff. I’m still feeling lukewarm about the idea, but I’m interested in your take. Would product reviews be a bad plan? If so, why? On the flip side, would you be interested in hearing my (totally uncensored) opinions about the latest in sex toys? If so, any comments as to how you’d like to see that happen (format, frequency, etc.)?
2. Newsletter. I’ve had a lot of people ask me how they can be notified about my upcoming workshops and talks. I keep telling them to check my workshops page here for a list, but I realize that’s not the most efficient manner of spreading the word since I update it as things get confirmed rather than on any predictable basis. Also, it puts the onus on you to do the legwork. I’m thinking it might be a good idea for me to start sending out a monthly newsletter for interested parties. What do you think? Good idea or that much more spam?
3. Advertising. How would you feel about seeing advertising on this site? Again, I’m resistant for a long list of reasons, but I’m also hesitant to turn down a way of earning some income from the work I do here. The economy sucks and I’m going back to grad school soon. Y’know what I mean? Editing jobs are good and all, but if I were making a bit of cash on the blog, I might be able to drop a couple of boring contracts and post here more frequently instead. Of course I would be super choosy about whose ads I might accept. But I’m asking in principle.
4. Advice columns. A few times now, I’ve used this blog to post pieces that could most accurately be called advice columns. As in, someone sends me an e-mail with a burning question about deviant sexuality, and I post the question and my answer here. It’s been totally sporadic, but I’m wondering what the response would be if I did it more frequently. Does that sort of thing interest you? Or is reading about people’s personal problems a great big bore? Rest assured that no matter what, I have no interest in eclipsing the other writing I do with advice stuff, but taking a few questions once a month or something… I dunno. What do you think?
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer, folks.
Part 3: An example of that advice thing I was asking about.
The following is a note sent to me by george, a 54-year-old Southern gentleman who’s finally coming to terms with his desire to, in his words, live “a life of discipline and service.” Read on if you’re curious. (The entire thing is posted here with his explicit permission, of course.) His capitalization drives me a bit nuts, but I respect that for some people, this is intended only as a sign of respect and as an expression of their own identity, and not as an unbridled assault on standard English style.
Dear Madam: Please know that i am NOT trying to “hit” on You. i was perusing profiles in a group that includes male & female. i send this missive, because You are one of the few people who write with clarity. i came to fetlife hoping to conncect with someone/anyone who could accept me as i am. Several Women have been in touch, but for reasons of distance, or otherwise, i’ve yet to inspire anyone. If You don’t mind, i’m going to pose a question or two & ask Your advice. 1) i feel that my age might be a deterrent–i’m 54. What is the best way for me to approach a Dominant Woman? i can assure You that sex is NOT a primary motive. What i enjoy is a Woman’s power. i am more about service & being used in any capacity. 2) There are so many more men, here, than Women. Generally speaking, i suppose this is true for the “kink” lifestyle. i want so much a life of discipline & service that i am now ready to consider same sex encounters/relationships. i am initially quiet & shy, so this avenue is somewhat frightening. Do You have any advice about groups,here, & how i might proceed? i do so appreciate Your time & consideration…george(real name)
Thank you for clearly stating your intentions from the get-go.
To answer your questions…
i feel that my age might be a deterrent–i’m 54.
I wouldn’t worry about that terribly much. The BDSM scene is home to people of a huge age range, and you’re by no means at the outer edge of it. I’ve seen people old enough to be my grandparents enjoying the heck outta themselves in this little world of ours, and not just a few of them. As long as you don’t let your age become your own self-created deterrent, you should do just fine. If your local scene seems weighted toward a younger crowd, keep looking – the shiny young sexy things are perhaps at times the most visible face of the community, but they are not the whole of it.
What is the best way for me to approach a Dominant Woman? i can assure You that sex is NOT a primary motive. What i enjoy is a Woman’s power. i am more about service & being used in any capacity.
Respect (not fawning). Genuine listening (and that includes reading someone’s full profile before messaging them, and avoiding a cut-and-paste approach). Honesty and clear communication – like the words you have just written above about what you seek. Good boundaries (minimal expectations, maximum openness). These are the things I would say are worth keeping in mind when you approach someone. Beyond that, warmth and a genuine statement of what you are interested in will take you far.
There are so many more men, here, than Women. Generally speaking, i suppose this is true for the “kink” lifestyle.
I don’t think that’s necessarily true. There are tons of women in the kink scene, and I’ve never seen anything that would lead me to believe the numbers are skewed toward men. What is true is that dominant women are more rare – our culture discourages it. The peril of being a hetero male submissive is that you’re up against an enormous number of other guys who want something similar to you, and you’re all facing limited resources to meet the demand. Set yourself apart by your quality above all – self-awareness, authenticity, reliability and so forth. Most of all, respect. Women (dominant or otherwise!) tire of being approached again and again by men who are besotted with a vision of who they want her to be, and worse, a sense of entitlement to her embodiment of that fantasy. See her for who she actually is, don’t try to make her something else, and don’t let your desires get in the way of that clarity.
i want so much a life of discipline & service that i am now ready to consider same sex encounters/relationships. i am initially quiet & shy, so this avenue is somewhat frightening.
I must say, that’s an interesting idea. You could potentially acquire some valuable experience this way, and who knows, perhaps you would develop or discover a sexual interest you didn’t know you had. I’ve seen it happen! Still, I would caution you to nonetheless be absolutely clear about what you’re seeking if you approach a male dominant: do not pretend to be interested in gay sex if that’s not your bag, and be sure to indicate that while you might be up for serving in that capacity (if indeed you are) it is not your primary interest. Watch carefully that your potential dominant is not seeking that above all else either. “Pure” (?) (i.e. not primarily or necessarily sexual) dominance is fairly rare regardless of gender, but it’s definitely out there.
Do You have any advice about groups,here (i.e. on Fetlife), & how i might proceed?
I would advise that you join a few of the Master/slave groups – the discussions there seem to be quite rich, and you will certainly encounter like-minded individuals there who may be able to provide further advice. But while you’re waiting for your future dominant to show up, take the time to work on yourself. Read up on leather traditions and protocols (I can suggest some books if you like). Take care of your physical/medical, emotional, financial and intellectual health. Learn about and practice various types of service via mundane means – books, workshops, training (massage therapy, cooking, wine, household arts, basic repairs, bookkeeping, cultural awareness, etc.). Experiment with creating your own structure and discipline to see how you respond to different approaches. Pour your efforts into making yourself into a shining example of a well-adjusted, self-aware, healthy individual with a strong penchant for service. That will make you a worthy prize for a dominant with a keen eye!