Minors at KFA

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Philip

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Oct 9, 2009, 9:44:22 PM10/9/09
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Maymay asked that discussion of minors at KFA be moved to a different
thread.

With respect to your reading of the agreement to use the Bethesda
Chevy-Chase High School as a venue
for KFADC with the CUPF[0]

"the User must keep the program or activity open to the public as
required by State law, and must not discriminate on the basis of race,
color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, marital
status, disability, or sexual orientation. "

"Age discrimination" does not mean what you think it means. When an
employer is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of age, it
does not mean that he has to hire minors. When a landlord is
prohibited from discriminating on the basis of age, it does not mean
that they have to rent to children. Age discrimination protect
citizens _of legal age_ from being fired, from being hired, from
being allowed to rent for being "too old" (40s 50s typically) or "too
young" (18-30, for instance).

I very strongly urge you to consult with an attorney, especially if
you are making decisions concerning this or any future KFA-anywhere
based on your reading that "age discrimination" means not only that
minors are allowed to participate but that they must be allowed to
participate.


[0 ]http://groups.google.com/group/kinkforall/browse_thread/thread/
f1477c76b54a4ba1/48e4823bb9a5a8f9?#48e4823bb9a5a8f9

maymay

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Oct 9, 2009, 10:06:49 PM10/9/09
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On Oct 9, 2009, at 6:44 PM, Philip wrote:

> Maymay asked that discussion of minors at KFA be moved to a different
> thread.

Actually, there's a thread for this issue already because, as I
mentioned, this concern has already been raised before. Have you read
and are familiar with the discussions on this list about this issue
already? If not, I would encourage you to read them. Here is that
thread:

http://groups.google.com/group/kinkforall/browse_thread/thread/abfbaf13d9d11b09

> I very strongly urge you to consult with an attorney, especially if
> you are making decisions concerning this or any future KFA-anywhere
> based on your reading that "age discrimination" means not only that
> minors are allowed to participate but that they must be allowed to
> participate.

I do not think an attorney is required to make a choice about whether
or not people aged under 18 are folks we should consider part of "the
public" and a part of the "all" in KinkForAll.

As I mentioned earlier, I think it is somewhat capricious and very
disingenuous to actively exclude a group of people from an event that
considers accessibility one of its principles.

Philip, would you kindly respond to the questions that I asked in the
aforementioned thread as to why minors should be banned from
participating in KinkForAll events, if that is your position?

Thanks,
-maymay
Blog: http://maybemaimed.com
Community: http://KinkForAll.org
Volunteering: http://ConversioVirium.org/author/maymay

Philip

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Oct 9, 2009, 10:26:18 PM10/9/09
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Maymay,

You have good intentions in opening KFA up to children. The law is not
interested in good intentions.

The reason I'm strongly urging you to check with an attorney is not
because the attorney will make the choice whether to include minors in
KFA. That choice has already been made for you.

Minors are historically excluded from adult events without coming up
against age discrimination statutes. Bars are open to the public, but
minors are not allowed there. Even though some theaters allow minors
to go to R-rated movies, the theaters that ban them are under no legal
peril whatsoever.

Children are a particular protected class. Laws protecting minors from
adult subjects are not only strict but very popular with prosecutors
who want to make a name for themselves.

If you are going to allow minors at KFA events, please make this
information prominent. Some of us don't care to take on legal or
societal problems.

In short, inviting minors to KFA events is asking for trouble.

PLEASE talk to a lawyer. PLEASE talk to someone at the NCSF.

You need to protect not only yourself, but everyone who attends.

Stacy Cat

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Oct 9, 2009, 10:46:47 PM10/9/09
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Just a point, the choice has not been made (I am assuming that you are speaking of legal ramifications.)  Rather, the choice would be made by a police officer if he so chooses to arrest someone (for obscenity or indecency or whatever).  This would most likely be an individual presenter, rather than the amorphous blob that is the conference organizers.  The choice would further have to be ratified by a judge and jury (if it got that far.)  On a note, I do think that individual presenters should have the right to restrict their sessions to those 18 and over if they feel that the topic may cross into "pornography" or something inappropriate for those under 18.  That does not mean the entire event has to be 18 and over.  (Did anyone check IDs at the Center?) 
I do also think that a note to NCSF would be welcomed by that organization, if just for the information if something does come out of it.

But the whole point of this being an educational event is that teenagers have the right to learn about sex and sexuality in all forms of it.  On a serious note, LGBTQ adolescents have the highest rate of suicide, mostly because they do not feel accepted (among many other reasons.)  By presenting alternative sexualities (Both Kink and LGBTQ) as both "normal" and celebrated, we might be able to make a difference in someones life, or at least get them to think that they are not the only ones out there.

That said, KinkForAll has had several positions that have been bantered about.  Like the photography topic, I have yet to read about someone not wanting to be photographed that has had their picture posted online.  Just as that topic got discussed on the list, and individuals made their choice based on that information, so can individuals make their decision on this issue.

StacyCat

iron rose

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Oct 9, 2009, 11:49:23 PM10/9/09
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First of all, there is a huge difference between "not banning minors" and "actively recruiting minors".  I am willing to accept the former.  I am actually very very uncomfortable with the latter.

I'm pro sexual education for older minors, but is KfA an appropriate venue?  My position may be unpopular here, but I think that there should be *some* control of sexual information for minors.  Minors includes children everywhere from babies up until age 18.  Certainly I think a child who is 17 is more than able to choose to come and participate.  I do not think KfA is an appropriate venue for a child of 9, however.

I think this is an important discussion because it is, as someone said in some other thread I can't remember, extremely volatile and controvesial to mix children + sex.  Whether we like it or not, it's true.  I think that yes, we are in some ways too puritanical about children and sex.  In other ways, I think we are right to protect children from the information.  In something like KfA, it's up to anyone who comes to decide what's right to present to children.  Are we all responsible for what happens?  Is no one responsible except for the presenter?  I definitely think that as an unorganizer I would bear some responsibility.  I do not think it's responsible to create an environment where inappropriate things can happen and then just throw up my hands and say "well, it was that person, I just helped make the conference happen, it's not my problem".  I cannot promise that inappropriate things *won't* happen, but I can take reasonable precautions. 

If we are going to actively recruit minors, I think that necessarily changes the focus of KfA.  I do not think sexual education for minors is exactly the same as sexual education for adults.  Not just because of legal and societal implications, but also because there is a power differential between a 30 year old and a 15 year old, which can be abused.  That is an issue which *must* be addressed.

I think there are many ways to make sexual information available to teens in an appropriate manner, but there are also many many ways to make such sexual information available in a very inappropriate manner.  I cannot say that an unconference is definitely going to be appropriate, because the whole point is that anyone can come and say anything.  Therefore I am extremely uncomfortable with the idea of recruiting minors.

Finally, there *are* going to be issues where we disagree.  I would like to think that the voices of those who want to participate would be heard, but if the answer to "I don't agree with this direction" is "well you can leave; we don't want you anyway", I'm not sure how we can actually productively proceed.  I *want* to be involved, and I *have* been involved in KfA, and I would like to continue to be.  It would be nice to hear that people are willing to compromise, but if push comes to shove, yes, I will vote with my feet.

-ironrose

maymay

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Oct 10, 2009, 1:38:16 AM10/10/09
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On Oct 9, 2009, at 8:49 PM, iron rose wrote:

First of all, there is a huge difference between "not banning minors" and "actively recruiting minors".

I'm 100% with you on this.

I am willing to accept the former.  I am actually very very uncomfortable with the latter.

I am very uncomfortable with the lack of the former (i.e., with the idea that any KinkForAll anywhere at any time will ban minors), and believe that the latter ("actively recruiting minors") is no more appropriate than actively recruiting people of any other distinguishing characteristic, such as race or sexual orientation. I put just as much personal importance on the thread I started on creating a diversity of age[0] as I do on the thread Emma started on creating other forms of diversity.


Certainly I think a child who is 17 is more than able to choose to come and participate.  I do not think KfA is an appropriate venue for a child of 9, however.

Certainly, a minor aged 9 is different than a minor aged 17. However, do you believe that because you think a KinkForAll is not a place a minor aged 9 should be present that we should ban people under the age of 10? If so, why is that any less arbitrary than banning people aged under 18? In other words, who are you, I, or anyone to say that KinkForAll should not be *made available* to people under a certain age bracket?

