Ireland is a difficult place to live if one is in any way “different”. People in Ireland squash and exclude diversity as much and as often as they can get away with it, which is pretty often. Laws protecting diversity are routinely not enforced.
People outside of Ireland might not be aware of this, but if a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy, she must leave the country and go elsewhere, because pregnancy termination is still illegal in Ireland. It took a ten year legal battle including a trip to the European Court of Human Rights before homosexuality was finally decriminalised in 1993.
This is the kind of place Ireland is. It’s a difficult place to be “different”.
The Irish BDSM community is no exception. BDSM-ers in Ireland faithfully follow the mainstream example they deplore, by themselves routinely and ruthlessly squashing and excluding diversity in others.
- This is Ireland today, in 2009.
The BDSM community in the Republic of Ireland primarily comprises two main BDSM-themed groups, both of which are on yahoo, and both of which are run by the same people. One is bdsmireland, which is for general BDSM-related chat, and the other is bdsmireland-personals for dating.
If individual BDSM-ers in Ireland want to connect with the Irish BDSM community, pretty much the only option available is to join the bdsmirleland yahoo group. Membership of the bdsmirleland-personals dating group is restricted to members of bdsmirleland.
Both bdsmireland and bdsmireland-personals are heavily moderated. The moderating is done according to an arbitrary and frequently changing double standard, which applies depending on whether the moderators are friends with a message author. The moderators who control the yahoo groups tend to invisibly moderate to silence any person who is “different” in any way which the moderators don’t like. I have been told that there are members of bdsmireland who are allowed to read group messages, but whose messages are permanently moderated. This effectively silences them in the community, since there is a group rule against privately emailing any member without their express permission.
The moderators of these groups control everything group related, which includes every munch in the Republic of Ireland except one, and one of the two public BDSM-themed events in Ireland. Any BDSM event or person in Ireland relies on bdsmireland to get the word out and connect with others. If a person becomes excluded from this group, they end up very, very isolated. This can be a horribly difficult situation to be in when one lives in such a severely conservative country with such harshly enforced social standards.
My posts to bdsmireland and bdsmireland-personals tend to get invisibly moderated quite frequently, especially if what I have to say is anything less pleasant than kittens and butterflies. Apparently I am reasonably fortunate, because up til now I have always had a moderator reply with a reason for the moderation, even if that reason was nonsensical. I know that I’m not the only one this happens to, because I’ve been told that some people’s messages get moderated without the moderators even acknowledging the message or giving a reason. But since this happens out of the public eye, and since the primary place to speak about it is controlled by the people doing the moderating, there is no convenient place to spread the word about it.
Until now, nobody has made any kind of organised effort to speak out. I can understand this because the consequences of exclusion are severely isolating, and a fear of those consequences is quite realistic in these circumstances. I did make a recent attempt to find out what kind of exclusion has been happening to others. Although many people made vague mentions of many incidents happening to them, not one person was willing to give me specifics of any of their experiences. Based on what I’ve been told, I know that there are others experiencing exclusion in this community. Yet not one of them dares to speak out about specific instances of their experiences of personal exclusion.
- So the moderators of the yahoo groups are apparently doing a pretty thorough job of fostering an intense fear of exclusion.
I’ve therefore decided to make a blog post for every message I write which they choose to moderate, just so people know.
A person whom I will call WH has posted multiple times on bdsmireland-personals seeking a BDSM play partner. In a recent message, WH asks for play partners again, and specifies that he is not seeking pro doms. Although WH has previously had responses in the group expressing some interest (which I have seen), in this recent message, WH asks why none of those people ever followed up to meet WH in person to play.
I wrote the following message in response.
- From: Lubyanka
Subject: Re: [bdsmireland-personals] Why no follow up
Date: 11 February 2009 15:55:42 GMT
In case you find it useful, I offer my take on why you’ve had no follow up on your situation.
I’m sure you genuinely feel that you are making a sincere offer. However, asking a non-pro man to whip and fuck you sounds less like an offer, and more like a specific request (at least to me). If you have had responses from pro doms, perhaps this might be because like me, your messages read to them like specific services you’re seeking.
