March 6, 2013
BDSM Ideology: “Pansexual”

   Today I came across this comment on Fetlife defining the word “pansexual” (trigger warning for a transphobic slur): 

I’m no dictionary writer but my view of pansexual,
Straight dude gets crazy flogging by gay dude, makes out with Asian chick, then goes and chills with a person who sexually identifies as N/A and a tranny friend. Later joins fight against discriminating against people with AIDS by signing pledge/getting picture taken for website, high fives black friend, who is there with his wife, who are both trying to pick up whoever, while cross-dresser performs on stage.
While making way back to group gets many sexy tummy rubs on hot ass stomach by many, many, many gay dudes. Shunned by, well you. Laughs with macho gay dude about it and shares beer, flattered by compliments.
^pansexual folsom st east, true story.
 
   This is a stunningly accurate description of what “pansexual” actually means in the BDSM scene. Note that though a variety of genders and sexualities (and races) are mentioned, the narrative here is centered around a straight, cis (and presumably white) man. The others mentioned serve only as fun experiences for the straight white man’s enjoyment, and of course as proof of how enlightened and multicultural he is (“high fives black friend.” Is “flattered by compliments.”). He participates in a socially approved form of activism (he signed a pledge!) while performing his statist duty by mocking unapproved activism (“shunned by, well you” is directed at a well-known local feminist/queer/trans* activist. The thread is about gendered pricing at BDSM events, which many, including said activist, criticize for objectifying women and erasing trans* people).
   I should also note that in fact Folsom East is ostensibly an LGBT event, which is run primarily by gay men: it was originally organized by GMSMA (Gay Male SM Activists, now defunct) and is now its own not-for-profit corporation. Folsom East is not what most people imagine when they think of a pansexual BDSM event (a google search for “pansexual” on their site returns no results). Pansexual usually refers to parties and events run by TES, DSF, SOJ, BR, or similar organizations, and those events are attended almost exclusively by straight cis men and straight or bisexual cis women.
   So here’s what “pansexual” really means in reference to a BDSM event: straight, but with a fancy name (and maybe occasionally some fancy guests) to make you feel better about your straightness. “Pansexual” is to the BDSM scene what “multicultural” is to liberal assimilationism: a pretty word meant to disguise an ugly truth. BDSMers, like neoliberals, don’t actually care about marginalized groups; they only care about believing that they are the type of individual who cares about those groups. Calling an event “pansexual,” then, accomplishes a neat fiction. It allows straight cis people to mark an event as being for straight cis people without the overt oppressiveness of coming out and saying that that’s what it is.

  1. limnrix reblogged this from miss-sakamoto and added:
    Okay, so what’s going on is, we have a bunch of cishetmen getting behind a couple of transpeops complaining that by...
  2. magic-neighbour reblogged this from miss-sakamoto
  3. miss-sakamoto reblogged this from limnrix and added:
    Um what the hell? Firstly, throwing around the T slur is not ok and I’m going to view any opinions from someone who does...
  4. writingdirty reblogged this from agevitam and added:
    Yeah. This. I’ve had a variety of people “praise” me for being far queerer/gayer/whatever than I am. I’ve playfully...
  5. write-on-red reblogged this from 00syd and added:
    Yes, yes, yes. All of this. I tried to explain to a cis straight white man that I felt uncomfortable attending his...
  6. 00syd reblogged this from agevitam and added:
    Spot on
  7. agevitam posted this