OUTING – A Call for Best Practices and Solutions

We ended our last blog post by saying the community has become treacherous. Many are leaving precisely for this reason. Because they feel UNSAFE. The creation of SAFE SPACES counts and is directly connected to the enjoyment of the freedom to live your life in a manner of your own choosing.

CONSENT is also vital and important to the perpetuation of healthy communities – everyone can agree on this.

Individuals among us who violate this sacred standard of behavior, who engage in the practice of outing others, including on social media – essentially weaponizing social media, are vectors of significant harm to the community at large. By their actions, outing others in social media they are responsible for the creation of spaces that are inherently NOT SAFE. IT is fine to bring attention to issues in the community, yet it is NOT fine when that “attention” includes outing on social media or bullying.

“Cyberbullying can be as simple as continuing to send emails or text messages harassing someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender. It may also include public actions such as repeated threats, sexual remarks, pejorative labels (i.e. hate speech) or defamatory false accusations, ganging up on a victim by making the person the subject of ridicule in online forums, hacking into or vandalizing sites about a person, and posting false statements as fact aimed a discrediting or humiliating a targeted person. Cyberbullying could be limited to posting rumors about a person on the internet with the intention of bringing about hatred in others’ minds or convincing others to dislike or participate in online denigration of a target. [2]

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EVERYONE should feel safe. EVERYONE. Including those you do not like. Anyone who feels that safety is ONLY for those they consider to be worthy is part of the problem. Individuals who engage in online outing included.

By their actions they are also CONSENT VIOLATORS and ONLINE Bullies who embolden others to act in similar ways.  As an example, Since our original post we have received screen captures of further outing violations by those who are also TITLEHOLDERS. You can see these screen captures of outing by Moxie Minion- Northwest Bootblack 2018 here, slave Tabitha- International Ms Bootblack 2015 here, and also in a thread of Teagan- International Ms Bootblack 2018 here. We have only left the names visible of those who are out on their Profile or if the name is the same as their scene name. We have received other screen captures but it would be impossible to share those images without also outing those individuals.

Some of you, having observed this behavior have asked what you can do to protect yourself or others from being outed.  We do not believe that the responsibility of creating SAFE and CONSENSUAL spaces lies entirely with leadership, but that each person is personally responsible for proactively making decisions that contribute to their own safety as well as communicating with Leadership.

At the same time we also believe that that Leadership is responsible for …well…leading. The reality is that many leaders of conferences, groups, contests etc; are TOTALLY unaware of the forms that outing takes today. They are often so focused on prohibiting things like bringing cameras into the dungeon that they have a blindspot when it comes to how often online outing occurs

This current environment is RIFE and reactionary with accusations of a lack of safety without offering real plans to solve issues going forward. Being solution oriented we have come up with the following proposed solutions and ACTIONABLE guidelines. This is not exhaustive by any means yet we hope it is a step in the right direction to serve to protect and maintain the standard of consent within this Lifestyle while not preventing holding others accountable. These are SUGGESTIONS only.

Now before we begin let’s start with those who may have issues with what we propose:

“I’m an Activist, Influencer, Leader, Titleholder etc; – it is my JOB to speak out against injustice you just want to SILENCE me!”

Not at all. Feel free to say WHATEVER you WANT to say! In fact – you are totally free to NOT like whomever, for whatever reason. What you are NOT free to do is to weaponize social media in an attempt to harm said person or persons.

  • Do NOT Assume ANYONE is out.
  • In Lifestyle forums such as Fetlife use the persons scene name.
  • On mainstream forums be careful to ONLY use a scene name WITHOUT using vanilla or mainstream legal identifiers.
  • Avoid seeking out mainstream information in regard to individuals or contacting them on mainstream forums. WITHOUT their consent.
  • If using screen captures be careful to blur out vanilla or MAINSTREAM information including names.
  • Do not give out location information as this crosses a dangerous line – potentially exposing people to individuals prone to use violence as a communication device -many of whom may not even be part of any community.
  • Speak to your local community leaders to ensure those who violate known community rules are addressed. If someone has committed a CRIME report it to law enforcement or otherwise utilize the criminal JUSTICE system. That is why it exists.

WE believe in Reconciliation FIRST!