If you want a relative stranger to whip and fuck you, then that will limit your choice of possible partners to those who prefer to be on the other side of that scenario. If you want a relative stranger to whip and fuck you, and you seek only a relative stranger to specifically whip and fuck you in particular, then perhaps a pro might be your best option.
After all, pro doms offers BDSM as a service, and they can fulfill all of the criteria you’re seeking.
On the other hand, if you feel that you can be flexible about the activities you want to participate in, and if you feel that you can include another person’s desires in your fantasy scenarios, then this is likely to appeal to a much larger group of potential partners.
I wish you luck, I hope you find somebody.
- From: fig367
Subject: Message not approved: Why no follow up
Date: 11 February 2009 22:16:02 GMT
not relevent as he’s asking for guys
After some thought, I sent this reply to the group owners.
- From: Lubyanka
Subject: Re: Message not approved: Why no follow up
Date: 11 February 2009 23:35:25 GMT
Although the guy was seeking other guys for sex, according to the subject line he was generally asking “Why no follow up”, which is what I was answering.
It seems a shame that my message was rejected because its author has a vagina.
As yet, I have had no response from the moderators. If my past experience with them is anything to go by, I will most likely receive a message informing me that the case is closed, and that will be that.
This message arrived, with even more nonsensical content.
- From: fig367
Subject: Message not approved: Why no follow up
Date: 12 February 2009 20:26:06 GMT
—–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
your post was not relevent because your post was talking about
—–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
Note: This signature can be verified at https://www.hushtools.com/verify
Version: Hush 3.0
—–END PGP SIGNATURE—–
I’m sure in his universe he can find women everywhere he looks. However, he must have spent ages digging with a fine-toothed comb and a microscope to find them in my message.
As for why he suddenly felt the need to encrypt his reply, I have no idea.
With the ever-increasing feeling that I am wasting my time, I sent this reply.
- From: Lubyanka
Subject: Re: Message not approved: Why no follow up
Date: 12 February 2009 20:47:23 GMT
Where was I solely talking about women?
Lady Lubyanka’s blogfestness
Food, Flogging, and Rubber Chickens
(celebrating the spleen)
featuring Irving as the rubber chicken
I don’t expect any more sense to come back than I have had to date, but I live in hope, nevertheless.
For today, for this small set of moments, consider me an optimist.
In my experience, most infractions and transgressions are done behind closed doors where nobody else can see, and I have found that transgressions which are hidden like this are very difficult to stop. Speaking out about specific infractions, transgressions, and perpetrators is very important to me because in my experience, calling attention to perpetrators can lead to them being much less likely to transgress when they know that they are within sight of others.
Now, I have nothing against a person adopting a new identity in order to express themselves freely online whilst preserving their privacy. Hell, I do that myself. However, when a person adopts an additional false identity in order to prevent their known identity being associated with their transgressions, then I consider that to be unacceptable behaviour.
By speaking out, I hope to lift the veil of secrecy, to expose transgressions and their perpetrators, so that those perpetrators can no longer successfully pretend that somebody else has committed those transgressions. I want to make it possible for everybody to know exactly which apparently upstanding members of the community are not quite so upstanding as they would prefer to appear.
As I mentioned above, most people live in a state of near-constant fear of exclusion, and therefore would not dare, and have never dared to speak out, ever.
In my opinion, somebody has to.
Since nobody else has yet spoken out, and since it seems likely to me that nobody else is likely to speak out, it looks like that somebody is going to have to be me.
These are some of the reasons why naming names and describing specific events are so important to me. I hope you understand.
On 13 February at 21:21, one of the moderators of bdsmireland-personals, who is also a woman, posted a message from a very similar perspective to the one I wrote.
Also on 13 February, at 21:53, an extremely long and snarky comment was submitted for publication on this post. I’ll explain shortly why I won’t be publishing the comment (at least, not right this second), but first I’d like to give you a bit of background to put the comment into context.
