Thursday, January 01, 2009

Good morning. I'm afraid this isn't going to be one of those cheery, let's-make-this-the-best-year-ever New Year's posts. While I'd love to sound the trumpet of optimism (I really am a glass half-full kinda gal, honest), this article has had me steaming for the past few days.

It seems Britian is considering a bill that would regulate pornographic images and ban those deemed too "extreme." They go on to define "extreme" as: "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character" -- words so general as to mean nearly anything. I've seen some pretty obscene pictures of carrots in my time -- would those be banned along with pictures of naked humans? In order to make sure this won't be the case (your carrot pictures will remain safe to keep), the bill further stipulates that the regulation covers pictures of any acts that are life-threatening, or acts that appear likely to result in harm to a person's genitals or breasts.

Getting the picture? The BDSM community in Britian is outraged and with good reason. The article details much of the controversy and I won't insult your intelligence by repeating it all here. But there is another aspect of this bill the Huff Post article doesn't take into account: the written word.

Once censorship begins, it rarely stops at the first bill to pass legislation. The people who want to remove choice from our lives only look around for the next target after the first one is passed. The leap from banning images that detail BDSM activities to banning books that contain BDSM activities is not a large leap at all. And from there? Would those who want the ban go so far as to try and outlaw all BDSM activity as well? The steps are precariously small from photography to stories to activity.

As avid readers of my books already know, I'm fascinated by the D/s dynamic, especially as it relates to male Doms and female subs. Every one of my stories explores some aspect of BDSM and most include some sort of bondage. EVERY bondage activity can result in potential harm, EVERY D/s activity can lead to physical danger, EVERY sado-masochistic activity can result in trips to the emergency room. That's why I'm always touting the TPE (Total Power Exchange) mantra of "Play safe, sane and consensual" both in my books and in life. The BDSM community as a whole understands responsibility -- and if people want to swap pictures about what they do, I just do not understand why others find it necessary to care.

To be fair, the couple behind this push in Britain lost their daughter to a careless decision on the daughter's part. She chose to play with a man who was neither safe nor sane. I truly am sorry for their loss and my heart goes out to them. But please do not color an entire community by the actions of one individual. Censoring is never the answer.

Have a happy New Year -- and PLAY SAFE!

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