I strongly disagree with any move to make anything, including any age, a barrier that prevents anyone from choosing for themselves whether or not they want information such as that shared at a KinkForAll event. I especially think that barring such information based on one's own fears is cowardly, disingenuous, and something I hope we can all get over very soon.

In something like KfA, it's up to anyone who comes to decide what's right to present to children.

Why is it not okay for the minor, whether aged 17 or 9, be allowed to choose for themselves, or at least have that person's guardian choose? Granted, children in our society are not often granted rights that adults have, which is unfortunate. Who are we to impose even more restrictions on them? Who are we to say that some information is not okay for someone else?

It is possible *today* for a person who wishes to present at a KinkForAll to stand up and say, "Are there any minors in the room? If so, please leave, or I will not do this presentation." However, I think it is morally reprehensible for us, in such a situation, to force a minor out of the room just because they are or are not of a certain age. *That* is a ban on information, and I don't feel comfortable being a part of something that purports to tout accessibility while actively excluding someone who chooses to be present for themselves.

Are we all responsible for what happens?  Is no one responsible except for the presenter?

Do you you think that we can have a functional system in which everyone takes responsibility for themselves while not imposing their own views on other people? I think so. We've done pretty well that way so far. :) I think the above scenario I described is another great example of that principle in action. Imposing more and more external, arbitrary rules on it is a recipe for disaster.

I definitely think that as an unorganizer I would bear some responsibility.  I do not think it's responsible to create an environment where inappropriate things can happen and then just throw up my hands and say "well, it was that person, I just helped make the conference happen, it's not my problem".  I cannot promise that inappropriate things *won't* happen, but I can take reasonable precautions.

I know that we have had at least one minor at KFANYC2. I met him. Nice guy. Teenager. Very chill. No KFA event to date has had an incident, as Stacy pointed out. Once again I point to YAGNI[1] and ask if what you think you are doing here is responding to a threat that currently exists or reacting to a hypothetical one you perceive based on a fear you have. If the latter, why are you—and anyone else who also is reacting this way—so afraid?

If we are going to actively recruit minors, I think that necessarily changes the focus of KfA.

I agree. Let's not actively recruit anybody. Instead, let's continue to actively make sure that anybody who wishes to be at a KinkForAll is both 1) aware of its existence and 2) welcomed to participate.

I do not think sexual education for minors is exactly the same as sexual education for adults.  Not just because of legal and societal implications, but also because there is a power differential between a 30 year old and a 15 year old, which can be abused.  That is an issue which *must* be addressed.

Agreed, again. Do you think that banning anyone of any age, whether 17 or 9 is an exercise of this power you have just identified? In my view, banning information from those who want it—regardless of the information they want or who they happen to be—is abusive. Let's not abuse children more than they already, tragically, often are.

Finally, there *are* going to be issues where we disagree.  I would like to think that the voices of those who want to participate would be heard, but if the answer to "I don't agree with this direction" is "well you can leave; we don't want you anyway", I'm not sure how we can actually productively proceed.  I *want* to be involved, and I *have* been involved in KfA, and I would like to continue to be.  It would be nice to hear that people are willing to compromise, but if push comes to shove, yes, I will vote with my feet.

-ironrose

I agree wholeheartedly. I sincerely hope that no one on this thread or who is a part of the KinkForAll community will take the action of trying to eject from the community or bar from entering the community someone who wishes to be here, for any reason whatsoever. Having hashed this over a number of times, I am continuously surprised to see many people challenging the idea that minors have not got the same fundamental human right to seek out and obtain information about anything they want to have some knowledge about, for that is what people are saying if they believe imposing arbitrary limits on who can attend a KinkForAll event is in any way appropriate.

Cheers,

Sara Eileen

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Oct 10, 2009, 2:10:32 AM10/10/09
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Ironrose wrote -

On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 11:49 PM, iron rose <ironr...@gmail.com> wrote:
First of all, there is a huge difference between "not banning minors" and "actively recruiting minors".  I am willing to accept the former.  I am actually very very uncomfortable with the latter.

In this particular case, I agree. We've already extensively discussed the issue of whether minors should be excluded from the *concept* of KinkForAll, as per the thread Maymay has quoted. Within that thread I believe it was generally made clear that while the model of KinkForAll will never explicitly include an exclusionary guideline, individual events may choose to create rules that take into consideration their respective venues and local communities.

However, actively recruiting minors as attendees is, I personally believe, something that is not worth pursuing at this time. While I admire the spirit and agree with the general principle of bringing better sexual education to people under 18, at this point KinkForAll is a young event that is simply attempting to get off the ground in new venues. We may, in fact, be *too* young to withstand the debate, confrontation and concern that such outreach will inevitably cause. Again, as Ironrose wrote, I do not want the people actively working on making KFA events happen to "vote with their feet" and leave us with a dearth of committed, passionate unorganizers. I would respectfully suggest that perhaps our energy could be spent making sure that our participants feel comfortable and are aware of their potential audience.

Acknowledging that KinkForAll may have attendees who are under 18 is a necessary conversation. May has made some good points as to what can be done in these cases, for example: It is possible *today* for a person who wishes to present at a KinkForAll to stand up and say, "Are there any minors in the room? If so, please leave, or I will not do this presentation."

To be clear, it is *illegal* to distribute or show pornographic material to minors. That means that anyone intending to do a KFA presentation which contains pornographic material should be made aware of the possible presence of minors, and be given the option to not present based upon this information.

May, you wrote -

I am very uncomfortable with the lack of the former (i.e., with the idea that any KinkForAll anywhere at any time will ban minors), and believe that the latter ("actively recruiting minors") is no more appropriate than actively recruiting people of any other distinguishing characteristic, such as race or sexual orientation. I put just as much personal importance on the thread I started on creating a diversity of age[0] as I do on the thread Emma started on creating other forms of diversity.

Philosophically, you are absolutely correct. However, practically, I feel it necessary for you to acknowledge that minors are treated differently under the law than are people of various races and sexual orientations. It is absolutely important for people of all ages to have access to the educational materials they desire. However, equating this discussion evenly with a discussion of bringing in people of alternate sexual orientations (for example) is disingenuous.

I strongly disagree with any move to make anything, including any age, a barrier that prevents anyone from choosing for themselves whether or not they want information such as that shared at a KinkForAll event. I especially think that barring such information based on one's own fears is cowardly, disingenuous, and something I hope we can all get over very soon.

Maymay, please allow me to be frank here. This is something I do only because I feel it necessary. This previous statement is insulting to the people on this list who have voiced their own fears and concerns regarding this issue. Dismissing concerns in this way is patronizing, and does nothing to further a polite, productive conversation. Regardless of whether you consider these concerns to be legitimate, the fact remains that others on this list believe their concerns on this matter to be justified and worth hearing.
 

In something like KfA, it's up to anyone who comes to decide what's right to present to children.

Why is it not okay for the minor, whether aged 17 or 9, be allowed to choose for themselves, or at least have that person's guardian choose? Granted, children in our society are not often granted rights that adults have, which is unfortunate. Who are we to impose even more restrictions on them? Who are we to say that some information is not okay for someone else?

I believe we are talking at cross purposes here. I believe that the people of this list do not wish to actively further the censorship of sexuality education for people under 18. However, I also believe that they wish to protect themselves from the possibility of *going to jail.*

Rather than discuss the evils of censorship, let's discuss ways to provide good material to an audience that may or may not contain minors, in such a way that all of the participants feel confident that they are working within a safe and supportive space.

Agreed, again. Do you think that banning anyone of any age, whether 17 or 9 is an exercise of this power you have just identified? In my view, banning information from those who want it—regardless of the information they want or who they happen to be—is abusive. Let's not abuse children more than they already, tragically, often are.

Again, this rhetoric is unnecessary and inflammatory. 

 
I agree wholeheartedly. I sincerely hope that no one on this thread or who is a part of the KinkForAll community will take the action of trying to eject from the community or bar from entering the community someone who wishes to be here, for any reason whatsoever. Having hashed this over a number of times, I am continuously surprised to see many people challenging the idea that minors have not got the same fundamental human right to seek out and obtain information about anything they want to have some knowledge about, for that is what people are saying if they believe imposing arbitrary limits on who can attend a KinkForAll event is in any way appropriate.


I agree with you that in principle KinkForAll should not have an age limit. In the case of KFA DC, it does not. Hopefully we will be able to create a space wherein this mix of attendees results in a good, open-minded and comfortable event. Please, let's focus on making that happen.