If you are a person who has engaged in this behavior:
  • Stop this behavior immediately. You can remove all traces of this behavior and STILL stand for what you believe in and speak about issues that are important to you.
  • Say “I’m Sorry” or post a public apology for your behavior. You did public harm and so your apology needs to be public as well – this goes a long way in healing.
  • Don’t tolerate or excuse this behavior in others. Tell your friends and associates that this behavior is damaging, may violate certain bullying laws and that you will not associate with it.
If you run a conference, group, club or event:
  • Create a very strong and clear zero tolerance policy statement AGAINST outing – including social media. Fetlife has a policy against doing this – your event, club or conference needs to have this in place as well – this is really the ONLY way to insure that you have a SAFE SPACE FOR YOUR ATTENDEES. 
  • Create a policy to ban people from your group, conference etc. if you have been provided evidence of online outing  – while it can be difficult to prove offline outing …with screen captures you can definitely prove outing on social media. 
  • Create a strong zero tolerance policy against outing for all of your presenters, teachers and speakers – anyone found to be engaging in outing behavior on social media will be banned from your event and will not be allowed to teach or speak at your event in the future. 
If you own a title:
  • Create a zero tolerance policy of ’NO OUTING’ for your title holders – if they have been found to engage in outing behavior online their title will be pulled and they are no longer welcome at your conference. 
  • Create a strong zero tolerance policy against outing for all of your judges – anyone found to be engaging in outing behavior on social media will be banned from your event and will not be allowed to judge, teach or speak at your event in the future. 
If you are a judge, presenter or are thinking about running for a title:
  • Ask conferences, producers, groups, and clubs directly to see written documentation that they have a zero tolerance policy specifically against online outing. 
  • If they do not have a policy in place – ASK THEM to put one in place immediately in writing for your OWN protection.
  • Refuse to attend, teach, run for a title in any event that refuses to have a clearly stated zero tolerance policy regarding all forms of outing behaviour. 
If you are an attendee, presenter, titleholder or judge:
  • Do NOT assume ANYONE is OUT! Even if they seem to be. They may be out to you, but not in general.
  • If you know of clubs, organizations, etc.. that don’t have a zero tolerance policy in place, use your influence to request that they do so immediately.
  • If they refuse to put a clear zero tolerance policy in place, use your influence to let others know that they do not have a policy in place and that attendees may be at risk by attending their event. 
  • Consider posting in the APPROPRIATE spaces a list of conferences, clubs, organizations that DO have a “No Outing” policy
  • Consider posting the following on your Fetlife profile if you have one “I do NOT Consent to having my Lifestyle persona, or scene name linked with my LEGAL (aka vanilla or mainstream) name, location or profile on any form of social media. Doing so is called “outing” and is a form of cyber bullying and a consent violation. “
  • Judges – specifically consider asking the following question of contestants; “Is there any reason to ever out someone – and to whom?” There is a world of difference in outing an abuser/assailant to law enforcement for JUSTICE and outing someone whose views or personality you don’t like for a VENDETTA

It is our sincere desire that these guidelines will assist you in taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for your OWN Safety.

Lastly, our intention is that this will be the LAST thing we have to share in regard to this particular issue and we can get back to writing about how YOU can create and sustain POWERFUL power exchange dynamics.

Not Our IMSL 2020, OUTING IS IN VOGUE…

OUTING: Definition; Outing, also known as doxing, refers to the act of openly revealing sensitive or personal information about someone without their consent for purposes of embarrassing or humiliating them. This can range from sharing someone’s legal name and personal or employment information with the kink community at large, to weaponizing social media by posting personal information connecting a persons scene name with their mainstream identity and/or information. 

We’ve received a number of messages from those in the scene wondering what happened to slave Namaste’s Fet profile. 


A very highly regarded Master and Mistress reached out to us this morning. 
She asked if we were okay and expressed REAL CONCERN that this was done. And she said… “She OUTED you… and that is NOT okay” 


Immediately we could see the ripples. How this says a great deal about our standards as a community…and it’s so much bigger than US.
One of the things we had to edit about our “Telling the truth” post (here) was that the person who accused slave Namaste of being  transphobic OUTED her. 


and… she’s a titleholder. 


In the midst of the drama, and addressing so much of what occurred we didn’t think it mattered. 
Why?

Because only ONE person had the temerity to TELL her that she outed slave Namaste. 
ONE person. 
Out of HUNDREDS of comments. 


