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I just did a really not-racist thing, but got accused of it anyways.

Sometimes, like last night, I’ll get called out for racial bias and agree with it and then get very upset with myself.

Sometimes, like tonight, I’ll get called out for racial bias and be like “nope, you’re just an asshole.”

I was walking back from the gym and this guy was approaching from the opposite direction. As he passed he started cat-calling me, and then turned to walk backwards so he was facing me calling “what’s your name, girl? what’s your name?”

I then made the mistake of actually telling him my name. Because, idk, when someone asks a question my instinct is to answer. I should work on that.

At that point he started walking towards me again and was all “hey, you know, let’s talk girl,” at which point I flipped into ‘holy shit get the hell away’ mode and sped up, saying “no, I gotta get home.”

He did promptly give up (phew. they don’t always.) but said loudly as he was turning away “I see, you don’t talk to black people.”

At which point I, being still just a little bit keyed up and sensitive from last night, turned around and yelled “no, I don’t talk to STRANGERS” and then kept walking. He started cussing me out at that point, but I was too far away to really hear, thankfully.

I don’t care what race you are, you do NOT get to make me feel guilty or ashamed for not wanting to talk to you when the only thing I know about you is that you make suggestive comments to women on the street. I have zero obligation to talk to you, and you have no right to expect it or accuse me of racism when I don’t.

I assure you, I attempt to escape as fast as possible 100% of the time when a stranger tries to chat me up on the street.

You, sir, are just a sexist asshole.

I just did a really racist thing, and I’m fucking pissed at myself.

I was exiting the front door of my apartment building tonight, and there was a young man on the other side. As I went through he moved to go through the open door behind me, but without thinking about it I stopped him and said “um, is there someone you can call to get in?…”

He rolled his eyes and moved back towards the call box, and as I walked away I could hear him mutter “Yeah, alright, happens all the time, I know I’m black.”

And then I was like:

Fuck.

FUCK.

Yeah it’s official building policy never to let anyone piggyback when you go through that door (it’s Oakland, after all), but how often do I actually stop people? Really fucking rarely, that’s how often.

I always think I’m going to, but usually my insecurity about making other people upset with me leads me to just look busy, move really quickly, and hope it shuts before they can get through.

But this time I saw a young black guy who looked a tad scruffy and disheveled holding a crumpled Burger King bag, and some part of my mind went “hey, this time you should probably enforce that rule.”

Fucking christ Clare, seriously?

There was no conscious thought process before this happened, no moment of decision, I just found myself doing it and then walking away and then he said that and I realized “wow, what I just did was really fucking racist.”

I’m super angry with myself right now. Especially after I watched this awesome video today (found on Upworthy) encouraging white people to use their own racial privilege to combat racism.

 

 

I’d love to think that in a moment like this woman describes where I see discrimination happening I would realize it and step in and say something, but there was no “see it happening” or “realization” moment tonight, my mind was thinking about something totally unrelated and my automatic reaction was to stop this young black guy from getting through the door.

And I… I don’t know how to change that.

It feels like the only way to change my automatic reactions is to constantly be on guard about the racial implications of what I’m doing, but if that was all I devoted my mind to I’d never get anything done and it would take me forever to make decisions. I’m already hyper-vigilant about gender issues, so much so that it paralyzes my decision making sometimes and I wish I could just not care about it for a little while. I’ve never felt so lucky to be part of only one commonly oppressed group; if I had to deal with Intersectionality on a daily basis my head would explode.

Obviously for the next few days I’m going to be critiquing my reactions to people and looking for similar automatic responses I may have, but that will fade as the rest of my life overwhelms me and consumes my brain power, and next time I go to take the trash out maybe I’ll do it again.

What I am really glad about is that he made that snarky murmur and I heard it, because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have given it any additional thought.

If you, dear reader, have any ideas on steps someone can take to change automatic racist patterns of behavior I would love to hear about them.

Waves at Super Long Exposure Look Like Magic

I stayed at San Elijo State Beach, just a little north of San Diego, for a night on my recent vacation. They have a lovely beach that’s very far from any major light pollution, so I tried out some really long exposure shots of waves.

The results look like colorful, cloud, wispy bursts of magic under the waves. Or maybe I’m just a nerd. Either way, super pretty.

