Some time ago I attended a meeting of a TV/TG support and social group in a gay bar just round the corner from the Nightingale Club where the monthly Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar is held. Conversation soon turned to the BBB which one lady had mentioned as a safe space in which to spend the day dressed (which, of course, it is). Another lady commented that I would surely find shocking the things I might see there, what with whips and gags and those things you stick up peoples’ bums.
“Well” I said, “probably not You see, I identify as kinky and BDSM is a big part of my life. I enjoy hitting people and sticking things up their bottoms”
The meeting fell silent and the lady who was so appalled hasn’t spoken to me since. This was all a bit disappointing. I still fail to understand why people who identify on the LBGTQ spectrum have a problem with the accoutrements of consensual BDSM and feel the need to cut a fellow transwoman who identifies as kinky. There is stigma and prejudice enough, as most of those reading this will be only too aware, without such reactions from those one might expect to be more understanding.
So it was a degree of apprehension that I invited my friend Jane to join me and my slave and ta the February BBB. I haven’t known Jane that long. We met through a shared interest in vintage fashion last year and have met up on a few occasions since. I told her a while ago about my kink and she seemed understanding and non-judgemental. I could have guessed that she would react like this. Ladies who are into vintage tend, in my experience, to be tolerant and accepting. Jane likes burlesque and there is a considerable crossover between this and fetish clothing. And my Vivs have always attracted admiring comments at fetish events.
Nonetheless it was an eyeopener for her. We went for lunch and she had more questions than I had time to answer. She was intrigued by the relationship I have with my slave and genuinely curious. She loved much of the clothing that was on sale and had even tried on a latex dress but decided against a purchase (even though I think she looked fabulous in it). But her main impression was about the people.
“Everyone was so friendly” she said “so normal. And I hadn’t expected there wold be so many women.”
And this is the point for me. Look beyond the toys and the clothing and you see people, old, young, able-bodied and not, all genders and sexualities, and none. Just people, among them some of the loveliest people I have ever known. And I thought, too, how good it is to have a vanilla friend who sees that.
One thought on “The Vanilla View”
Yes, in general, I’ve found folk in the fet scene more friendly than those in the vanilla world; easy to build up a network of acquaintances and – ultimately, if you’re patient, open-minded, prepared to learn and try to fit in – more meaningful friends. Strangers in a fet event or club are certainly usually more approachable than those in a typical pub, say, though there is still a degree of cliquishness in some quaters, and a healthy fear of certain types of outsiders. Maybe not so different from other specialist or themed groups in the vanilla world, but with the added sexual frisson (even if not always ouvert) and need to protect the group from ignorant vilifcation and abuse from powers that be and much of the rest of society, especially religious and other self-appointed moralist types, such as encountered here by Lady Celine.