She screen captured items from slave Namaste’s mainstream FB profile with her LEGAL NAME on it and shared it with her KINKY audience AND told everyone where both Master Obsidian & slave Namaste would be presenting. 
And NO ONE said anything. (we have blurred her name so as not to out her)

Just consider that for a moment. 

Imagine yourself in that situation

Imagine this being done to you. 

Imagine what it could cost you in regard to your children, your employment, your LIFE. 


Yet… the ONLY thing anyone cared about was her slanderous accusation.  And her lie that M/sC pulled US (when in fact we pulled out so as to not allow drama to detract from the conference)


This is terrifying to us.  That a blatant OBVIOUS act like this is tolerated.  That this is considered “Good behavior” by others. 
She was actually called a “whistleblower” by a certain individual defending her. 


Hardly. 


Since then we’ve noticed others doing likewise. Sharing LEGAL names and locations on the Book of Faces in their zeal for call out culture.
In some sort of bizarre misguided attempt at justice people are listing on MAINSTREAM platforms others FetLife names and legal names. And this is CONDONED. (BTW… if you have been assaulted and want justice, this is what the LEGAL system exists for – NOT social media)  – 


Her behavior – as a titleholder has now EMBOLDENED others that this is the standard, this is Okay. 
Is this what we want? Titleholders that use their voices to OUT people? 


So why do we call this “NOT our IMsL”? 
Because this person is currently Ms Texas Leather 2019 and will be competing for IMsL in 2020. The larger community and judges need to be aware and decide if THIS is the behavior we want representing us… and what this means for the FUTURE of this community. 


Recognize that you’re responsible for who you ELECT to represent you, and who you celebrate in WRONG DOING to others. Title producers  and judges need to remember that giving someone a sash and a back patch means they represent YOUR title and that says something about the DIRECTION you condone.


When we celebrate and condone Call OUT culture… it leads in swift order to OUTING culture.  
And yes… for many it has no real effect…but let’s be honest, for the vast majority the effects of that are DEVASTATING.  After all thats why so many in the Leather and BDSM communities have 2 profiles on social media or do not friend kink folks on social media. 
For fear of this. 


At one time we would have thought this was simply the nightmare of a fearful mind…that no one in this Community would EVER violate one of our most sacred rules. A rule that is based in safety, privacy and CONSENT.   


Now we realize the monsters of nightmares walk amongst us with a sash and a Title. 
Be careful out there, these Leather waters have gotten treacherous- those circling fins aren’t dolphins they are SHARKS.

It is time for the Truth to Come Out

For the past few weeks we’ve been relatively quiet as accusations have been hurled about and our names have been dragged through the mud by people who don’t know us, have never met us and would NEVER say the things they are saying online in person. 
 
Our tendency has been simply this… I have nothing to defend. 
Period. 
 
Therefore when asked to defend ourselves we simply declined. 
 
Those who know us know the truth and those who do not – don’t really care about it. 
 
That said, because many of the details DID NOT occur online- it’s time to give Power to TRUTH… and let it do what it does. 
 
Leather families are complex. They can be prone to drama.
 
Ours has had it’s fair share. Master Obsidian started Sankofa Leather Tribe years ago to begin to bring some Leather households of like mind together in service to each other and the community as well. 
 
Over time one family began to become more and more antagonistic, both of other families in the Tribe and towards Leather leaders in general. For years they sowed discord in the family and were very vocal of their contempt for certain conference producers and individuals in the leather community. We would explain and defend as they were new to the leather community. (Interestingly many of those we defended are now supporting them in their malicious attacks of us…how ironic). After years of a tendency to use character assassination and hostility as a communication device we had enough and this family was removed from Sankofa Leather tribe. 
 
One of our basic Tenets for House Obsidian is always civility. 
 
And so we were civil when we would see them out and about in the lifestyle.
 
Recently the s-type turned Dominant of this same household won a title and began to use her platform to launch what we call “Social Justice Terrorism” – this is when a person uses their “Voice” on the platform of social media to assassinate the character of others by using incendiary language that creates knee-jerk emotional responses in order to further ideological goals.
 
And no, the use of the term Terrorism is not extreme…it is in fact scary in it’s accuracy.
 