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15 sec, f2.8

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20 sec, f2.8

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30 sec, f4.5

I took my cats on vacation in an RV and no one was hurt

I just got home from a week of driving down the California coast, seeing the sights and relaxing on the beach. It was a very last minute trip – I reserved an RV, secured a spot at what campgrounds I could find, then threw some random supplies in the back and took off.

I also brought my two cats with me.

When I told my friends of this plan, some thought I was crazy. Well, ok, they all thought I was crazy, but some were more optimistic about the idea than others. One in particular (you know who you are) reacted with a dropped jaw and a blunt “that’s a horrible idea.”

Well, for the first day I thought she might have been right.

2013-08-03 21.03.45

As soon as the RV started moving, Molly crawled under the driver’s seat and started crying pitifully. Sara was also screaming, but she didn’t stay put – she was climbing around the cab, and I had to continuously shove her away from my lap and the controls while also remembering how fucking awkward it is to drive a giant box down a crowded highway.

There was also one moment of sheer panic when she stepped on the passengers side window control, and it was almost all the way down with her peering out before I realized and could roll it back up. Eventually she joined Molly under the seat.

My first campground was only 2 hours away, and thankfully after a couple hours of staying parked and settling in they came out and started to explore. Very, very cautiously.

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The next morning I had breakfast with Molly chewing on my toes, just like at home. It restored a lot of my confidence.

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From then on, they got more comfortable with every day of driving. Molly kept her spot under the drivers seat, but she didn’t cry any more. Sara gravitated to the sleeping loft, huddling up under the blankets, which is where she sleeps a lot at home. She seemed fairly content there.

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At night they both slept up there with me so I got to wake up to cat butt in my face, just like home. Honestly, that alone made the whole ordeal worth it. :)

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You might have noticed they’re both wearing collars – I put them on a week before we were scheduled to head out, and the condition of their coming along was that they not try to wrangle their way out of them (all my cats when I was growing up were experts at getting out of their collars). Amazingly, they both did a bang up job although Molly was very fond of chewing on her tag. (I probably should have expected that) They’re both micro-chipped, but I wanted a more immediate way for someone to know they’re mine in case they escaped.

Both collars are leopard print – Sara’s is purple, Molly’s the standard beige – which I continue to find hilarious.

2013-08-07 08.57.30

I didn’t try to get clever with any of their cat equipment, I just brought all their stuff from home – their normal scratching post, food bowls, nap bed, and litter box. Honestly the litter issue was what I was second-most worried about (other than them getting away) but because it was the same one they’re used to they had no issues with it.

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I could provide more commentary, but all you really want is more cute cat pictures, isn’t it? Yeah, that’s what I thought. :)

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That’s all, folks. :)

Genetic Baldness in Transgender Men

Today I stumbled across this lovely article on BuzzFeed titled “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Transgender People But Were Afraid To Ask.” It’s a good article, but certainly nowhere near “everything” I’ve always wanted to know.

I recently had an amazing chance to ask potentially stupid or unintentionally insulting questions about transgender issues: Kink hosted a “transgender awareness day,” and had speakers from the SF-based Transgender Law Center give us a presentation followed by an open invitation to ask them questions.

One of the speakers was a delightful chubby bear transman. He had a big bushy beard and charming round glasses and body hair absolutely everywhere, except on top of his head.

Buck-Angel

(this isn’t him. This is Buck Angel, arguably the most famous transman, and also quite bald.)

My question was: If you’re genetically female, how did you go bald?

This was based on two basic facts that made up my understanding of genetic baldness:

  1. Women don’t go bald.
  2. The baldness gene is passed through the mother, so if you want a hint at your potential baldness look at your maternal grandfather.

Well, it turns out that scientifically these really boil down to:

  1. The baldness gene is carried on the X chromosome.
  2. The baldness gene gets activated by testosterone.

#2 gets italics because that was the big “ah-hah!” moment for me. People born genetically female don’t lose all their hair even if they carry the baldness gene, because their bodies don’t produce enough testosterone to trigger it. But a transman who undergoes hormone treatments gets a giant spike in their bodies’ testosterone levels, which is easily enough to activate the gene.