Finally, I would like to include this portion of the venue contract for KFA DC, which I believe is very relevant to the question of recruiting minors:

6.                Limitations of Use.

A.               The User must:

...

7.               .not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, marital status, disability, or sexual orientation.

B.               The Activity must not:

  ...

6.                attract large numbers of unsupervised minors.

 


I apologize for writing and running, but I will be headed to bed now. Hopefully the conversation will continue productively without me for the time being, and I'll be happy to respond further in the morning.

Have a good night, all.

Best,
Sara Eileen

at...@atrus.org

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Oct 10, 2009, 2:24:48 AM10/10/09
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On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 10:26 PM, Philip <septim...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Maymay,
>
> You have good intentions in opening KFA up to children. The law is not
> interested in good intentions.
>
> The reason I'm strongly urging you to check with an attorney is not
> because the attorney will make the choice whether to include minors in
> KFA. That choice has already been made for you.
>
> Minors are historically excluded from adult events without coming up
> against age discrimination statutes. Bars are open to the public, but
> minors are not allowed there. Even though some theaters allow minors
> to go to R-rated movies, the theaters that ban them are under no legal
> peril whatsoever.

Your examples seem to be poor ones to me, since I'm not aware of a age non-discrimination clause that these private businesses would be violating in the first place.

My search for guidance about the applicability of my contract to minors hasn't been fruitful. The only examples I've found are age discrimination in employment (which only prohibits discrimination against those over 40?) and renting housing (where it likely applies to people of all ages, including those under 18...)

References for the above:
http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/adea.html
Every landlord's guide to finding great tenants, ISBN 1413304133, page 35

In this case, I have sought clarification from representatives of the party I signed a contract with. They have specifically instructed me that this event can not exclude minors. Since I lack the opinion of an attorney, much less one willing to represent me in this matter, I am inclined to follow their instruction.

> Children are a particular protected class. Laws protecting minors from
> adult subjects are not only strict but very popular with prosecutors
> who want to make a name for themselves.

I think I've already cited the most relevant portions of the Maryland Code I could find (Criminal Law, Title 11, Subtitles 1 and 2) and, yes, they are problematic.

> If you are going to allow minors at KFA events, please make this
> information prominent. Some of us don't care to take on legal or
> societal problems.

I do intend to include a reminder about the potential problems in the opening communications.

> In short, inviting minors to KFA events is asking for trouble.
>
> PLEASE talk to a lawyer. PLEASE talk to someone at the NCSF.

Please make a donation towards their fees? Seriously, I've asked people I know might have some insight and haven't gotten much so far. I'll try contacting the NCSF since they might yield some useful information for free. (Thanks for the suggestion; I'd thought of them, but stupidly hadn't thought to ask for advice from them.)

> You need to protect not only yourself, but everyone who attends.

I do accept some responsibility to make attendees aware of risks they may be taking, and to mitigate those risks to some degree. I don't think I can do more than that.

Thanks again for the NCSF recommendation.

Cheers,
-Nikolas
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at...@atrus.org

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Oct 10, 2009, 2:47:27 AM10/10/09
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On Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 2:10 AM, Sara Eileen <sarae...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Ironrose wrote -
>
> On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 11:49 PM, iron rose <ironr...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> First of all, there is a huge difference between "not banning minors" and
>> "actively recruiting minors".  I am willing to accept the former.  I am
>> actually very very uncomfortable with the latter.
>
> In this particular case, I agree. We've already extensively discussed the
> issue of whether minors should be excluded from the *concept* of KinkForAll,
> as per the thread Maymay has quoted. Within that thread I believe it was
> generally made clear that while the model of KinkForAll will never
> explicitly include an exclusionary guideline, individual events may choose
> to create rules that take into consideration their respective venues and
> local communities.
> However, actively recruiting minors as attendees is, I personally believe,
> something that is not worth pursuing at this time. While I admire the spirit
> and agree with the general principle of bringing better sexual education to
> people under 18, at this point KinkForAll is a young event that is simply
> attempting to get off the ground in new venues.
...
I agree wholeheartedly with this.

> To be clear, it is *illegal* to distribute or show pornographic material to
> minors. That means that anyone intending to do a KFA presentation which
> contains pornographic material should be made aware of the possible presence
> of minors, and be given the option to not present based upon this
> information.

Yes. For the DC event, I hope to remind and warn presenters while avoiding fearmongering.

> May, you wrote -
>
>> I am very uncomfortable with the lack of the former (i.e., with the idea
>> that any KinkForAll anywhere at any time will ban minors), and believe that
>> the latter ("actively recruiting minors") is no more appropriate than
>> actively recruiting people of any other distinguishing characteristic, such
>> as race or sexual orientation. I put just as much personal importance on the
>> thread I started on creating a diversity of age[0] as I do on the thread
>> Emma started on creating other forms of diversity.
...
>> In something like KfA, it's up to anyone who comes to decide what's right
>> to present to children.
>>
>> Why is it not okay for the minor, whether aged 17 or 9, be allowed to
>> choose for themselves, or at least have that person's guardian choose?
>> Granted, children in our society are not often granted rights that adults
>> have, which is unfortunate. Who are we to impose even more restrictions on
>> them? Who are we to say that some information is not okay for someone else?
>
> I believe we are talking at cross purposes here. I believe that the people
> of this list do not wish to actively further the censorship of sexuality
> education for people under 18. However, I also believe that they wish to
> protect themselves from the possibility of *going to jail.*

I agree that the mitigation of risk has been the dominant theme in the recent discussions on this list. I'm quite pleased with that fact. It's pragmatic. I think philosophy is important, but I'm currently more interested in having an event where we can discuss philosophy. So, rather than discuss philosophy right now, I'd like to figure out how to make the event happen.

> Rather than discuss the evils of censorship, let's discuss ways to provide
> good material to an audience that may or may not contain minors, in such a
> way that all of the participants feel confident that they are working within
> a safe and supportive space.

Yes, please.

(Note: I've greatly abbreviated the messages that I'm replying to)

Cheers,
-Nikolas
signature.asc

Paul

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Oct 10, 2009, 3:12:21 AM10/10/09
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Thank you Sara, the coward comment stung for me. I've been fighting
the good fight for the 18-21 crowd for a loooong time.

"I strongly disagree with any move to make anything, including any
age, a barrier that prevents anyone from choosing for themselves
whether or not they want information such as that shared at a
KinkForAll event. I especially think that barring such information
based on one's own fears is cowardly, disingenuous, and something I
hope we can all get over very soon.

Maymay, please allow me to be frank here. This is something I do only
because I feel it necessary. This previous statement is insulting to
the people on this list who have voiced their own fears and concerns
regarding this issue. Dismissing concerns in this way is patronizing,
and does nothing to further a polite, productive conversation.
Regardless of whether you consider these concerns to be legitimate,
the fact remains that others on this list believe their concerns on
this matter to be justified and worth hearing."

Gordon Olmstead-Dean

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Oct 10, 2009, 3:37:24 AM10/10/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
In short, inviting minors to KFA events is asking for trouble.

PLEASE talk to a lawyer. PLEASE talk to someone at the NCSF.

You need to protect not only yourself, but everyone who attends.

I concur of course.  

I admire and support the concept of "openness" and "inclusion."

It is clear that the organizer's vision is one where GLBT and ALT-Lifestyle concerns are at the forefront.  One of the reason that these concerns have tended to cluster around events that do not have BDSM components or themes, or where those themes are kept in a carefully segregated environment is because there is a wider range of family-friendly attendance, and most people do not consider BDSM an appropriate topic to expose minors to.

It is my personal feeling that exposing most minors to BDSM information is inappropriate.  I think there may be some room for variance among late-teens who are near majority, especially if they are already sexually active with peers, or already experimenting with kink, in which case being exposed to knowledge formally presented may reduce the risk of physical or emotional harm. 

I think that the very simple fact is that an event that includes BDSM information or presentations is inappropriate for the vast majority of minors.  If the desire is to make kinkforall an alt lifestyles event which does not include BDSM, then I think it is fine for it to include minors.  If it does include BDSM then it should either exclude minors, or have a system whereby presenters can rate content.  

I think many presenters would consider that presenting most BDSM information to most minors would violate their personal ethics.

So again, it seems that Kinkforall has somewhat of a dual personality, and I think that needs to be sorted out before it can go further.

