journal entries

Stepping Down

Content: master/slave language in a kink context

It’s official: rife & I are stepping down as International Master and slave 2020 this weekend. After an intense year of producing and presenting events online, our time holding this title has come to a close.

We’re doing a little stepdown social which will have some games and a little video/slideshow, and hopefully not much awkward socializing but rather fun connecting.

It’s been a challenge to be putting this stepdown together. Many folks in the M/s community are still angry with us for changing our own use of the words “master” and “slave” last year. I thought we made it clear that it was a personal decision, that we are still very much in an authority exchange relationship, and that we aren’t judging individuals who remain using these words, but it seems there is still a lot of hurt and upset about our actions.

For the record, I am very open to talk to anyone who’d like to about this issue. We’ve had some great conversations with people who vehemently disagreed with us.

Having people in the M/s community who have been upset and mad at us has been a huge loss. I have worked so hard to build connection and community with M/s folks, and I was so thrilled to compete and win this title, as I had really thought it would bring me more peers who were the authority in their relationships, and hoped that we could have more conversations and support each other in this unique, challenging undertaking. Unfortunately, that really hasn’t happened.

I did know it would be a controversial stand to take, but I had really hoped to find people who were interested in having deep conversations about the impact of language, and to talk about the issues of race, access, and white privilege in the leather communities. I would still love to talk to people about this, ongoing.

Meanwhile, here is the information about the stepdown this Saturday. Would love to have you there, though no pressure — I know how Zoom-fatigued we all are right now. It’s been an honor and a joy to hold this title this past year, and I’m grateful for all the conversations, all the classes, all the connections we’ve made. Hope to see everyone in person again, eventually. We will certainly be attending things when it is safe again to do so.

IMs 2020 Stepdown Social
Saturday, March 13, 2021
5-6pm PT / 8-9pm ET
Come reflect on one of the wildest title years we could never have imagined, and could never have gotten through without you. We’ll have (byo) snacks, a quick video, and do a few icebreaker games, including queer leather trivia and a scavenger hunt. No long speeches, we promise. Just sharing fond memories and making new ones with some of our favorite folks (that would be you!)

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

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