Actually, what this means is that transmen are more likely than biological men to go bald! Since they have two X chromosomes, they’ve got twice the chance of carrying the gene in the first place.

Now you know. :)

I’ll end with a nekkid picture of Buck Angel because a.) he’s awesome, and b.) I need to test my SFW RSS filter again. :p

buck-angel_2

Whoops! Sorry, RSS followers. :\

I thought I had my RSS NSFW filter operational again when I posted that incredibly graphic list a few days ago.

I was wrong. :(

Sorry about that. I’ll avoid any more obscene posts until I’m completely sure I’ve got that fixed.

To make up for it, here’s a completely SFW picture of my cat being extremely cute.

adorable_sara

The Legal Definition of Sex

Sex.

What is it, exactly? I spent the weekend researching California prostitution law to find out.

My curiosity was aroused (heh) when during the course of my job I came across the sites for several professional dominatrices. These women charge by the hour to engage their clients in kinky scenes, which can be anything from your standard “tie ’em up and beat ’em” to “adult baby” play or human toilets.

31066_LoreleiLeeJesseCarlConnorPatricksChadRock025

(pictures not critical to story, but included because – um, do I need a reason?)

While these sites vary in themes and quality, they all contain a vehement declaration that under no circumstances will these scenes include sex. Prostitution, the exchange of sex for money, is illegal in all states but Nevada, so it’s perfectly understandable that they would emphasize that their services do not include illegal activity.

BUT.

Many of them include strap-on play, both oral and anal, amongst their list of talents. In my personal life I’ve always considered ‘fucking someone up the ass with a dildo’ as – well – sex.

29671_MarcusRuhl_MaitresseMadeline102

(how is that not sex?)

Does paying someone to fuck your ass with a strap-on not count as soliciting prostitution? What about vaginal strap-on action? Some also advertised anal fisting as a service, does that not count? Is the distinction merely “intent” –  if the purpose is to dominate, not arouse, is that legal to pay for? Is it not sex if you avoid touching the other person’s genitals? I was determined to find out.

I started with the California law prohibiting prostitution.

California Penal Code §647(b):

“As used in this subdivision, “prostitution” includes any lewd act
between persons for money or other consideration.”

Alright, so prostitution consists of exchanging money for “lewd acts.” What constitutes a “lewd act?” The definition, or as close as we come in legal terms, can be found in a 1979 California Supreme Court Case:

Pryor v. Municipal Court, 25 Cal.3d 238

Pryor was arrested for soliciting a blow job (or “oral copulation” as the case so charmingly calls it) from a stranger in a public location. That stranger unfortunately turned out to be an undercover police officer and Pryor was convicted of violating §647(a), which prohibits people from soliciting to engage in “lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view.”

Pryor appealed to the CA supreme court, one of his arguments being that the phrase “lewd or dissolute conduct” was unconstitutionally vague. The court agreed, further adding that no previous interpretation of the phrase applied to this case, thus they felt mandated to create an actual definition. They came up with the following:

“Although the varieties of sexual expression are almost infinite,
virtually all such offensive conduct will involve the touching of
the genitals, buttocks, or female breast, for ‘purposes of sexual
arousal, gratification, or affront.’ “

The quoted part at the end about purpose was actually pulled from a previous case dealing with California Penal Code §314.1In re Smith , 7 Cal.3d 362, which decided that nude sun-bathing did not constitute indecent exposure.

Although this definition was developed to apply to §647(a), and is based in part from language which was created for §314.1, it stands as the definition of “lewd act” for §647(b). At least according to a whole bunch of CA lawyers.

So! In summation. As defined by California law, an act is sexual if it meets these two criteria:

  1. it must involve touching of genitals, buttocks, or female breasts
  2. it must be intended to arouse, gratify, or affront someone sexually

I’m still debating whether or not the anus is part of the “buttocks,” but I’d say the dominatrices are in the clear due to the intent requirement (at least in California). You can pay someone to stick whatever you want up your butt, they just can’t do it with the intent of getting you off. Alternatively, if you can orgasm from someone touching you in places other than your genitals, buttocks, or female breasts, that might sail under this definition as well.

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(Ride me like a pony. Literally, not sexually.)

