Editor’s Note: It’s a Start, But You’re Not Close to Done


Unlike quite a few people, I do think your apology is sincere. However, there are still plenty of issues. I see your apology as a start. But you’re not finished.

First, you don’t get to call yourself an ally. Not in this area. I know heterosexual allies of the gay community. They have marched with us, campaigned with us, lobbied legislators with us, spoken in support of us. They chose to join a battle they did not have to fight. I value and treasure them. And they never proclaim themselves as allies. They just show it.

Your article was not what an ally does. It is actually what avowed enemies like Peter LaBarbarera have tried to do to us. Even if you were an ally in the in the Bay Area, your article has burned that. All of it due to your own choices and actions. That is not something a single apology will take care of.

In some ways, your article was our worst nightmare. A major mainstream publication attacking us. And it was an attack. We’ve had experience with it in the recent past such as when a Detroit television station wanted to do an “expose” on a local club or when an op-ed on Advocate.com saying BDSM was the next civil rights frontier was called disgusting and our gay “brothers and sisters” said we sent the movement back 20 years. You were both national and mainstream. And you didn’t just paint IML with a misogynistic and transphobic brush, you painted our whole community with it.

You say you’re a blogger, not a journalist. As someone who is both, I say that is a cop out. If you’re going to write and report on an event, then you need to ACT like a journalist. Especially at the level you’re at now writing for a national publication. If you’re going to make accusations like you did, and they were accusations, then base it on more than on one bad experience at a party you shouldn’t have taken your friend to begin with. That is irresponsible of someone who has the platform you do. At almost any other publication I have ever worked at or known of, you would have been fired so fast you wouldn’t know what happened until next week.

Like I said, the apology is a first step. And I respect the fact you admit you fucked up. It’s not easy to say that in the public sphere. The sheer scale of the fuck up means you have a lot of work to do. That will take action. Visiting the Leather Archives & Museum with a guide is one action. Getting your apology onto HuffPost will be another. If people need to contact them for that to happen, fine. Tell us where to go. They will get flooded with demands it be printed. Apologize publicly to the woman you dragged into a situation that would cause her harm. Then you need to prove to us that you have learned something. Do your research. By all means, educate people about kink. But you MUST be accurate. Get the thoughts of others in the community. And listen. Read the books that have been suggested to you. Write a story that gives a fuller picture of IML, like you originally planned to write. Go to the classes that are available. Do the education you say you want to do. If you think you’re an ally, then show it, don’t say it.

I can’t describe how angry the community is. In 15 years in the community and 10 years of covering it, I have never seen the community as a whole this angry and hurt. If you want forgiveness, it will not come easily. If you chose not to earn that forgiveness, then fine. I would then suggest you just walk away. Just stay away from kink. Any credibility you had in that is pretty much toast right now.

But if you want that forgiveness, then step up. I hope you do. But, do not do it half assed. That would be disrespectful of the community you have harmed and of what you say you want to be.

I welcome the dialogue that you said you wanted. It’s one the community is having and should have. And I would love to have more people being sex-positive and welcoming. You will have to earn the right to have that dialogue with us. And we will be watching.

Daddy Tom is the publisher and founder of Great Lakes Den. He lives in Chicago with his husband Jeff. He can be contacted at editor@greatlakesden.net