The suggestion of "what we can learn from minors" makes perfect sense in terms of GLBT, poly, and many other family-friendly elements of the Alt-lifestyles community.  Whatever social conservatives may think, people in Alt-lifestyles have children and children are a part of those lifestyles.  

It makes no sense whatsoever in terms of Sado-Masochism, and I think that is one reason  "crossover events" of the sort that the founder of Kinkforall seems to have had in mind are uncommon.  SM introduces a great number of complications.

As a member of the Washington DC Alt-Lifestyles Community, I would strongly urge that the DC event seek advice from NCSF in this matter.

JoAnn Kokindo

unread,
Oct 10, 2009, 11:56:36 AM10/10/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
The fair housing laws forbid not renting to people with children under 18

except:  When 3 or less units are owned or it is a property designated as senior housing

maymay

unread,
Oct 10, 2009, 10:29:11 PM10/10/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
I feel there is an unfortunate misunderstanding of several key
practicalities that are causing people to generally freak out and not
think rationally. In this email, I'm going to attempt to outline what
I believe these misunderstandings are and show why the KinkForAll
community as well as individual participants have little to fear
(except fear itself).

First: every activity that occurs at KinkForAll *must* be legal. What
this means is that KinkForAll events must fully comply with the
contracts that it signs with a venue *and* it must also comply with
all municipal, state, and federal laws.

Second: the KinkForAll model itself, and the BarCamp model it is based
off of, are designed to remove as many external rules as possible. By
creating new ones, we undermine the success that KinkForAll has had,
will have, or can achieve.

Third: KinkForAll's success to date has been the direct result of
people's risk-taking, whether that be a personal risk to stand up in
front a group of people and give a presentation even if you're
nervous, or because the very idea was founded on a principle of
personal autonomy that countless people in our own communities told us
would never work. Those risks, and risk-taking for forward motion, are
vital. Please don't lose sight of them.

In the rest of this email I will attempt to clarify specific points
that I feel people might be confused about and relate them back to
these three pillars of understanding. I respond to many e-mails here,
so the result is long, but I think worthwhile.

On Oct 9, 2009, at 11:10 PM, Sara Eileen wrote:

> Within that thread I believe it was generally made clear that while
> the model of KinkForAll will never explicitly include an
> exclusionary guideline, individual events may choose to create rules
> that take into consideration their respective venues and local
> communities.


Sara, respectfully, I do not believe it is acceptable for *any*
KinkForAll to impose upon itself or its participants exclusionary
guidelines. This has always been codified in the model's principles
from the get go. I don't consider an event that adopts exclusionary
guidelines to be a KinkFor*All* event.

That does not mean that no one will ever be excluded from a KinkForAll
event, but those exclusions must be based on forces external to
KinkForAll, such as venue contract restrictions, rather than
restrictions imposed by our event itself or the participants
ourselves. For example, what if a KinkForAll were held in a large
nightclub that serves alcoholic beverages? Aside from the fact that I
think this is a poor choice for a venue, it comes with the
understanding that people under the age of 21 (not just minors, by the
way), will not be permitted to enter the premises.

> I would respectfully suggest that perhaps our energy could be spent
> making sure that our participants feel comfortable and are aware of
> their potential audience.


I strongly agree. This is precisely what I have been consistently
trying to do in other threads on this list. See, in particular:

http://groups.google.com/group/kinkforall/browse_thread/thread/f1477c76b54a4ba1#msg_48e4823bb9a5a8f9

where I wrote: "Let's reach out to Planned Parenthood and ask them to
involve their peer educators […] These peer educators sound like great
people, ones that can make other high schoolers feel comfortable."

However, trying to focus on exactly what you rightfully suggest we
focus our energies on is (evidently) a tricky thing. It seems to me
that when people are worried or fearful about the type of people who
*might* participate, they focus on their fear and risk undermining
their stated principles by confusing the practicalities with those
fears. I suppose this is understandable, but it is exceptionally
frustrating to me, so I apologize for those places where my e-mails
have expressed my frustration rather than thoughts on the issues at
hand.

> Acknowledging that KinkForAll may have attendees who are under 18 is
> a necessary conversation. May has made some good points as to what
> can be done in these cases, for example: It is possible *today* for
> a person who wishes to present at a KinkForAll to stand up and say,
> "Are there any minors in the room? If so, please leave, or I will
> not do this presentation."
>

> To be clear, it is *illegal* to distribute or show pornographic
> material to minors. That means that anyone intending to do a KFA
> presentation which contains pornographic material should be made
> aware of the possible presence of minors, and be given the option to
> not present based upon this information.

Sara, a clarifying point needs to be made here.

It is illegal to distribute or show pornographic material in public
*regardless* of the presence of minors. If you want to talk about
practicalities, the fact that the issue of whether or not pornography
should be permitted at a KinkForAll at all has never arisen because,
to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever shown pornographic
material at a KinkForAll. But this whole discussion of pornography is
besides the point anyway.

The fact is, as KinkForAll Washington DC is a public school venue, the
display or creation of pornography is not permitted, just as it is
illegal at every other public venue, *due to United States law*, and
expressly NOT due to someone at KinkForAll making the (arbitrary)
decision about what is or is not pornography or what to allow or ban
at the event itself.

This comes back to my first point: KinkForAll events must comply with
the legal requirements of their venues. KFADC has a *public* venue. It
is the first KFA event where we have a public venue. KFANYC1 and
KFANYC2 were both on private property in a LGBT center. This means
that the legalities of the event were different. In KFA Boston, again,
we were situated in private property owned by Boston University. The
laws were different.

At KFADC, the venue is a federally mandated "public" space. This is
fantastic. It means that public organizations are willing to allow
sexuality events to use public resources. It also means there are
other laws in place. Only *one* such law is the prohibition against
pornographic material. Another such law is that discrimination based
on any characteristic, including age, is not permissible. These are
two separate laws that we must be careful to distinguish, or we risk
spreading exactly the sort of misinformation and confusion regarding
the kinds of personal responsibility that Nikolas is working so hard
to make sure people accurately understand.

Furthermore, it should be noted that there is a legal distinction
between pornographic material and sexual information. If a
presentation can be said to have "artistic" or societal value, then it
can be legally argued to not be porn. I fully intend to prepare my
KFADC presentation, as I have prepared *every* one of my KinkForAll
presentaitons, with a careful consideration towards providing serious,
non-erotic value to the participants who choose to see my talks. In so
doing, I am both doing my
due diligence as a citizen of the United States *and* a KinkForAll
participant.

I hope other participants will hold themselves up to the same
standard, because as you, Sara, and I both verbally emphasized at
KinkForAll NYC 1's opening communications (of which there is
thankfully a recording)[0] KFA is a public space where individuals are
personally responsible for themselves and for being the kind of change
they want to see in the world.

So I don't feel frightened, and I see no reason to ever consider the
exclusion of any group of people from choosing to be present to
witness a talk that I give or slides that I show that contain
artistic, societal, intellectual, or other such non-erotic value. In
fact, restricting that possibility in a public venue is a direct
violation of my first amendment rights.

> Maymay, […] This previous statement is insulting to the people on

> this list who have voiced their own fears and concerns regarding
> this issue.


I apologize for I called people voicing what I believe to be
unjustified fears on this list cowards.

> I believe that the people of this list do not wish to actively
> further the censorship of sexuality education for people under 18.
> However, I also believe that they wish to protect themselves from
> the possibility of *going to jail.*


People can go to jail for many reasons. It is up to individuals in our
society to be aware of the law and not to break it. If you believe you
risk doing something at a KinkForAll that might cause you to be
arrested and go to jail, then it is your responsibility to either 1)
make the choice to do so anyway and take the risk or 2) not to do it.
It is not, actually, a complex issue.

> I agree with you that in principle KinkForAll should not have an age
> limit. In the case of KFA DC, it does not.


Sara, let me be frank this time. It is *crucial* that KinkForAll
*itself,* or anything that purports to be a KinkForAll event, does not
ever adopt an age limit. Period. This is not a matter of individual
events. This is not up for negotiation in my opinion.

If you believe that accessibility and access to KinkForAll events is
important for every human being and if you believe that the principles
*you wrote*[1] for KinkForAll must include these freedoms, then by
sweeping an age limit under the rug for *any* KinkForAll event is
undermining your own principles.

This does not mean that a specific event might, in some as-yet-
hypothetical circumstance, find itself in a position where "banning"
minors by creating an age limit is the only way to make their local
unconference happen. In some situations, that I emphasize we have
never faced, I believe holding an event that might not be open to
everyone who might want to be there is okay. But the choice now and at
all previous events has *never been* "age limit or no event."

