The phrase “think globally, act locally” is typically applied to things like the environment, business, and politics, but I think it also applies just as well to kink.
In the midst of all the upheaval, accusations, heartbreak, and generally-shitty news that we’ve seen lately–both on and off Fetlife–it might be worth remembering that one of the best things we can do to combat large, trending problems is to address things locally by getting involved and doing the work to build a better community in the actual community that surrounds you. The community that’s made up of people whose names may never be known on the “global Fetlife” level, whose pictures of their play may never make K&P, but who are the ones who really constitute the “community” that we all think we’re talking about on here.
Want a safer scene? Help build things in and for the local community that surrounds you. See a problem? Offer a solution. See a gap? Offer to help fill it. Have a complaint? Follow that up with recommendations and an offer to help make those recommendations happen. Don’t expect anyone to do all that for you. No one owes you community. No one owes you cool events. The people who make those things happen in your local community? They’re people, with jobs and families and responsibilities, and no one who’s doing this for the local community is getting rich off this stuff.
Build active and diverse and vibrant local communities. Invest your time and energy (and maybe some of your money) there. Make that a priority. Because then you’re building opportunities for people to make connections, to find real-life-in-person friends, to create genuine kinky communities.
Build opportunities for the expression and enjoyment of a range of ideas and kinks and preferences and interests. Don’t see anything available for the things you’re into? Make it happen. Find the people around you who can help to make it happen.
Build local resources for people to gain context and knowledge and skills. Want informed consent to be genuinely informed? Want competent players able to identify, manage, and mitigate risks? Invest what you have into making the things that make that a reality as accessible as possible (namely, knowledge and skills and experience). Don’t have that stuff yourself yet? Support the local people who do, or find ways to learn from nearby communities and then bring that stuff back home. And don’t forget that second step.
Build connections and look out for the people around you. It’s a lot easier to keep track of the people who come to local events than it is to monitor the big names referred to online by their initials. Be responsible to each other. Carefully tend to your local community because it’s the one you live in. Do your best to take care of it.
And if you do have a “name” of some sort on here (for whatever that’s worth), use whatever advantages that name brings you to build your local community. If your focus is on building your global name, your global connections, your money-making opportunities, your presenter cred, your kink resume, your general online coolness persona, but you’re not bringing any of the benefits from those things back home, to where you live, to the people around you away from their keyboards … then at best, you’re not part of the solution.
I’m not saying don’t go to conventions or don’t try to make connections at the global level or don’t be proud if your art makes it to K&P or whatever. I’m just saying, let your priority be the people around you, and whatever you gain from your larger exploits, bring those gains back home and invest them locally.
A global scene that’s made up of lots and lots of local scenes that are active, diverse, vibrant, well-informed, skilled, and well-connected is almost guaranteed to be a better, stronger, safer global scene.