So, yesterday, it was brought to my attention that someone on Twitter decided to harass someone who previously struggled with illegal behavior… for no other reason than that they struggled. He claims that he did this so that others could be aware if interacting with such people is somehow triggering to them, but I have it on good authority that he has harassed this person every time they make a new social media account, so that sounds more like a grudge to me. This is part of a larger conversation among minor attracted people around who belongs in our communities and who does not. I have my own thoughts on this, but first let me outline some of the more problematic community approaches.
Social Justice Culture
There is a current trend among people on social media who cover social justice topics to pick on people for essentially not being woke enough, comprehensive enough, or virtuous enough if someone says something they think is lacking. I think every human has the capacity to do this on social media. I certainly have. These people are generally called social justice warriors or SJW’s because on the one hand, they espouse social justice and equality, but on the other, they pick on people who are not perfect in exemplifying these values. This can create a toxic anxiety whereby people fear backlash so much that they cannot be honest with their struggles – an obvious problem for any community.
There is another trend that is happening worldwide, and hides under the guise of doing the right thing. This trend is far more insidious than woke culture, and has destroyed reputations, employment, and our ability to see nuance. This trend is known as cancel culture, where people who seemingly did horrible things – or did do horrible things – are “cancelled.” In other words, they have very public articles, videos, and movements against individuals or a group of people in an effort to shut down their capability of ever moving on from whatever horrible thing the person is perceived to have done.
The fact of the matter is, we have all done something we regret. I am no different. I do not think anyone can go through this life without doing something that haunts them, something they wish they could take back if they could. For some, it is relationships and how they have treated others. Some were former bullies in their childhood and regret the pain they caused. Some harmed themselves through poor choices and harmed friends and family in the process. Regardless of what it was, most of us move on from it and make different choices. Cancel culture should generally be reserved in very extreme situations where someone is making harmful choices and has no willingness to change.
Think of SWERF’s and TERF’s (sex worker exclusionary radical feminists and trans exclusionary radical feminists, respectively), but more broadly. Exclusionary culture basically seeks to exclude people based on life choices that they make. In MAP communities, there are three primary categories of exclusion: Offense history, ideology, and kink.
As Deku demonstrated, the first one is people who have committed some kind of sexual offense. This can range from simply possessing child sexual abuse material (commonly called child pornography) to a hands-on contact offense.
The second are ideological differences in MAPs, typically “procontact” and “anticontact” which describe whether someone believes it should or should not be morally/legally acceptable to be sexual with children, though these labels are outdated and I am currently running an initiative to update them (if you are in the MAP community and lean more towards “procontact” or you just prefer not to use terms, please contact me at tnf13 (at) protonmail dot com to participate in this initiative).
The final category is how many and what kinks someone has, such as attraction to animals, the dead, or BDSM. These understandably make some very uncomfortable, but excluding these people also has the effect of isolating an already isolated group of people. I do not believe exclusionary culture that relies on past harmful behavior, ideological framework, or kinks to be helpful. Excluding people for not following rules or being disruptive to communities is one thing, but I lean towards inclusion personally.
This is basically an active hatred of others for belonging to a particular group. People participate in this hatred for a variety of reasons, and it is not the purpose of this to go into those reasons, but I believe that a healthy community is one that does not actively hate people simply because they are different. To me, it does not matter what the group is, I believe individuals should be judged on an individual basis, not as entire groups of people. I believe it is wrong to judge someone just for belonging to a particular group rather than their personality or character.
Towards A Better Way
The purpose of this post is not really to outline any concrete steps. If you want some kind of “moral of the story” I guess you could watch Zootopia and listen to some of the conclusions at the end of the movie:
Another idea that comes to mind is the sex worker movement on Twitter. I believe the MAP community could learn quite a bit from them, as they have developed a very working “brand” that catches the attention and sympathies of the average person and spurs people to action. There are many inclusion-based movements, and I do think that inclusion is part of the solution.
As for me, I am tired of the drama. Yes, I am a leader in the MAP community, even though we say we do not have leaders. Yes, I have ideas about how community and how situations should be handled. But the thing is… if we keep tearing into each other like we increasingly have been over the last few years, we will never see the day where we can casually tell our best friend about our attractions and have them accept us, and we will continue to be viewed with suspicion, disdain, and stigma.
I work towards a better future – for all of us. All I ask is that you do the same.