We all know the answer to this question from a theoretical standpoint. It is a resounding “no”. But we live in the world of the practical, in the real, and the judgement of society is a very real thing.
My new therapist is a treat. She believes that the world is changing, that we are standing at a threshold, and indeed, and in truth, she is right, we are seeing the disappearance of the Baby Boomers as they all shift into retirement, and indeed, GenX is also now at peak power, and this will only wane. And it is the new generations whose values and desires will rule going forward.
When I think of how “woke” my own children are, and how much more aware and accepting people are who are in these younger generations, it gives me hope. My therapist speaks of a new world order, and I think she is right. My favourite quote of hers thus far? “There is going to be a new world order, the dawning of a New Age. It is here. I am already living in it. You have been called to me because you are part of it, you are being called to lead, and I would like to welcome you.” It is rather spiritual, and I think quite intriguing and healing.
We had been talking about the consequences of me being “out”. This is also something I have been exploring with Mistress. My desire to be “out” as her slave. My desire to be “out” more generally as non-binary. I don’t like hiding. My previous therapist was very encouraging of this, possibly reckless in this regard. That was another one of the reasons she was not right for me as a therapist. The reality I believe is that discrimination exists. Transgender people are a discriminated class. No matter how “woke” any current or potential employer I might have as an individual or group of individuals, there are colleagues who I cannot speak for, there are money interests I cannot speak for, people in the wings, people whose presence I may not fully be aware of, but people nonetheless, who are decision makers, and who could determine that a non-binary executive was more than inconvenient.
And this is the space I wish to discuss. This in-between space. The grey area. And it may be that the grey area that I am talking about is temporal—in other words, and only as an example, being transgender is a social problem today, but in 10 years it won’t anymore because trans people will be normalised and fully accepted (and that is probably an unrealistic thought). I say transgender, because it is a very real issue, and also happens to be a very live hot potato. Being trans could very easily cost me a job—as it has for many trans people in the world—or worse. Trans people are even discriminated against within the LGBTQ community.
As this blog has evolved and as I have read more widely and also come into contact with more and more kinky people, I have also learned that the submissive male carries a similar risk. And while I am proud of my submission, and do not find anything in what we do even vaguely shameful—on the contrary, I find it almost holy, being publicly “out” in this regard could have an equally chilling effect on my work prospects, friendships, etc.
As my new therapist says, “find people who think differently and associate with them.” And as we make a generational shift from the unenlightened to the enlightened, she is quite right…and doing so, also sends a message and also helps to move the power structure away from bigots and close-minded people towards people who live and let live. This is a relentlessly positive and affirming thing.
On a practical level, because of the inherently conservative nature of what I do, this is not my short-term reality. And that puts my livelihood and vanilla life at cross-purposes with my felt life, this life, my inner life, the one I am seeking to liberate. And while my therapist is right to say that I should seek out and find those people, and I will, it is no guarantee of a wage…and as one who is obligated to produce for my family, there is a practical reality that is too much of a risk to play with.
And that gets me to the crux of the issue, which I see as two different points. First, depending on others for livelihood is not an acceptable position to put myself in. This has very important short and long-term implications for me. For years I lived the life of an entrepreneur, which made it possible for me to have time and to be a stay-at-home father and to be present for my children as they grew up. But that business also was/is a lifestyle business, and doesn’t have much of a growth trajectory. Implication? Find another one.
And what would this do? It would free me from the shackles of discrimination. If the company is my own, then the question becomes about whether someone else wants to work there, rather than whether someone “like me” can be someone else’s representative (or wage slave—no matter how senior). Please never forget, if you work for someone else, you are a slave. Ditto for job security. So many people are lured into the idea that job security exists in employment–that is so deeply untrue. The only form of job-security that can exist is when you have your own business. And what does that mean? It means that when you work for others you become dependent—you accept things and make choices because you feel compelled—you “hide” in a million ways, because to not do so might cost you your job…and hiding in this sense can be as trivial as just not putting your head above the parapet when something dumb is being decided upon. Frankly, it can be soul-destroying even in its small manifestations.