Although if it only counts as sex if you intend to get your partner off, there are a lot of guys out there who should technically still be virgins. (OH SNAP)

A field guide to Pride flags

It’s almost time for SF Pride, and that means the city is sprouting rainbow flags like flowers in the desert after a rainstorm. By now most people know what the rainbow signifies, but what about those other striped flags you see waving at Pride events? I thought I knew most of their meanings, but I recently came across the most Pride items I’ve ever seen in one place, and they had keychains with flags that I’d never seen before (and my office is a castle that flies Pride flags from the turrets).

Here’s a quick overview of all the ones I could find online, plus a more detailed history and analysis for each further down. My sources are cited in-line or listed at the end.

The top 3 are the ones most commonly seen at Pride events.

Edited on 6/27/15: Updated/added some flags based on reader feedback. Rearranged flag order to loosely group by category.

 

The Gay Pride Rainbow

PrideFlags_gay

Ah, the rainbow flag. Such a beautiful and bold statement, hard to ignore or mistake for anything else. (also easy to adapt to every kind of merchandise you can imagine)

Wikipedia has an extensive article on it, but here are the more interesting bits:

The original Gay Pride Flag was first flown in the 1978 San Francisco Pride Parade, and unlike its modern day 6-color version it was a full rainbow – it included hot pink, turquoise, and indigo instead of dark blue. Each of the stripes had a particular meaning associated with it, but mostly I think they just wanted a purty rainbow.

The pink stripe was removed relatively quickly due to fabric unavailability. The turquoise was taken out a year later when the 7-striped flag was hung vertically from lamp posts on SF’s Market Street, but the middle stripe was obscured by the post so they yanked turquoise to make it an even number of stripes. This was also when blue replaced indigo, which I assume was done to balance out the removal of the turquoise.

It’s been the same since 1979 and is recognized internationally. Awesome.

 

Leather Pride

PrideFlags_leather

Also known as “black and blue with love,” the leather pride flag is not associated with any particular sexual gender preference (though it’s used most commonly by gay men) but instead indicates a preference for kink. The “leather subculture” is somewhat hard to define as it encompasses a wide variety of activities. In general they all involve two things: leather and sex, although in modern times it’s also used for BDSM (which doesn’t necessarily include leather) or people who really really like wearing leather clothing (but not necessarily for a sexual purpose).

In fact, the leather flag has grown to represent so many other sub cultures that it’s spawned a huge variety of sub-flags. Here are some examples, taken from The Queerstory Files (I’ve swapped out the dog/puppy flag they used in the original article for the more common variant) and their meanings. Head over to that article for definitions of each.

 

PrideFlags_leather_variations

The original leather pride flag was debuted at the International Mr. Leather event in 1989 (exactly 47 days after I was born). The colors and symbol have no official meaning. (source)

Fun fact: The image under the ‘History’ section of the leather pride flag’s wikipedia article is of the flag flying from Kink’s turret. :)

 

Bear Pride

PrideFlags_bear

In general, a “bear” is a large, hairy, overtly masculine gay man – however, the community champions inclusion and self-identification is the only required characteristic. Sometimes slim but hairy men are called “otters,” and bears who are younger or sexually submissive are called “cubs,” which I find completely adorable. (source)

The Bear Pride flag was designed by Craig Byrnes, who did his undergraduate senior project on the bear community as well as being a part of it himself. His research gave him inspiration to design a flag for the growing community and in 1995 he sketched out four different designs in crayon. These were voted on during a meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Bears club, and the winning design was circulated amongst bear communities throughout the United States. (source) It is now used by bear communities around the world.

The colors represent the fur colors of all the different types of actual bears around the world.  (source)

 

Bisexual Pride

PrideFlags_bisexual

The bisexual pride flag was introduced in 1998 by Michael Page as an effort to give bisexual people their own rallying symbol similar to the gay rainbow flag. (source) The colors are an evolution of the “Biangle” symbol, itself a play on the original pink triangle used to represent homosexuality. (source)

PrideFlags_biangles

 

Pansexual Pride

PrideFlags_pansexual

Pansexuality is an interesting new categorization of sexual attraction. It’s defined as being attracted to people regardless of their gender or sex, which, unlike the strict definition of “bi”-sexual, includes those who fall outside the traditional gender binary. The pink represents being attracted to women, the blue being attracted to men, and the yellow for being attracted to everyone else. (source)

There are some very cute sentiments online associated with pansexuality:

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(source)

I couldn’t find any references for the history of the flag, but I’m guessing it’s rather new seeing as most of the uses for it are on tumblr.