KinkForAll itself must always remain available to everyone. This is
why so much attention has been placed on venue choices. This is why we
choose venues with public transit access. This is why we choose venues
that are community-neutral. This is why we make use of public
facilities. This is why it is so important to do everything humanly
possible to avoid a situation wherein we find ourselves with an event
that is actively discouraging for people not-like-us (whoever "us"
happens to be).

Again, it's KinkForAll, isn't it?

> Finally, I would like to include this portion of the venue contract

> for KFA DC[…]


>
>> 6. Limitations of Use.
>> A. The User must:
>> ...

>> 7. .not discriminate on the basis of race, color,

>> creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, marital
>> status, disability, or sexual orientation.

>> B. The Activity must not:
>> ...
>> 6. attract large numbers of unsupervised minors.

This is a very important clause in our agreement and I do sincerely
hope that if minors choose to be present, they will bring their
guardians along. Having brought this to our attention, Sara, do you
have any constructive suggestions with regards to how to make it more
likely that large numbers of minors do not go unsupervised? Please, I
invite you and everyone else to actually discuss the issue on the
"Broadening Diversity of Age at KinkForAll" thread, created to
brainstorm exactly this sort of important point.

That thread is here:

http://groups.google.com/group/kinkforall/browse_thread/thread/f1477c76b54a4ba1

On Oct 10, 2009, at 12:12 AM, Paul wrote:

> Thank you Sara, the coward comment stung for me. I've been fighting
> the good fight for the 18-21 crowd for a loooong time.


Paul, I didn't know that you advocated for young adults in the 18-21
age ranges who are also barred from many sexuality events and
informational resources. I'm happy to hear that you do and would love
to see the great work you're doing for these people be extended to
people beyond that age range, including minors as this thread is
discussing, such as the 16 or 17 year olds who don't feel they should
be barred from receiving whatever benefits you might be able to
provide for their lives.

On Oct 10, 2009, at 12:37 AM, Gordon Olmstead-Dean wrote:

> I think that the very simple fact is that an event that includes
> BDSM information or presentations is inappropriate for the vast
> majority of minors.


And yet others feel differently. This highlights my point about how
important it is to be *removing* external rules from KinkForAll
unconferences. Any external rule you imagine will be deemed
inappropriate by some people for some people some of the time.

I am not arguing my point in order to convince anyone that I am right
and they are wrong, I am arguing my point so that we don't lose the
part of KinkForAll that makes it possible for us to disagree on these
issues and yet still have an event that is *available "ForAll".* The
only way we can have an environment in which people actually assume
personal responsibility for what they do is by giving them the
opportunity to choose for themselves what they will do, not by
imposing one set of people's beliefs on others.

It is vitally important not to create arbitrary rules based on
anyone's opinions of what is or is not "appropriate." We have legal
systems in place that do this already. We must* obey them and *should*
use them. It is not appropriate for anyone in this community to tell
anyone else what information is or is not appropriate for them to have
because this community is founded on the principle that information
should be free *for all.*

> It is my personal feeling that exposing most minors to BDSM
> information is inappropriate.


If anyone, like Gordon has stated he thinks, does not believe that
some kind of information should be available to some kind of person,
then they should not themselves make that information available.
However, it is outright censorship to say that because *any number of
people* believes one way about the availability of information that
*any other person* should be disallowed from providing that
information to someone who desires and makes a clear intent (such as
participating in a KinkForAll event) to receive it.

Gordon, if you don't think it is right for people to speak on certain
topics to certain people, then you should not do so. Others will make
that call for themselves, and I challenge you not to support the
imposition of that restriction on someone who thinks differently than
you do.

> I think many presenters would consider that presenting most BDSM
> information to most minors would violate their personal ethics.

>

> it seems that Kinkforall has somewhat of a dual personality, and I

> think that needs to be sorted out before it can go further.


I do not believe that BDSM should be excluded from any events that
wish to provide knowledge about human sexuality to participants who
participate in that event. In my opinion, there is no conflict between
KinkForAll's "personality" and the presence of people who wish to
discuss BDSM.

> The suggestion of "what we can learn from minors" makes perfect
> sense in terms of GLBT, poly, and many other family-friendly
> elements of the Alt-lifestyles community. Whatever social
> conservatives may think, people in Alt-lifestyles have children and
> children are a part of those lifestyles.

>

> It makes no sense whatsoever in terms of Sado-Masochism, and I think
> that is one reason "crossover events" of the sort that the founder
> of Kinkforall seems to have had in mind are uncommon.


I respectfully disagree with you. What makes you believe that you are
unable to learn something from someone younger than you about any
topic, or about a particular one? How does one person's age make them
inherently unable to know something that you do not? What makes minors
who have some interest in BDSM but who are not gay, polyamorous, or
otherwise interested in different "alt-lifestyles" unable to share
what they know and feel than some of the same age but are gay, or poly
and not interested in BDSM?

Many people are not ever of the opinion that GLBT, polyamory, or
indeed any element of "alt-lifestyles" are family friendly. By saying
that these things are appropriate for minors but BDSM is not, you seem
to me to be drawing the same arbitrary line in a different place, a
line that the support of which is antithetical to the principles of
accessibility and free availability of information on which KinkForAll
has been, and I sincerely hope remains, based on.

Respectfully,

EXTERNAL REFERENCES:

[0] http://maymay.net/maymay/sm/KFANYC-Opening%20Essential%20Communications.mp3
[1] http://kinkforall.pbworks.com/ThePrinciplesOfKinkForAll.2009-08-20-05-25-26

iron rose

unread,
Oct 11, 2009, 1:24:48 PM10/11/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
I apologize for I called people voicing what I believe to be
unjustified fears on this list cowards.

Thank you for making this apology.  I would also like to state that I am not "freaking out" and thinking "irrationally"; I simply disagree with you.  I would very much appreciate it if you continue to improve your language by working on removing such personal attacks from your rhetoric.  I honestly and simply believe that KfA as it stands today is not an appropriate venue to bring minors into for learning about sexuality.  When you imply that this is irrational or that I am freaking out for simply disagreeing with you, it is hard to believe that we can have a productive conversation here.  I could just as equally imply that you are irrational, but I don't.  I have the respect for you and your point of view that allows me to debate your beliefs on their merit, rather than impugning your motives or your state of mind.  Please allow those who disagree with you that same respect.

KfA currently is, and has been in all cases in the past, a conference run by adults expecting an adult audience.  In such an environment, I do not think it's appropriate to involve more minors(*).  I think that providing a safe space for sexual education of minors is *not* compatible with providing a safe space for sexual education of adults.  This is because I think that children have different needs and require different protections than adults.  I do not think that children should have the same rights as adults; they are not adults who happen to be smaller.  Sexual education for minors has to take into account what they can understand and appreciate, and what will be useful and yes, also what can be harmful.  (I do think information can be harmful to children who are not ready for it.  At best, it can be confusing.  At worse it can frighten them, or cause them trauma.  I realize that you probably vehemently disagree with that, but well, it's what I believe.)  If we want to provide sexual education for minors, we need to shift our focus to *that*, rather than simply encourage them to enter a space which is directed towards sharing sexuality information among adults.

I do, in fact, strongly agree with you that creating a safe space for minors to learn about sexuality at their pace and understanding is very important.  As you wrote in the other thread, withholding such information can also be traumatic and harmful.  However, I personally believe that such a space would have to be:

* A space run by adults, specifically focusing on the needs of minors instead of the needs of adults.
* A space run by minors, for other minors (with supervision by adults).

I have some suggestions to make, going forward:

1. In some of what you write, you seem open to the possibility of involving the legal guardians of minors in KfA.  What do you think of adding a restriction to the attendance of minors, that they must either attend with the supervision of their legal guardians or with the permission of their legal guardians?  With that restriction I actually would be much more comfortable with going ahead with additional outreach towards minors.  We can easily draft a consent form for parents/guardians to sign, which minors can hand over in order to enter.  This does not ban minors and encourages guardians to attend with their children.  (Or maybe 16 and under needs the consent form.  We can quibble about exactly what that looks like if we want to move forward with this option.)

2. We can change KfA to focus on minors instead of its current focus which is on adults.

3. We can fork off a version of KfA specifically focused on minors, rather than adults, allowing the current KfA to retain its focus on adult sexuality and sexual education.