Second, why on earth should we be any less credible in any field because we are kinky? I love to cook. Does my plate of pasta taste different or less good because I might be wearing knickers when I make it, or because I dream of the smell of leather and the sound of a whip cracking over me? Of course not. If I were to write a book about food, would it be any less compelling if the author was girlieboy? Clearly the answer is yes, and it has been going on a long time. Think George Eliot and her many incredible novels which would have never been published had the world known she wasn’t a man…or Marry Shelley, who wrote under a pseudonym to have Frankenstein published. Is there a difference here? I don’t think so.
Perhaps some small group might be drawn to a cookbook written by a gender-bending kinkster, but the difference between a Martha Stewart, a “domestic Goddess”, and what I might represent is that she is aspirational for many people–and that is what sells. She sells the life other people want to live. And this would hold true even if I could convince the world that being non-binary is also being a domestic Goddess.
I gave the example of food writing because I often publish recipes on this blog. The recipes are good. They work. And that cannot always be said of even some of the most famous cookbook authors. Nigella Lawson [and this is not a bitch session] was criticised for buying recipes and publishing them without testing them [she was caught “red-handed” buying a brown paper bag filled with recipes, and has been pilloried in the past for publishing skads of recipes which don’t work]. She is another Domestic Goddess. But while I look rather fetching in a French Maid outfit, and take tremendous delight in clean floors, and a neat and tidy household, nobody is going to separate the kink from the cook and believe how good it is.
And what about those submissive types who just like to play dress-up and go over to Mistress’s house because they want to prance around? You hear about these in all kinds of online laments. [I wrote about this here]. Would you be like that? Its kind of amusing to think that you might have a kink of cleaning a Dominatrix’s house, but actually really suck at it, or have no real desire to actually do it. I would have a genuine desire to clean. To clean, and to do a fantastic job. That’s what would turn me on.
I make the point more generally about Martha Stewart and the Domestic Goddess because her persona for many is aspirational. She is seen as “good” at what she does, as an “authority”, and she has laboured for years to create an extremely marketable brand. In our vanilla lives, our personal brands are tied to the nature of work we have done. “Business”. Just assume for a moment that I am actually good at the type of “business” I do. Now let’s assume that I were to take that street cred built up over decades and write a book about it. As with Martha Stewart, there would be an inherent credibility. A natural platform. And the conditions for aspiration. Right? If people recognise you as being good at what you do, there is bound to be aspiration in the mix.
Now, what if I instead wrote the same book but put my submissive alter ego as the author? Would anyone buy it? Would my credibility be shot? What if, instead of a besuited executive on the dust jacket, there was a collared, submissive me? I think we all know what the answer to this question would be. But its more complex than that. What if I told you that there is a common ingredient to my submission and my success as an executive? What if the essence of what I do professionally is made possible because of my submissive nature? What if the very perspective that leads to my professional success is predicated upon having a submissive nature? What then?
Maybe I should find out. If one day you see a series of books written by girlieboy with titles like “Thoughts on Leadership from a Slave” or “Why Slaves Make the Best CEO’s” or “How Getting Whipped Improves Decision-Making” or “Non-Binary Leadership: Best of Both Worlds,” You get it? I think we could have some real fun with this. Would they sell better than their vanilla equivalents? They might.
Going back to my original question. The theoretical answer was and still is a resounding “no, you are not less credible because you are kinky.” The practical answer, however, remains challenging. You either condemn yourself to a credibility gap, or as with the tongue-in-cheek examples above, find a way to make an apparent weakness a strength (and yes, by the way, this is one of the lessons that would be in those books).
But why this line of thinking? Well, the first question my new therapist asked me was “what do you hope to achieve through this process, what is your goal?” Every dominatrix I have encountered that I have gotten to “know” has asked the same question—“why are you here?” The answer? Freedom. But freedom has costs and consequences. Working my through both is the focus and challenge of the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. Because freedom is worth fighting for.