Coming Out and Getting In

by Tamar Kay
Copyright © Tamar Kay.

For some it's no big deal to attend that first group meeting of "alternative" or "kinky" people. For others it's more than a bit terrifying. If it's a hard step, it's also a brave one. Standing up for yourself in a world that often doesn't understand or approve isn't easy. But if you're here at RCDC, you should be proud of that step. So now you're probably wondering: what next?

Maybe you'd like to make some friends, get some hands-on education, or maybe even find a partner. Maybe you've heard rumors about other get-togethers. Private ones. Maybe you get the feeling that you're sort of on the outside looking in. How do you get in? What's the password?

Groups that support alternative and BDSM interests vary a lot. Some, like RCDC, very enthusiastically welcome newcomers. Others are harder to locate. Some groups are formal, some not. While most people in the BDSM community are warm and friendly, they are also understandably cautious about newcomers. People in the community may be hesitant to open up and trust you until they know you better.

And that's a good thing, really, though it might not seem that way to you when you're new. It's that very caution that protects you as you become a more trusted member of the community. So how do you start the process of becoming better known and more trusted?

Here are some recommendations.

    • Always be courteous. It doesn't matter what your kink or orientation is, you should always be polite and thoughtful. Don't pressure, don't push, and be responsible for your words and actions.
    • Keep the identities of those you meet at meetings confidential. This means that you should be circumspect about saying where you know them from, and even careful about using their name since many people use alternate names. Not everyone is out to the world to the same degree. Some people have jobs and families to protect, while others are happy to have their photos in the paper along with a description of their kink. If you don't know, don't risk it.
    • Get involved. Show up at events every chance you get. Volunteer to help out whenever you can. We're always short- handed, and volunteering is a good way to learn how things work and get to know people.
    • Learn the community culture. This includes various sets of traditions and expectations that are somewhat unique to the BDSM community. There are a number of ways to get this information. Take classes, attend educational seminars, go to as many meetings as you can. Read books. Ask for references and you'll get them.
    • Be patient. Don't expect people to give you what you want. Instead, try to find out what you can offer others, what you can offer your group and the community. Remember that good trust can take time to earn.

And when you have questions, ask. Ask more than once, get different opinions, and think about them. Remember that everyone had a day when they were the newcomer. Everyone had to once walk through a door for the first time.

And everyone should be proud.

Welcome to the community.

Copyright © Tamar Kay.

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