There are lots of words that resonate with my identity. With how I personally identify. Very rarely do I feel like I fit perfectly into any one label. My life always seems to need an explanation, a discourse, a full on hand book for people to really understand who I am.
Some of the words that I recognize as part of my identity are queer, kinky, submissive, feminist, sex positive, sensation slut, rope slut, slut, whore, activist, spaniel, artist and vegan.
But I have been challenged in all areas of my identity at different points in my life. Being told usually that I will some how grow out of the way that I identify. Being told that participating in mainstream media means I'm not radical enough to be an activist. Being told that no feminist could also identify as a slut or participate in porn and feminists most definitely are not submissive. I've been told that I can no longer identify as queer by both people in the "straight community" and "queer community" because my primary partner is a cisgendered man. And I've recently been told that I'm no longer vegan because my dominant cisgendered boyfriend bought me a pair of leather boots for my birthday.
First of all, I think its important to remember that everyone has their own ideas and definitions of what identity means to them. These are my opinions and how I have come to know myself and who I am, not any concrete definition. I don't do well with constraint only bondage :)
I believe that identity, sexuality, gender is fluid. It is constantly moving. That we are balls of energy. Some of us are filled or cultivate more erotic energy than others. I'm attracted to the energy of people of all genders. When it comes to purely physical attraction of someone in a magazine or on the internet, where it is more difficult to read energies, I've primarily been attracted to women bodied individuals and persons that read as queer. But when it comes to people in person I'm attracted to people of all genders. I've had relationships with women and gender variant individuals my entire life and have also had relationships with cisgendered men along the way. I'm in an amazing relationship with a cisgendered man, Mr Mogul, who I'm incredibly in love with and that I've been in a relationship with for the last 4 years. Mr Mogul is incredibly respectful and understanding of my queer identity and supports my having relationships outside of our primary relationship with people of all gender identities. I actually just shot an amazing docu/porn for Good Vibrations this past saturday in which we interviewed women who identify as queer, bi, and pansexual and then we filmed some very hot sex scenes with them engaging with women and men. It was really fascinating to see how people identify and how their environment growing up helped to shape different ideas and identities and affinities toward certain words or labels that seemed to best fit who they are.
Recently on twitter I mentioned that Mr Mogul bought me a pair of leather boots. This raised a bit of an outrage from a couple of vegans that couldn't believe that I had the audacity to call myself a vegan and advocate the oppression of animals.
So.. I don't advocate the oppression of animals. I have been vegetarian for 11 years and vegan for 8. I think it was maybe the first 3 years that I was very hard core about my political decision to be vegan. I didn't eat out, I didn't eat on the same dishes as non vegans, I didn't date non-vegans, I didn't wear any animal products.
The reason I became vegan is my disgust in factory farming and the United States greed fueling the oppression and mistreatment of animals. We seem to have this deep desire to consume and throw away. We no longer have any connection to our food. We don't pick our vegetables, we don't know where the meat that we eat comes from or even what animal it came from half the time. Where I grew up in Ohio there were small family farms. We could actually buy milk from Young's dairy. My dad and uncles would hunt deer that he would feed on all winter long. He was connected to his food and he honored the animal that it came from. I know I'm as white as can be, but my grandfather was a quarter Native American and my family still practiced Native American hunting rituals. My Dad actually didn't go to church on sundays with us growing up. Instead he went hunting. He said that when he was in the woods hunting that he felt closest to God. I'm not a very religious person but I do strongly believe in a sense of spirituality.
For me I discovered my spiritual self through bondage, ds, service. These are meditative and transcendental practices for me in which I'm able to free myself from my body or use my body as a reed or vessel for energy to flow into and out of using breath. Bdsm is a way in which I'm able to honor my partner, myself, my community and the earth's energy.
Leather is very strong symbolically with in the "Leather and Bdsm Community". It is precious, it is earned, it is honored. Leather is an organic material, natural. An animal's life was taken in order to produce this material. It is a sacred, leather. It is used for ceremonies such as collaring or the earning of leather. When I am gifted with a pair of leather boots from my dominant:
1. This is a gift that I am being honored with and that I will treasure for years. They will not be disposed of. I'm aware of an honor where they came from.
2. I'm not personally fiscally engaging in the capitalizing of animals, as I did not purchase them they were gifted to me. Freegans that I grew up with held their ethics around veganism close to where you spent your money. If there were leather shoes in the free box or someone gave them a back pack that had a leather label on it or something they would accept it. It was a reused or gifted item.
3. We must all choose our personal battles. I have a lot of amazing activist friends that are not vegan or vegetarian but they are enlightening people about sexuality, gender, feminism, sex positive politics, etc. There are a lot of amazing people out there that aren't veggie. And I've met vegans who are sexist or that work for major corporations with disgusting politics, does it make them a good vegan as long as they don't wear leather? Do all of the people that are condemning my boots use soy ink in their pens? Do you shop in markets that also sell meat? Do you employee others that consume meat or leather? Unless we go live on a farm and completely disengage from the government and refuse to participate in the capitalism in America all together then you will be engaging on some level with the suffering of animals. We can make our personal decisions of where our ethical line is and what we are comfortable with and what fights we are capable of fighting.
I purchase vegan shoes, vegan belts, etc. I'm not a mass consumer of leather products. I'm not a consumer of leather at all but I will wear it. The food choices that I engage in reflect my political views on the factory farming industry. I don't eat meat of any kind, no chicken, no fish, no cheese, no dairy. The closest word that exist for what I am is vegan. Maybe because I wear leather and that is frowned upon I'd be considered a queer vegan. Maybe because the reasons I wear the leather are kinky I'm a kinky queer vegan. So I'm a kinky queer vegan that wears leather boots and loves to suck cock.
There are some amazing vegan online bdsm boutiques like veganerotica.com. I'm buying some vegan leather from them for reupholstering some furniture at the gallery. Also Moo Shoes in NYC and Otsu in SF are great for vegan leather goods like shoes and belts. I don't think that it is wrong to use vegan leather. I'm simply explain my more complex side to my identity and my food and lifestyle choices. Very few things in life are black and white. I think things are much more complicated and fluid than that.