 

Asexual Pride

PrideFlags_asexual

Asexuality is a lack of sexual attraction or a low interest in sexual activity. The asexual community is relatively new and not widely known, quite possibly because a lack of sexual interest causes much less public outcry than an “inappropriate” sexual interest.

The flag was created in 2010 through a process spear-headed by the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). The creation and selection was extremely democratic and took place entirely online. First they asked for submissions, then posted all the designs in a poll. The community went through several rounds of voting, and finally narrowed it down to the winner that you see above.  

 

Lesbian Pride

PrideFlags_lesbian

This flag features a “labrys,” a double-headed axe associated with early matriarchal Minoan societies and favored by tribes of Amazon warriors who roamed the area that is now Kazakhstan. The labrys became popular with lesbian culture in the 1970s, but has fallen out of common use since. (source)

The black triangle is a throwback to nazi Germany, similar to the pink triangle used by the general gay movement. The black triangle denoted “anti-social” behavior, which included lesbianism.

Although the flag was created fairly recently (1999 by Sean Campbell) it’s not as popular now as it once was, possibly because of the relative unknown of the symbols. (source)

 

 Lipstick Lesbian Pride

PrideFlags_lipstick

A “lipstick” lesbian means a woman who is gay and has a very feminine gender expression. Often this includes makeup (thus, lipstick), skirts, heels, etc.

This flag appears all over the internet, but it was very hard to find information about its origin. I finally traced it back to this post on a blog called This Lesbian Life. Reading through the author’s other posts, many of which are very good btw, it’s clear she was frustrated by other people not believing she was gay because she’s so femme. These are a couple lines from a blog post of hers called  “The 10 Worst Things About Being a Lipstick Lesbian.”

2. Nobody ever believes that you’re gay,  and thinks that you’re just going through a phase because of a bad boyfriend experience.
6. When you walk into a lesbian bar, everyone looks at you up and down and then whispers to each other, “Well she went to the wrong place.”
9. When you come out to someone they always have a crazy look on their face and then say…”Well I had no idea! You don’t seem gay!!!”

So, she created a flag of her own to represent a marginalized subgroup! Pretty cool.

Also, I think it’s seriously fucked up that this woman created this gorgeous flag, which is all over the internet, but nobody credits her. She wasn’t that hard to find, she’s on the 2nd page of a Google Search for “lipstick lesbian pride flag.”

 

Polyamorous Pride

PrideFlags_poly

Polyamory is often described as “consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.” It’s basically the practice of being in a relationship(s) with multiple people at the same time, and everyone involved knowing about it and being ok.

Sadly for math nerds everywhere, the “pi” in this flag merely symbolizes the letter “p” for the first letter of “polyamory.” The flag was created by Jim Evans, but I couldn’t find info on when or where. (source)

Update 6/27/15: The flag’s creator added this info in the comments:

“The flag was indeed designed by me, Jim Evans, in the summer of 1995 or so. The ‘pi’ symbol has taken some heat over the years because of its obscurity, but yes, it was chosen to represent the first letter of “polyamory.” Part of the idea was to claim an arbitrary symbol that would be innocuous to people who didn’t know better, allowing closeted polyfolk to remain discrete if their circumstances required it. As an additional benefit, it was also a readily available typographic symbol on computing platforms at the time, and could be easily replicated by nearly anyone, which was seen as a distinct advantage, given the limitations of the designer’s visual artistic ability. I’m simply gratified that enough people over the years have found it acceptable enough to keep using it.”

Update 2/26/16:

The above is the only real “flag” design I could find for polyamory, but a more common pride symbol amongst the poly community is the ‘infinity heart’, or sometimes just an infinity sign.

Polyamory.svg

Thanks to Zinnia from polyadvice.tumblr.com for letting me know!

