Years ago, my favourite weekly vanilla event decided to support rape survivors by dedicating the night to assault stories. I did that event every week… but not that week. Rape stories trigger the vast majority of survivors, so many of us stayed at home that night. The event organiser managed to pay lip service to an issue without empathising with those who were affected by it. He temporarily excommunicated us with kindness.
This kind of situation has much in common with the double bind that the YKINMK principle puts us in when we’re planning events. It’s supposed to make play parties as inclusive as that vanilla event intended to be, but sometimes it ends up achieving the opposite.
People tend to say we must practice YKINMK *or* empathise with those affected by more extreme or triggery scenes. That’s a false dichotomy. There are greys in between all that black and white thinking and also a right shade for the majority. I believe YKINMK should be practised in public scenes *as long as* it’s inclusive. The moment it becomes exclusive, I think we need to create a little empathetic apartheid. We can’t cater towards everyone, but we can cater towards most. I believe we should.
When I have dinner parties, I ask guests about allergies and preferences. Tracy’s distaste for flaming hot curry is inconvenient to my dietary masochism, but I like all my guests to eat. I cater towards peanut allergies and a seething hatred for Nutella. I don’t put nuts in my food, and I don’t shove Nutella down anyone’s throat if they don’t want it. I find the best compromise for all, and putting chilli in my food would starve Tracy all night, so I don’t. Extreme scenes are the peanuts and chilli in this story: they can be harmful to a significant demographic of people, so keeping them separate from general events is more inclusive than YKINMK.
Some people in my kink community prefer highly sexual play. Others don’t like to be exposed to it so our organisers set rooms aside for risqué stuff. Those who don’t want to see it don’t go downstairs. Those who are upset by that kind of thing can still safely attend the party. We have smaller niche events for play that isn’t for everyone. Our larger events try to cater towards as much of the kink community as possible, just like my dinner parties.
I don’t want to marginalise an entire demographic of people, no matter which ethic we’re using to do so.