Why Might We Need a Kink Coming Out Day?

A discussion started recently at KinkLINCS in Seattle around a Kink Coming Out Day. Since then, this grassroots movement has created a fetlife profile has been created, as has an event profile. There is language still being crafted, which I have urged to have include language that appeals to wide varieties of population, not just Caucasian heterosexuals with grade 12+ education.

In my newest podcast, I shared some of my thoughts on it, along with the rest of my experience at KinkLINCS.

I’ve had folks ask why we need this.  My thoughts?

* Right now, folks can be imprisoned (Addleboro, MA, aka Padleboro) for their predilections.
* Right now, kink can be a deciding factor in court cases and divorce proceedings.
* Right now, children can be taken from their parents for being sexually adventurous humans.
* Right now, people are loosing their jobs because they are kinky.
* Right now, those who have different sexual interests are being denied housing or loosing their housing.
* Right now, there is an association between kink and pedophilia, zoophilia, necrophilia and more.
* Right now, books like 50 Shades of Grey paint the kink community to be full of sexual oppressors and weak women.
* Right now, issues around consent are worldwide, and we as kinksters have tools, such as negotiation, that could radically transform sexual behavior in the world at large.
* Right now, if folks in our community or with our desires are assaulted, we are not protected by anti-discrimination laws. It can even be argued in the cases of sexual assault that because someone likes submission, that they “asked” for it.
* Right now, people don’t understand.

If this is just a big party, I have no interest in being involved on any serious level.

If, however, we will use this as an opportunity to address some of these issues, rock on.  If we can band together each year to choose a state or national issue around kink oppression and petition the fuck out of that issue, hells yeah. If this is used for a platform for bringing awareness to local police, legal, and other bodies, let’s do this.

However, why should we *not* have a national coming out day?

* We can tag ourselves onto LGBT coming out day, after all, it’s sexual diversity day, right?
* It may be seen as white heterosexuals usurping the struggles of other sexual minorities.
* Though the timing may be “right” due to the 50 shades movement (hell, Obama was asked about it on the View), it may be seen as using the bandwagon in a blunt way.
* When LGBT coming out day happened (especially with HRC’s push later of Equal Marriage rights), there was a drive to say “we are just like you.” Because of that, LGBT folks who did not “look” like that (eg the LEATHER community, the POLY community) were pushed to the sides and told we did not count. If we take up the mantle of “we are just like you” as well, we will push some of us further to the fringes who are not “just like” the rest of the population.
* It could create lines around who is “really kinky.” I already hear enough groans when I bring up the 50 shades movement, and people who enjoy a pair of fuzzy handcuffs at home. If we are to do a coming out day well, we need to stop drawing the lines with language such as “weekend warriors” or “kink lite” or “they only spice it up, they aren’t part of us,” or any of that behavior.
* Stigmatization will likely come up between those who came out, and those who did not. This has happened in LGBT communities where folks are shamed for “still being in the closet.” I have no doubt our community will express similar behavioral patterns.
* People will be non-consensually outed on such days. This has certainly happened on LGBT Coming Out day – often by accident. In the age of social media, being tagged in a photo with other kinky people at a party outs one another. This may or may not apply specifically to a coming out day, but it is something to consider.

So, what are your reasons *for* a National Kink Coming Out Day?
What are your reasons against it?


Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.


  1. I see the very items you have listed above as reasons for intensely compelling. This is yet another way in which sexual minorities are forced into the shadows. Those of us that can be out about being kinky find ourselves in a position to put a human face to the ills that are outlined above.

    People we know are constantly being forced to hide who and what they are for fear of perfectly legal reprisals. The find that they need to lie every day. They have to be dishonest with their medical professionals which puts their health in danger.

    As for the concerns I really see this as not being tagged onto the LGBTQ coming out day, rather another item all together, while the LBGTQ population are a part of the Kink communities so are ANY orientation/ethnicity/ability/etc. And I’ve already seen it being painted as an appropriation and I can see the argument here. However every injustice needs to have a human face put on it.

    As for the outing, we have that happening already, as for the shaming, we have that already both inside and outside out communities. Staying silent about it won’t stop this from occurring outside of our communities and we need to call out those inside that out and shame.

    The only way that our legislators (and out neighbors) will change their stance is when they see enough constituents standing up as a group.

    The kink coming out day is a chance to begin moving to that critical mass, to begin gaining the weight that will allow us to impact policies that cause consensual activities to have individuals to lose what is dearest to them.
    It also provides a symbol to those that aren’t in a safe place to come out at least a modicum of solace that they aren’t alone.

  2. George M. Anderson

    Excellent points both for and against.

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