4. We can fork off a version of KfA run by minors, for minors.

I am open to any of these possibilities.  Are you willing to consider any of them?

-ironrose

(*) I use "minor" here in the legal sense, as "under 18".  However, my views on which protections and needs minors have are not precisely delineated by the legal line.  Is a 17-year-old all that different from an 18-year old?  Probably not.  I do think that a 10-year-old is very different from an 18-year-old, however.  So, for me, the gray area between "minors" and "adults" is somewhere in the 16-18 range - if we want to just talk about 16 and up, many more things are appropriate than if we insist on talking about all minors of any age.  However, my impression from your emails is that we are talking about all ages.

The Distinguished ...

unread,
Oct 13, 2009, 4:55:49 PM10/13/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
Good afternoon,

(And, yes, I do hear the groans, of "oh shit, here he goes again.")

On Fri, 2009-10-09 at 22:38 -0700, maymay wrote:
> On Oct 9, 2009, at 8:49 PM, iron rose wrote:
>
> > First of all, there is a huge difference between "not banning
> > minors" and "actively recruiting minors".
>
>
> I'm 100% with you on this.

And yet, the difference is not enough. You know that, in most states,
including DC, any and all sexual education has to be approved by the
parents of any minor who will have access to it, before it is presented?
How is an unconference like KinkForAll, under which any topic might be
presented going to comply with that, unless they do, indeed, do
something drastic like only allow minors who are accompanied by their
parents or legal guardians, and we get said parents and legal guardians
to sign off on what is being presented, that their minors might be
exposed to?

> > I am willing to accept the former. I am actually very very
> > uncomfortable with the latter.
>
>
> I am very uncomfortable with the lack of the former (i.e., with the
> idea that any KinkForAll anywhere at any time will ban minors),

I, personally, am uncomfortable with the thought that you seem to be
encouraging the KinkForAll concept to be in basic violation of the one
set of laws that gets more people arrested, jailed, and labeled
_for_the_rest_of_their_lives_ as a "sex offender" under Megan's Law.
Matter of fact, by some reads of the law, simply participating in
KinkForAll can open up anyone and everyone there to such. Am I being
paranoid? Take a look at the recent Eagle's Bar debacle. Or the clubs
in New Jersey. I can go farther back in time, but those took place
under the enlightened Obama reign, not even the restrictive Bush reign.

> and believe that the latter ("actively recruiting minors") is no more
> appropriate than actively recruiting people of any other
> distinguishing characteristic, such as race or sexual orientation.

See also my long diatribe on why that is bad, as well. Of course, this
one, due to it being illegal to show pornography to minors, and
pornography is often determined by: "I know it when I see it." but often
by "What turns me on outside of the standard bedroom activities" or, by
the definitions offered, anything that could be considered Kink. That
means that if there is a minor in the room, nothing that can be
considered Kink can be presented without breaking that law. Excellent.
Shall we become CupCakeCamp? Technically, should any of us be in
agreement with this, even if it never happens, we are now all liable
under the violation of this law, can be tried, and convicted of being
sex offenders, and have to inform every neighborhood we live in, from
now, until we die, that we are sex offenders.

Well done. I think you just found a way to keep all the responsible
BDSM content away from the KinkForAll convention you are organizing.

> I put just as much personal importance on the thread I started on
> creating a diversity of age[0] as I do on the thread Emma started on
> creating other forms of diversity.

As I saw, when, you saw there was a difference in opinion, and, instead
of accepting that there might be some validity to it, you decided that
it didn't exist in your world view, and simply ignored the rest of the
completely valid discussion.

> > Certainly I think a child who is 17 is more than able to choose to
> > come and participate. I do not think KfA is an appropriate venue
> > for a child of 9, however.

> Certainly, a minor aged 9 is different than a minor aged 17. However,
> do you believe that because you think a KinkForAll is not a place a
> minor aged 9 should be present that we should ban people under the age
> of 10? If so, why is that any less arbitrary than banning people aged
> under 18? In other words, who are you, I, or anyone to say that
> KinkForAll should not be *made available* to people under a certain
> age bracket?

Because, that's what the laws of this country state. A minor is someone
under the age of 18. There are the case of emancipated minors, but they
are still protected, under law, as minors. Once (if ever) that
legislation is changed, feel free to revisit this issue. Personally, I
don't look forward to that legislation ever changing, but ... I admit
that the possibility might exist. Of course, there is a lot more
cultural shift you will have to bring about, first. Much more than
simply divorcing the concept that kink==BDSM. Good luck!

> I strongly disagree with any move to make anything, including any age,
> a barrier that prevents anyone from choosing for themselves whether or
> not they want information such as that shared at a KinkForAll event. I
> especially think that barring such information based on one's own
> fears is cowardly, disingenuous, and something I hope we can all get
> over very soon.

And I strongly hope that your idealism doesn't end you up in a dead-end
prison, where the opinion of those who are around you consider
pedophiles to be less than people, and worthy of the death penalty. And
believe you, me, if you get arrested for what you are proposing, that
_is_ where you will end up. If you wish to take that risk. Please,
don't drag the rest of the people who care about sexuality between
consenting adults with you. Everyone I know in the greater
BDSM/GLBT/Swingers/Poly crowd focuses on the fact that it's between
adults. That's part of the only way we/they have survived complete
censure. Take a look at the cry of "it's for the children" or "to
protect the children" and, even if the cry is wrong, or backward, see
how far things get. Examples? Abstainence-only education. Yes, that
was just passed again, in Congress. Seated Democrats, under a
Democratic President.

Calling someone a coward, for wanting to be able to practice what they
want to practice with adults, and not having it all labeled as "bad" and
"wrong" and possibly subject to being outcast in society for the rest of
their lives ... well ... I wouldn't call that cowardly, I'd call that
Sane.

As for disingenuous, well ... your insistence on putting everything that
people have worked for in danger of being outlawed specifically, simply
because you had a difficult time in your childhood, sounds a little
disingenuous to me. It seems a pattern that you are applying labels to
others that seem to fit your actions.

> > In something like KfA, it's up to anyone who comes to decide what's
> > right to present to children.
>
>
> Why is it not okay for the minor, whether aged 17 or 9, be allowed to
> choose for themselves, or at least have that person's guardian choose?
> Granted, children in our society are not often granted rights that
> adults have, which is unfortunate. Who are we to impose even more
> restrictions on them? Who are we to say that some information is not
> okay for someone else?

Because that's what the law of this land says. It says that while they
are a minor, their parents have jurisdiction over them. Having the
parent or guardian choose to be part of it, to be present, and sign
legal forms, might (just might) cover the legal difficulties, but, it
also can be turned around, showing that those parents are "not fit to
raise said children" and have the DSS (or local equivalent) take said
children away, as well as arresting all those who are also participating
in the act (aka all of us).

We are not "imposing even more restrictions" we are simply not violating
the law. Who is to say? Our lawmakers. That simple.

> It is possible *today* for a person who wishes to present at a
> KinkForAll to stand up and say, "Are there any minors in the room? If
> so, please leave, or I will not do this presentation." However, I
> think it is morally reprehensible for us, in such a situation, to
> force a minor out of the room just because they are or are not of a
> certain age. *That* is a ban on information, and I don't feel
> comfortable being a part of something that purports to tout
> accessibility while actively excluding someone who chooses to be
> present for themselves.

And it is possible for someone, who wants to shut down KinkForAll
entirely, to show up with their child, to any class, sit up front and
obvious so that the presenter cannot miss the fact that there is a minor
in the room, and then, if they decide to continue, have them arrested as
soon as the presentation contains anything that might be considered
"pornographic" by description, image, or suggestion.

Excellently done.

To not force the minor out of the room, is, indeed, willingly, and
willfully breaking the law.

Ahh ... so your discomfort in following this large set of laws is what
is going to kill KinkForAll? Interesting. I wish you the best in that.

> > Are we all responsible for what happens? Is no one responsible
> > except for the presenter?
>
>
> Do you you think that we can have a functional system in which
> everyone takes responsibility for themselves while not imposing their
> own views on other people? I think so. We've done pretty well that way
> so far. :) I think the above scenario I described is another great
> example of that principle in action. Imposing more and more external,
> arbitrary rules on it is a recipe for disaster.