“… terrorism mercilessly destroys social values on the pretext of protecting superior values. People, with low social status, display aggressive behaviour patterns and violent acts to earn respect, attract attention and realise themselves. At this point, radical terrorism provides a great opportunity for these unqualified people to gain glory, protect their honour and thus achieve status” (1)
 
If you use a term like “racist” for instance in labeling someones speech or actions – most people don’t ask in response “Is that really racist?” Because to ask this is akin to being a racism apologist – instead most people will sympathize and support because EVERYONE wants to be perceived as a “good” person… and besides no one would say it if there wasn’t SOME truth to it… right? 
 
This tendency is PRECISELY what SJT (Social Justice Terrorists) rely upon. They use these acts of social media violence “to earn respect, attract attention and realize themselves”. 
 
They rely upon the hot and fast nature of social media, they rely upon people not thinking for themselves. They rely upon a lack of temperance and questions. 
 
In the SJT world- the person who strikes FIRST is the victor – because any response other than “You are right” is painted with additional scorn, derision and character assassination. 
 
This person – screen captured a FB post that was written by slave Namaste and called her trans-phobic – while simultaneously posting information telling her audience where we would be presenting next and cautioning attendees of that conference to not attend our classes. 
 
Not to mention – and perhaps just as importantly: In so doing on SOCIAL MEDIA this person violated one of the most closely held and sacred tenets of this community – OUTING both Master Obsidian and slave Namaste on Facebook. 
 
Slave Namaste is NOT transphobic (something that when mentioned in rebuttal to what was being claimed – caused others – even transpeople who defended her- to ALSO be labeled transphobic, among other things..) 
 
The writing that was called transphobic can be found here, along with Namaste’s writing on the subject.
 
We are not in any way ashamed of our stance on these issues. As parents we feel strongly about the rights and RESPONSIBILITY of a parent to PARENT their children – and that such parenting and guidance does not END when it comes to issues of gender. 
 
We believe that some misguided parents misusing this authority and responsibility and harming their children does not make ALL parents suspect. 
 
We believe strongly that schools do NOT have the right to supersede parental authority unless the parents can be shown to be abusive. 
 
We believe those who say they knew they were Trans from childhood and needed parental support.
 
We also believe those who say that they THOUGHT they were trans and realized they were not and appreciated the parental guidance THROUGH it. 
 
To paint our perspective on PARENTING as TRANSPHOBIA is twisted logic and pure lies. 
 
To jump on board this crazy caravan because YOU don’t want to be considered transphobic is cowardice. 
 
That said, that was not the end. 
 
Master Obsidian is on the board of Butchmanns. 
 
Butchmann’s owns the SWLC and engages the executive director and by extension all the support teams and volunteers etc., to put on the SWLC conference. 
 
The board recently informed the committee that based upon the negative behavior in the community of the scheduled Emcee  that the board believed that it was not in the best interest of the SWLC conference to contribute negative energy to the conference by providing her a microphone and a platform.
 
The Committee put in place to run SWLC did NOT want this person removed. They REFUSED categorically to remove the emcee. They then issued the board an Ultimatum… she stays or fire us. 
 
Now, it should be said that the board OWNS SWLC – the committee serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors and has no right whatsoever to hire or fire an emcee without the Boards consent. 
 
Butchmanns decided that this person should not be the Emcee at SWLC because this is not the first time she has used her platform to cause division in the community – and given her reputation for the same, it was decided that energy was NOT welcome and would not be given a platform (or a microphone) representing the SWLC or Butchmann’s Inc. 
 
After a long discussion between the board chair and the committee – during which the board chair was informed that the committee had planned to engage this Emcee anyway – with or without Board approval – and if the board did not agree to their demands, then the board was free to fire the committee. (This actually goes without saying because the committee serves at the pleasure of the Board, not the other way round – so in essence the committee actually fired themselves due to insubordination) 
 
Unfortunately as all of this is taking place – someone comes forward accusing a well known ritual facilitator and leader of a group of misconduct and consent violations from 2 years ago. Following this others come forward with other accusations going as far back as 12 years. 
 
The committee wanted to ban this person from the SWLC conference – even though this person apparently had no plans to attend SWLC. 
 
In some weird way…the Committee begins to conflate these things in their re-telling- saying that the Board removed them because they wanted to ban an abuser. 
 
This is categorically NOT TRUE. 
 
To add weight to their story the committee keeps saying “Well are all of us lying?” 
 
To this I would say YES… they are. 
 
Proverbs 6:16-19
16These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

 



Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, Colombia University Press, New York 2006.