Most of my moderated messages, including the one on which this blog post was based, were moderated by fig367. He is not only a moderator on bdsmireland and bdsmireland-personals, he is also the owner of one of the two public BDSM nights here in Dublin.
Now, the person who submitted the comment for publication gave his name as “D”, and his email contained the nickname “dunravin2002“.
Although a search of the bdsmireland-personals yahoo group currently shows that dunravin2002 never posted there (even though this is where my original message was submitted for posting and was subsequently moderated), dunravin2002 has apparently posted three times in the bdsmireland yahoo group since 2004.
In June 2004, dunravin2002 posted a message (in the time-honoured sock puppet tradition) promoting his idea of a public BDSM event. The other two were both posted last year, one in January, and one in August. Both of those were snarking, and at least one of those (but more likely both) was certainly directed at me personally.
- According to to specific information contained within the snarky comment, according to attitudes expressed to me in previous messages in bdsmireland and in person, and according to my personal knowledge of this individual, I have every reason to believe that dunravin2002 and fig367 are one and the same person.
I am not going to speculate why I think fig367 has apparently set up another identity and associated email address, evidently for the sole purpose of being able to post anonymously in bdsmireland and elsewhere. I’m sure fig367 will know himself why he did it.
I would really love to publish this comment I got, because it does beautifully illustrate what I have been trying to say here. However, that comment contains the full text of the original message I was responding to, and I do not have permission from the author of that message to publish it. And fig367/dunravin2002 has specifically denied his consent to publish his comment unless I present it exactly as he submitted it. Since I won’t publish the comment without removing the part which I don’t have permission to publish, and since I do not have permission to publish the comment if I edit it in any way, I therefore will not publish the comment at all, at least for the moment.
Having said that, I would like to address two of the points raised, which I can do without publishing the comment.
Hey, What Were You Responding To, Anyhow?
In the comment, I was informed that somebody might have found it helpful if I had included the original message to which I was responding, or at least a link to it, because I had included neither in my original post.
As it happens, my omission of the original message text and a link to it was entirely deliberate. I didn’t include the text of the message I was responding to because I didn’t have the original author’s permission to do so. And I didn’t link to it because bdsmireland-personals is a members-only group. You see, here at Lady Lubyanka’s Spleen Celebratoriness I am fortunate enough to have ±300 visitors per day, most of whom live outside of Ireland. So I didn’t see much point in linking to something which most of my readers wouldn’t be able to see.
However, I suppose my readers can join that group if they’ve enough interest in it. So as you suggested in your comment, I have now linked to the original message I was responding to.
There. I’m sure my post is much better now. :p
Emailery Publishment – Tragic Concernathon
In the comment, some concern was expressed regarding my apparently transgressy email publishment of messages which a bdsmireland-personals moderator sent and addressed to me.
These are my thoughts on that topic.
- The messages you emailed me in response to denying publication of my message were not personal messages sent between friends or colleagues (since we are neither friends, nor colleagues).
- You sent those messages specifically and solely in your capacity as bdsmireland-personals moderator, to me specifically and solely as a bdsmireland-personals member.
- You yourself copied the second of your messages to every moderator of bdsmireland and bdsmireland-personals, which indicates to me that you weren’t feeling too concerned about sharing the contents of those emails.
- Your emails were extremely brief.
- Together, your two emails comprised a combined total of nineteen words, five of which you repeated. Of the fourteen unique words, ten of those were between two and five letters long.
- Your messages contained no private, personal, nor confidential information of any kind, and disclosed no identifying information such as your real name, nationality, address, or employment details.
- In those circumstances, the chances of any loss of privacy are extraordinarily remote.
- Your emails made no mention of your desire for confidentiality, nor did you request my consent to keep your emails confidential.
In those circumstances, I felt perfectly comfortable with publishing your little bijou email-ettes as written.
- fig367 – If you feel that much discomfort knowing that some of the emails you send might be shared with others, perhaps you might want to consider investing a little bit more thought and care in their content.
Depending on how this continues to unfold, I may edit out the text from the other author’s message, and publish this comment at a future time.