 

Straight Pride

PrideFlags_straight

At first I was amused to discover the existence of heterosexual pride flags, but after several minutes of googling “straight pride” I realized they’re usually used by asshole conservative groups as an anti-gay slogan. :\ Kinda like “white pride” actually means “we hate anyone who’s not white.” There are some friendly uses of these, but not many. (source)

 

 Straight Allies Flag

PrideFlags_allies

This flag is designed for straight people who are proud allies of gay people. Why they can’t just wave a normal rainbow flag I don’t know, but here it is!

It emerged sometime in the late 2000s, but I couldn’t find any info on where it came from. The rainbow triangle thing in the middle is supposed to be an ‘A’ for ‘Activism’ or ‘Ally’ or something, with the black and white stripes representing the straight part. (source)

 

 Intersex Pride

PrideFlags_intersex_new

“Intersex” is a term for people who are born with mixed primary or secondary sex characteristics, making them both female and male. This condition shows up in approximately 1% of the population, though many recognized forms of it are subtle enough to go undetected for an entire lifetime. (source)

Update 6/27/15: This flag was debuted by OII Australia in July of 2013 as a rallying point for Intersex people, “one attempt to create something that is not derivative, but yet is firmly grounded in meaning.” The colors yellow and purple were chosen because they’re seen as fairly gender neutral – neither pink nor blue. The circle symbolizes wholeness or completeness. (source)

My original post listed the below striped flag as Intersex Pride. This flag was somewhat controversial in the Intersex community, the main complaints being that it’s too close to the Transgender Pride flag and that it had also been intended to represent “Bigender” peoples. Intersex is distinctly different from Transgender or Bigender, so OII created their distinctly different flag. The debate continues, however. (source)

PrideFlags_intersex

This flag, designed by Natalie Phox in 2009, blends the two stereotypical gender-binary baby colors, pink and blue, in lavender stripes on the side and a gradient in the middle. (source)

 

Transgender Pride

PrideFlags_trans

The transgender pride flag was created by Monica Helms, a transgender woman, in 1999. The two colored stripes represent the traditional colors for baby boys and girls, and the white is for those of intersex, neutral, or other genders.

The flag is intentionally symmetric so that however you hang it, it is in the ‘correct’ orientation. Helms says this was to represent transgender people finding “correctness” in their lives. (source)

Update 6/27/15: The above flag is still the most commonly recognized Transgender Pride Flag, but a lot of variants have sprung up. (source 1) (source 2)

 

Genderqueer Pride

PrideFlags_genderqueer

The Genderqueer Pride flag was created by Marilyn Roxie in 2010 with help from the Genderqueer internet community. The lavender is a mix of the traditional blue and pink gender colors for people who are a little of both, the green is meant to be the “inverse” of lavender for those outside the binary, and the white represents gender neutrality. (source)

“Genderqueer” is a term I have become increasingly fond of lately. It’s an extremely inclusive “catch-all” for anyone who doesn’t feel like they fit into one of the two standard gender definitions. Unlike most other pride flags, which represent groups of people who ‘are’ something (people who are gay, transgender, asexual, etc.), genderqueer is for people who are not either of the traditional 2 genders. It’s a group for people who feel like they don’t fit into the normal definition, and I think that’s pretty awesome.

 

Genderfluid Pride

PrideFlags_genderfluid

(Added on 6/27/15)

Genderfluid is a term for someone who’s gender changes over time. Their gender identity can vary at random or in response to different circumstances. Gender fluid people may also identify as multigender, non-binary and/or transgender. (source)

The flag was created by JJ Poole, and the colors represent the various states that genderfluid people may find themselves in – pink for feminine, blue for masculine, purple for a mix of the two, white for no gender, and black for all genders. (source)

 

Rubber Pride

PrideFlags_rubber

At a very basic level rubber fetishism is similar to leather fetishism, in that it revolves around clothing made of rubber (latex, PVC, polyurethane, etc.). Likewise, it has developed a significant number of associated sub-fetishes. (source)

The Rubber Pride flag has existed since 1994, developed by Peter Tolos and Scott Moats. It was created by the two during a Vulcan America meeting in the hopes it could be used for rubber enthusiasts to find like-minded partners. Since the Rubber community is significantly smaller than the Leather or Bear communities, and its members tend not to wear their gear in public, it was especially difficult back then for fetishists to find each other.

