You’re the reason why we’re here.
I knew, when I participated in the documentary, that it had the potential to reach people. I had hoped it would. I suspected not many people would see it, but I thought if at least some people viewed it, it would be a good start at acceptance from the wider world. That’s really all I expected, a good start.
Leading up to the premiere, I was nervous. How much would the episode show of what was filmed? How would the kink community accept the work Gray and I had done? How would the viewing audience perceive the interactions between Gray and myself? Would they get it? Of course they were going to judge us (because that is what people do), but would their conclusions be a fair assessment of what was shown?
As the evening grew near, I was eased at times by the random messages I got from friends who had, to my utter shock, seen the commercials for the show. In my mind, I never thought about that part. Who, among my friend groups, watches that network? Apparently quite a few people.
And not just people in the kink community. One coworker, female and a mother, happened to mention it one day while we were at work. She was excited for me ( Shūshtar You’re going to be on television!), even as my nerves grew.
As the show aired, I was pleased when multiple friends sent their love via Twitter. The show was a hit.
Afterwards more messages came in through FetLife. Messages from people I’d never met but had somehow found me anyway. Everyone was thankful for the way Gray and I portrayed kink to a main stream audience. Everyone was complimentary. Nothing negative ever spoken.
And then came Winter Fire.
I suspected going in, since the event was to occur close to the premiere, that I would get noticed. I made a joke of it, deciding that my badge line would be, “Yup, that was me.”
And, sure enough, multiple times a day during the event someone came up to me, whether an old friend or an unfamiliar attendee, and thanked me for my participation in the show.
And then there was this one woman. I don’t remember what day of the event it was, but I think it was Saturday, just before dinner. I was on the Mezzanine, chatting with a friend, when she came up to me.
“Hi. I just wanted to thank you for your participation in the show. And I wanted to let you know you’re the reason why my husband and I are here. We Google-d kink, and found this event, and here we are, so thank you.”
I was flabbergasted.
I had hoped being on the show would make a difference. I had hoped it would help some people open up their minds about kink, maybe come closer to the understanding that it is just a variant of sexuality and not something to be demonized. I had hoped that maybe others, those who were curious, those who didn’t know there is a safe space for them, would find their way to the community.
And there, standing in front of me, was all I had hoped for.
The cherry on top: the couple was black. More persons of color, more diversity in the community, just because I talked in front of a camera and spent time with a friend.
I had no idea what I did for a few days last year would have such a profound influence on others. It is awe inspiring and humbling. I could not be happier for the small impact I made.
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