Indeed, and if the responsibility is either in choosing, mindfully and
willfully to break the law, they should know what laws they are
breaking, and what the consequences are. Anything else is a lack of
consent. Or, do you mean to imply that, since one person violating the
law makes the entire unconference an illegal activity, you are saying
that we need to police our own, and make sure no one there is committing
a risk that none of us would wish to take? In which case, if any of the
presenters don't want to be held up to such charges by the police, none
of the presenters should be presenting to minors? I believe not. So,
how do you mean "take responsibility for themselves"? Or do you mean,
that anyone who is uncomfortable with being part of breaking the law in
this way, should not present? And probably should not be in any of the
classes either, because, "everyone is a Participant"?

And, since when do you agree with me that you shouldn't be putting
external and arbitrary restrictions, or agendas on the KinkForAll? You
were arguing for your particular agenda not days ago.

But these restrictions are not arbitrary, they are quite specific, and
set down as the laws of this land. Nothing arbitrary about them. 18.
Minor. Pornography. Corruption of a Minor. Encouraging Lewd behaviour
in a Minor. Actual, legal, specific restrictions.

> > I definitely think that as an unorganizer I would bear some
> > responsibility. I do not think it's responsible to create an
> > environment where inappropriate things can happen and then just
> > throw up my hands and say "well, it was that person, I just helped
> > make the conference happen, it's not my problem". I cannot promise
> > that inappropriate things *won't* happen, but I can take reasonable
> > precautions.
>
>
> I know that we have had at least one minor at KFANYC2. I met him. Nice
> guy. Teenager. Very chill.

Excellent. Now you have, by definition, opened up the ENTIRE KFANYC2
staff, and possibly participants, to charges. Go you!

> No KFA event to date has had an incident, as Stacy pointed out.

The statute of limitations is not yet up. If parent of said minor finds
out, and wishes to bring charges, they still can over the next, I
believe 5 years, since the date of the crime (it might be 11, but I
think it's 5). Not only that, but, if a neighbor, grandparent, priest,
schoolteacher, or other figure in that minor's life finds out, and
objects, they can get the parents _and_ the whole staff of KFANCY2 in
trouble with the law. If any Mandatory Reporter is reading this list,
or finds this list in an archive, on the net, you, yourself, knowing
said minor was there, and didn't take steps to remove said minor from
exposure to such, are more than able to be charged. Aren't you lucky.

> Once again I point to YAGNI[1] and ask if what you think you are
> doing here is responding to a threat that currently exists or reacting
> to a hypothetical one you perceive based on a fear you have.

The laws exist. Just as the fire-code laws, and capacity laws exist,
and we accommodate those. Especially since, you, yourself, has just
pointed out that we are _already_ in violation.

> If the latter, why are you—and anyone else who also is reacting this
> way—so afraid?

Not afraid, compliant with the laws. Just as we are compliant with the
laws about making sure we can exit the rooms we are using, in case of a
fire emergency. Or, are you saying we should not be afraid of fire
emergencies, because one hasn't happened yet, to us, and therefore
ignore those laws too?

>
> > If we are going to actively recruit minors, I think that necessarily
> > changes the focus of KfA.
>
>
> I agree.

Indeed, it makes it into a direct violation of several important legal
concepts.

> Let's not actively recruit anybody.

Excellent! I'll take that as you are conceding to my arguments in the
other thread, about not actively trying force Diversity on KinkForAll.
Thank you. I feel vindicated.

> Instead, let's continue to actively make sure that anybody who wishes
> to be at a KinkForAll is both 1) aware of its existence and 2)
> welcomed to participate.

Anyone of legal age, please. Or if you are welcoming anyone below the
legal age, making sure everyone who is participating understands, and
accepts the risks they are taking, by participating.

> > I do not think sexual education for minors is exactly the same as
> > sexual education for adults. Not just because of legal and societal
> > implications, but also because there is a power differential between
> > a 30 year old and a 15 year old, which can be abused. That is an
> > issue which *must* be addressed.
>
>
> Agreed, again.

Really, and yet, you are arguing for just the opposite, elsewhere.

> Do you think that banning anyone of any age, whether 17 or 9 is an
> exercise of this power you have just identified?

Not in the slightest. That is following the laws, that are set down
before us, about protecting minors. Not banning them, and welcoming
them is exercising that power over them,, and leading them into the
legal definition of child abuse, and possibly child molestation,
depending on their exposure, and the interpretation of the laws.

> In my view, banning information from those who want it—regardless of
> the information they want or who they happen to be—is abusive.

Excellent. Make yourself a test-case. Start showing pornography to
children, go on national television stating that you don't think it
wrong, and wish to be a test-case to challenge the laws. Then, once
you've one, come back and talk to us again. Until then, what you are
advocating happens to be legally defined as abusive, and being a
conspirator in child abuse.

> Let's not abuse children more than they already, tragically, often
> are.

Interestingly enough, you are advocating for such "abuse" while trying
to entreat us not to "abuse" them. Funny world isn't it.

> > Finally, there *are* going to be issues where we disagree. I would
> > like to think that the voices of those who want to participate would
> > be heard, but if the answer to "I don't agree with this direction"
> > is "well you can leave; we don't want you anyway", I'm not sure how
> > we can actually productively proceed. I *want* to be involved, and
> > I *have* been involved in KfA, and I would like to continue to be.
> > It would be nice to hear that people are willing to compromise, but
> > if push comes to shove, yes, I will vote with my feet.
> >
> > -ironrose
>
>
> I agree wholeheartedly. I sincerely hope that no one on this thread or
> who is a part of the KinkForAll community will take the action of
> trying to eject from the community or bar from entering the community
> someone who wishes to be here,

And yet, your words are just that. You are trying to eject those of us
who don't want to be lawbreakers from KinkForAll, those of us who don't
want to be legal test cases, and those of us, like Philip, who has
already been ejected, by this conversation, because he is a father, and,
were he to stay in this conversation, much less a KinkForAll which
allows minors to participate, might lose the right to continue as a
father, in the eyes of the law.

Look to yourself. Your actions already have violated your wish.

> for any reason whatsoever. Having hashed this over a number of times,
> I am continuously surprised to see many people challenging the idea
> that minors have not got the same fundamental human right to seek out
> and obtain information about anything they want to have some knowledge
> about,

And I'm surprised that, every time this goes around, you continue to
ignore the simple legal facts, that your oh-so-noble thought is
specifically violating.

> for that is what people are saying if they believe imposing arbitrary
> limits on who can attend a KinkForAll event is in any way appropriate.

The limits we are talking about are not arbitrary, they are legal.
Therefore, are very appropriate. They are not adults, under the law.
They do not have the right to congregate, have the right of freedom of
speech, or any of the other rights granted to adults. You want to
change that? Go ahead, but, please, don't use KinkForAll as your
platform.

Disgusted,
Lord Percival, not a child abuser.

The Distinguished ...

unread,
Oct 13, 2009, 5:14:37 PM10/13/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
On Sat, 2009-10-10 at 02:24 -0400, at...@atrus.org wrote:

> Your examples seem to be poor ones to me, since I'm not aware of a age
> non-discrimination clause that these private businesses would be
> violating in the first place.
>
> My search for guidance about the applicability of my contract to
> minors hasn't been fruitful. The only examples I've found are age
> discrimination in employment (which only prohibits discrimination
> against those over 40?) and renting housing (where it likely applies
> to people of all ages, including those under 18...)
>
> References for the above:
> http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/adea.html
> Every landlord's guide to finding great tenants, ISBN 1413304133,
> page 35

>From your very source, "A minor applicant who is legally 'emancipated' -
is married, has a court order of emancipation or is in the military has
the same status as an adult" therefore, in that case you are looking at
someone who is legally an adult. You might be on somewhat shaky grounds
(there is several cases that "adult" being "in the military" doesn't
exempt them from statutory rape, but that is neither here nor there ...)
but they are recognized as legally adult in the eyes of the law. Not
minors, and therefore not under consideration at this particular
juncture. Following that in the very same paragraph: "On the other
hand, applicants who are not emancipated lack the legal capacity to
enter into a legally binding rental agreement with you." Which shows
they are not adults, do not have the same rights under law, and are
protected by the law from being exposed to such that is at KinkForAll.

> In this case, I have sought clarification from representatives of the
> party I signed a contract with. They have specifically instructed me
> that this event can not exclude minors.

