I feel so bad for the Iron Bell Academy having to pack up and move, due to pressure from local parents whose children were taking dance classes in the same building. This is unfortunate. It appears that no laws were broken and that the Iron Bell did everything it could to keep things discrete. It was a beautiful play space with fantastic cages and hand-crafted equipment. The owners kept the parties small and there were always real players there, very hot scenes. So, I’m hoping they find a new location soon. God know how hard it is to find places to play in NYC.
My question is, for those of us who can’t play in our own homes (raising hand), who like to go out and play in public (again raising hand) or just like to go places to see other people and other hot scenes — are we as party-goers doing enough to keep a venue discrete?
I have seen on various occasions where those running a party have asked attendees to wear vanilla clothes to and from the party and to change once they get inside.
Yet I’ve seen countless times where over-the-top fetish wear is worn. It might be “legal,” but it’s unusual for a particular neighborhood and it draws attention. If you saw a woman wearing a corset that shoved her breasts up and exposed massive amounts of cleavage; if you saw a guy wearing a kilt, kick-ass boots and a steam-punk top hat; if you saw a burly guy dolled up in a short, plaid skirt, ankle socks, Mary Janes and a blonde wig… wouldn’t you feel funny if they were in the same building as your kids? Wouldn’t you want to find out what was going on?
My open-mindedness does not extend to exposing innocents to culture and activities they don’t need to know about. Yes, kids may easily find out about kink elsewhere, there’s no doubt. But as responsible members of the BDSM community maybe we need to try harder for it not to be us who exposes it to them, and for us to continue to not push our kink on non-kinky people (keep it consensual).
Maybe we think it’s no big deal because we’re “not doing anything illegal,” and we’re not actually “showing” anyone what we do behind closed doors–but it may very well matter to the host of the facility, who risks losing “our” place to play.
People in the general public are very close-minded and probably scared of things they haven’t been exposed to, as evidenced by this clueless TV reporter reporting on Iron Bell. As I wrote in the FetLife Brimstone group, where I first heard of Iron Bell’s troubles, “The first sign of idiocy from the news media (I’m quoting the reporter in the link above) was this: ‘I didn’t actually read that book, but I did do some “research” by talking to some ladies in the newsroom who had read “50 Shades of Gray” ‘ … ‘an (OMG!) S&M dungeon with leather and whips.'” I really loved his “objective” and self-congratulatory “happy ending” to the story–thanks to the news media, all those evil people will go away now.
You see, the media often reflects what it believes the public wants to hear, and a lot of the public follows along and “the truth” becomes what they think they want to hear–reading a fantasy romance with a little kink is fine! Going out and actually doing those things is not! “Normal” people don’t do that!
We are nowhere near to being accepted by the general public, and I don’t want to be nor have to be. Yes, if I get fired from a job because of my kink I will not just roll over and accept it; I will fight it and that will mean I’ll have to expose myself and my kink.
But in the meantime, I just want to keep on doing what I’m doing, going out and having fun as discretely as possible. If I walk from my car to my neighbor’s house wearing leather, I may have just outted her and there may not be another party there.
I go to spanking parties a lot, and I’ll be at Chicago Crimson Moon from next Wednesday through the following Monday. At nearly every spanking party, we hear of some idiot spanking someone in a hallway, bandying toys about, throwing a girl over a shoulder, etc. … or worse, actually soliciting some cute waitress or bartender to come join the party (this has happened in Vegas a few times, at Shadow Lane parties).
When a party organizer says “no fetish wear in certain locations,” that includes a school girl outfit on a mature woman. Use your head. People will know something is going on when they see that. If anyone want to join us, if they are “one of us,” we are not hard to find. We don’t need to solicit!
Maybe the Iron Bell didn’t have those sorts of rules or warnings, so this may be a moot point as far as that venue is concerned. But, I have a pretty strong feeling that someone in the neighborhood saw something or it would have been business as usual there.
Yes, it’s wrong and a shame that the Iron Bell was forced to abandon the building so suddenly. People “should” leave us alone to do our own thing. But, they probably won’t. So we need to be aware of this and of our surroundings, and sensitive to our hosts who risks exposure so we can have a place to play.