The flags designers wanted something different from the uniform horizontal stripes that had become standard for pride flags, so they chose a black base with red and yellow for their brightness. The yellow was originally intended to represent watersports, and the red blood, but the interpretation has changed since.

Instead of using straight bars they added the zigzag to make a ‘V’ (since it had come out of a Vulcan America meeting) and also because the flag indicates a kink. Peter Tolos cheerfully said “It’s a kinky flag!” (source)

Literally. :)

 

Master/slave Pride

PrideFlags_masterslave

The Master/slave pride flag was debuted at the Master/slave conference in Washington DC on July 29, 2005. (doesn’t a Master/slave conference sound way more fun than WWDC?) It was designed by Master Tallen and his slave Andrew. (source)

Before the creation of this flag the M/s (and Dom/sub) community tended to use the Leather Pride flag, but Master Tallen felt this was inappropriate since plenty of members of the M/s community did not identify as leather or kink fetishists. (nor were they all gay men, the group the leather flag is most commonly associated with)

The symbols represent, to nobody’s surprise, master and submissive. The single vertical line is for authority, power, or dominance. The grouping of three horizontal lines is apparently a standard psychological symbol for submission or ‘passive intellect.’ (source) I assume they went with black and red because they’re dramatic and pretty.

 

Ownership Pride

PrideFlags_ownership

(Added on 6/27/15)

Ownership is derived from the Master/slave dynamic, with a greater emphasis on rules and defined behavior between owner and property. There is a pretty legit website with a 10-point manifesto, starting with the following:

1. What is Possession?

Central to O&P is the concept of Possession: having control and use for one’s own purposes of that which is possessed, involving some or all of the rights associated with property ownership. This is asymmetric and unequal in status. While the submissive is in the dominant’s possession they are fundamentally there for the dominant, obeying the dominant, and subject to the dominant’s decisions. The dominant is the submissive’s superior, just as an employer is their servant’s superior. The unambiguous, honest, and hierarchical nature of O&P provides clarity about what is to be done, and who is to do it, without the manipulation and unstated quid pro quo of so many relationships. (source)

The website also goes into extensive detail about the design of the flag, and it’s pretty obvious the designer knew what they were doing since they mention things like the rule of tincture, the first rule of heraldic design. The shield represents the owner as protector and head of household, and the circle represents the collar, a pretty universal symbol for submissives and slaves. The striped background is a shoutout to the original leather pride flag, with the emphasized color difference helping to illustrate the extreme power dynamic of the relationship. (source)

 

ABDL Pride

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(Added on 6/27/15)

Adult Baby / Diaper Lover (ADBL) is a fetish community based around adults role playing as babies or using classic baby items such as diapers. This can be sexual, but is not necessarily so. (source)

I feel this is one of the more self-explanatory flags – the pin is a diaper pin, and the colors are the usual pastel gendered baby colors. (source)

There is also this white-striped heart over a pink and blue background symbol that is associated with this community, but I can’t find additional information about it as a flag – it mostly seems to exist as Zazzle merchandise. (source)

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 Fat Pride

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“Fat Fetish” is fairly self explanatory, although there are many self-identified fetish classifications inside of the general community. These include ‘fat body worship,’  ‘erotic weight gain,’ and ‘growth role-play.’ (source) The flag is fairly new, created in 2011 by Kevin “The Cosmopolitan” Seguin. (source) The colors are based off of Neapolitan Ice Cream, which I find rather clever. :)

This is actually the second version of the flag – the first version, which had a similar theme but was much simpler, met with some resistance by the community.

 

Pony Pride

PrideFlags_pony

(Added on 6/27/15)

Pony Play is the fetish practice of treating humans as horses, which can include things like wearing hooves and ears (similar to puppy play), wearing tack (bridles, saddles, etc.) and pulling carts. (source)

The flag was created by Carrie P (Mystic Storm) in 2007. The predominant black background honors the leather community at large, and the other colors represent various aspects of the pony community. The horse shoes represent, well, ponies. (source)

 

Military/Uniform Pride

PrideFlags_uniform

(Added on 6/27/15)

I have found remarkably little information on this flag – I can find its existence mentioned in various places, but only one source for the image itself, which has no information beyond a note that it’s been around for a while but the creator is unknown. (source)

Uniform Fetish revolves around wearing uniforms during play – very often these will be military uniforms, but I have seen the term used in a very broad sense as well (think nurses and schoolgirls).

