By Shanna Katz
When I lived in Denver, I was lucky enough to be a fairly active member of the thriving kink community – multiple dungeons, in a kink family, throwing my own queer and women/trans play parties. At times, I was an anomaly in certain spaces; a queer woman who didn’t identify 100% as anything other than queer. For certain activities (like fire play!), I would bottom to certain people, including cisgender men. For many other activities, I was Ms. Top; creating piñatas to beat up, tickling little girls (adults playing little girls), delivering firm spankings. I am a pervert, and have fun with various aspects of kink.
However, upon my move, and my travels where I come into contact with kinky people and communities around the country, it seems as though my identity is questioned more and more. Upon meeting people, I’m often questioned as to whether I identify as a top or bottom, submissive or dominant, pet or owner. Sometimes the term “switch” is bandied about, but often with a negative air attached to it.
When I would bring my partner to events, we are almost always queried as to who is in charge of who, which one of us is the owner, who is the Mistress.
And you know what? It drives me crazy that in this context of constantly changing identities, relationships and fetishes (you know Ms. X was mentoring sub V in blood play last week, and now she’s a kitty belonging to Sir Y, but likes to give Miss O spankings at play parties) that we are so dependent on definitions. Why are we attached to this?
Now, I discuss this outside of High Protocol. If you or someone you love is into that, then I support High Protocol dinners, parties, families and events for which identity is absolutely crucial for how you will interact with someone. However, when attending a Kinky Karnival or an open play party, I shouldn’t be bombarded with questions as to my proper place in the power play queue.
Why? Because while I have spend time identifying as a Domme, as a submissive, as a kitty, as a nanny, as a top and more, I currently don’t identify as any. I am a kinkster, or a pervert. Your choice. I like to play with who I like to play with, and our roles may change depending on my feelings, the day, or my outfit.
My interactions are based on connecting as people; I will greet each and every person with a friendly smile, and then, once I’ve gotten to know them and what they attach importance to, only then will I start discussing their identity and roles within the kink community.
You don’t have to identify as any specific role, title or honorific to be kinky; you only need to have interested in kink/BDSM/fetishes and be respectful. When we put so much importance on roles, we force people into boxes that don’t fit them, and we scare people away from kink because they don’t identify in a role, and feel like they don’t fit in the community.