 

Feather (Drag) Pride

PrideFlags_feather

The Feather Pride flag is associated with the Drag community. The symbol is a phoenix, representing the fiery passion that sprang up in the drag community during the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. (source)

The flag was created by Sean Campbell, the same man who created the labrys Lesbian Pride flag above. Campbell designed several other flags for niche communities, but these seem to be the two that have survived in common usage.

 

General Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Agge.se/sandbox/List_of_pride_flags_and_sexual_identity_symbols

http://leiandlove.deviantart.com/art/Ultimate-LGBTQ-Flag-Guide-236048103

Most graphics pulled from Google Images.

Trumaker: Custom Made Shirts (that fit my chest!)

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These two facts are true:

  1. I really like button down shirts.
  2. My chest is a 38D.

Unfortunately, #2 means that #1 is very very hard to shop for. My current strategy is to always wear an undershirt and leave it unbuttoned to below my breasts. That strategy kind of sucks.

Recently, I was made aware of a new startup called Trumaker that makes dress shirts to completely custom measurements. They even send a rep to measure you in person to make sure they get the right numbers.

Technically they only make “men’s” shirts, but all that really means is that they’re all boy’s cut. So I asked if their shirts could accomodate a large bust, and they said no problem!

Cindy came to my castle office to measure me and go through options. It was an extremely pleasant process, and a lot of fun to 100% customize my clothing. I also totally wanted to steal her coat:

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I’ll get the first one in 3-4 weeks and try it on for actual fit. If it needs adjustments they’ll measure again and make ’em all with the new numbers! I’ll likely post again when I get my shirts to let y’all know how it worked out.

Anywho, if you’ve also had trouble finding shirts that fit your body, check ’em out! (Right now they’re only in SF, LA, and Orange Country)

Oh, and full disclosure: I got $10 off my shipping for making this blog post. ;)

So what’s it like to work for Kink.com?

A lot of my friends and readers have been curious about what my day-to-day office experience is like. Honestly, most of it involves sitting at my desk in front of a computer, but there are parts of it that are rather… unique.

Like all offices, we drink lots of coffee and have an eclectic collection of mugs.

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Unlike most offices, our current space was previously used as a filming location for bondage pornography. Although they tore out a bunch of walls and re-did the paint and floors, they left up the tie points.

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Naturally, Kink’s employees like to put things on the walls around their desks. Being a porn company, things that would normally be considered ‘improper’ are fair game, meaning we get things like this put on the wall:

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We also get cake once a month for birthday reasons. It amuses me to think that somewhere in the Mission a bake shop has a standing order for a once-monthly Kink cake.

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4 days a week we get lunch prepared by our on-staff chef and eat on the upper floor of the Armory. Yes, that Upper Floor. We eat and gossip while sitting around the same tables that this happens on:

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Most of the filming takes place in the basement, but every now and then I’ll be headed towards the bathroom or up to lunch and see one of these:

shootinglight

Which means “hush! We’re trying to have sex in here.”

The bathrooms are by no means off-limits for shoots either. One day I went to use the toilet, sat down, looked up, and realized there was a videography light semi-permanently mounted directly above the stall.

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Another day I went next door to our main office space to make a phone call, and saw that they had already set up for a shoot later on.

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I was sorely tempted to sit in that chair while I made my call, but I managed to restrain myself.

Like most San Francisco buildings, we have 3 different waste bins everywhere – trash, recycle, and compost. Occasionally I’m not expecting what I see when I walk by a recycle bin.

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Apparently Ultimate Surrender had just re-stocked their dildo supply.

At an every-day level, working for Kink is very similar to working for any other office. It’s just the little things that sneak up every once in a while and remind me what we actually do. For example, I grabbed a spare Cat5 cable from a pile, and found it labeled thus:

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To end on an adorable note, we also have two office cats:

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They’re fat, cuddly, brother-and-sister kitties! The black one is Rudy:

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and the Tabby is Lala:

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They mostly hang out at the front security desk and wait for you to pay attention to them.

Update 9/15/13: This is now a continuing series! Check out part two.

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