This might mean that, that contract could and should be inspected, and
perhaps rejected, since, by accepting minors at the activity, both sides
of the contract might be accepting responsibility for the content of the
KinkForAll, and they might not be aware of what they are consenting to,
and might be opening up whomever signed the contract with them to "false
representation" lawsuit. If that is you, get a lawyer, and get one
fast, to make sure you aren't opening yourself up to such.

> Since I lack the opinion of an attorney, much less one willing to
> represent me in this matter, I am inclined to follow their
> instruction.

And, if/when it goes south? Is that a risk you are willing to take for
the rest of your life, and for the rest of your fortune?

> > Children are a particular protected class. Laws protecting minors
> from
> > adult subjects are not only strict but very popular with prosecutors
> > who want to make a name for themselves.
>
> I think I've already cited the most relevant portions of the Maryland
> Code I could find (Criminal Law, Title 11, Subtitles 1 and 2) and,
> yes, they are problematic.

And yet, you haven't run to get legal representation to make sure you
are clean in this day and age?

> > If you are going to allow minors at KFA events, please make this
> > information prominent. Some of us don't care to take on legal or
> > societal problems.
>
> I do intend to include a reminder about the potential problems in the
> opening communications.

Good good. Consent is not achieved if people don't know the
consequences of their actions. And I believe kink was defined earlier
as being between "consenting adults".

> > In short, inviting minors to KFA events is asking for trouble.
> >
> > PLEASE talk to a lawyer. PLEASE talk to someone at the NCSF.
>
> Please make a donation towards their fees? Seriously, I've asked
> people I know might have some insight and haven't gotten much so far.

The NCSF is often willing to put up lawyers, or collections so lawyers
might be gathered. They often bemoan that people wait until too late to
contact them, when things have already gotten bad, as opposed to where
they could just help, and make sure things don't _get_ bad. They are
not miracle workers, nor have unlimited funds, but ... many of us donate
to them, so they can help with situations just like this.

> I'll try contacting the NCSF since they might yield some useful
> information for free. (Thanks for the suggestion; I'd thought of them,
> but stupidly hadn't thought to ask for advice from them.)

*grin* Consider the suggestion doubled. And let us know?

> > You need to protect not only yourself, but everyone who attends.
>
> I do accept some responsibility to make attendees aware of risks they
> may be taking, and to mitigate those risks to some degree. I don't
> think I can do more than that.

Can? Or should? *grin* It's always an interesting balance-point.

> Thanks again for the NCSF recommendation.

Seconded. Thirded, Whatever.
> Cheers,
> -Nikolas

Lord Percival.

Syd Gottfried

unread,
Oct 13, 2009, 5:21:27 PM10/13/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
You guys, f'real, I don't think anybody is advocating that children attend KFA.  However, there is a big difference between children and teenagers, and as the whole discussion was started because KFA is being held at a high school, I'm ASSUMING that the real bones of the discussion are about the appropriateness of high-school aged teenagers attending KFA.  Right?  Right?

Yeah, so to suggest that anyone actually wants to invite a 9 year old child, who can't even leave the house without adult supervsion, to an event where complex issues are being discussed without the use of tinker-toys as illustration, much less show them porn, is pretty disengenuous and insulting.  If a 9 year old walked up to a KFA event, do you honestly believe that anyone would welcome the child in, help the child make a name-tag, and encourage the child to host an event on a topic that the child knows nothing more about than storks?  Give me a break.  This is a discussion about high-school aged teenagers, and their questioned right to attend KFA events.  To make the insinuation that anybody on this list wants to show porn to children, and is close to being a sex-offender for advocating the rights of teenagers to attend KFA, is extremely insulting.

It seems like some people are going under the assumption that minors (TEENAGERS) have sex, sometimes have kinky sex, and should be able to talk about it with the rest of us.  Other people seem to either disagree with that assumption and/or equate that assumption with the desire to teach a sex-ed class to children.

Seriously, everyone.  Lets pull ourselves together.  Children ≠ Teenagers.  Obviously.  And we should continue the discussion with that distinction.

Alright.  Break!

Frustrated with so much apparent miscommunication,
Syd

The Distinguished ...

unread,
Oct 13, 2009, 5:24:02 PM10/13/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
Greetings,

On Sat, 2009-10-10 at 19:29 -0700, maymay wrote:
> I feel there is an unfortunate misunderstanding of several key
> practicalities that are causing people to generally freak out and not
> think rationally. In this email, I'm going to attempt to outline what
> I believe these misunderstandings are and show why the KinkForAll
> community as well as individual participants have little to fear
> (except fear itself).
>
> First: every activity that occurs at KinkForAll *must* be legal. What
> this means is that KinkForAll events must fully comply with the
> contracts that it signs with a venue *and* it must also comply with
> all municipal, state, and federal laws.

It is in violation of many state, and perhaps some federal laws to
expose a child to pornography. Pornography is defined, variously, but
easily within what we define "kink" on our own website to be.

Therefore, you are in contradiction. That simple.

> Second: the KinkForAll model itself, and the BarCamp model it is based
> off of, are designed to remove as many external rules as possible. By
> creating new ones, we undermine the success that KinkForAll has had,
> will have, or can achieve.

If you mean by "external" "legal" then, good luck. If you mean by
"external" things like agendas and forcing diversity, or encouraging the
breaking of laws, well ... I'm not sure what you are up to.

> Third: KinkForAll's success to date has been the direct result of
> people's risk-taking, whether that be a personal risk to stand up in
> front a group of people and give a presentation even if you're
> nervous, or because the very idea was founded on a principle of
> personal autonomy that countless people in our own communities told us
> would never work. Those risks, and risk-taking for forward motion, are
> vital. Please don't lose sight of them.

And, in risk taking, you have to be aware of the risk you are taking.
And you seem to be trying to cloud the issue that you are advocating
breaking laws, and not laws that are often broken with impunity, like
speed limits, but laws that get people to pull out the pitchforks and
torches, laws that, the barest hint that they might be broken have set
back, time and time again G/L adoption of children. Have gotten
children removed from the homes of parents who responsibly, quietly, and
without exposing their children, partake in one form of kink or another.
Laws that, the violators of such, are so detested by even those in
prison, decrease the likelihood that a prison stay is survivable. Know
the risks, yes. Take risks, if you wish, but, please, stop taking risks
for the rest of us.

> In the rest of this email I will attempt to clarify specific points
> that I feel people might be confused about and relate them back to
> these three pillars of understanding. I respond to many e-mails here,
> so the result is long, but I think worthwhile.

Actually, I will stop here, so, perhaps, my message will sink in.
Jgodean at gmail has shown that fewer words tend to hit home better.
so ...

Lord Percival

Daniel C

unread,
Oct 13, 2009, 5:32:14 PM10/13/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
One thing to note..    Our system with respect to sexual content is not quite so cut and dry.

The movie rating system is a case in point.   Movies can be G, PG, PG-13, R, or NC-17

From the ratings board website:

The more mature themes in some PG-rated motion pictures may call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity and some depictions of violence or brief nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance.

More than brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented.  A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context.  The Rating Board nevertheless may rate such a motion picture PG-13 if, based on a special vote by a two-thirds majority, the Raters feel that most American parents would believe that a PG-13 rating is appropriate because of the context or manner in which the words are used or because the use of those words in the motion picture is inconspicuous.

An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously.   17 year olds are welcome at R-Rated movies.

What rating does most kink4all content get?    What would be the rating for the content in NYC/Boston?

- Daniel

The Distinguished ...

unread,
Oct 13, 2009, 5:42:22 PM10/13/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
Greetings,

On Sun, 2009-10-11 at 13:24 -0400, iron rose wrote:
>
> I apologize for I called people voicing what I believe to be
> unjustified fears on this list cowards.
>
> Thank you for making this apology. I would also like to state that I
> am not "freaking out" and thinking "irrationally"; I simply disagree
> with you. I would very much appreciate it if you continue to improve
> your language by working on removing such personal attacks from your
> rhetoric. I honestly and simply believe that KfA as it stands today
> is not an appropriate venue to bring minors into for learning about
> sexuality. When you imply that this is irrational or that I am
> freaking out for simply disagreeing with you, it is hard to believe
> that we can have a productive conversation here. I could just as
> equally imply that you are irrational, but I don't. I have the
> respect for you and your point of view that allows me to debate your
> beliefs on their merit, rather than impugning your motives or your
> state of mind. Please allow those who disagree with you that same
> respect.

Thank you! Perhaps I should stop saying things, because you all seem to
be expressing what I wish to express, and so much better than I seem to
be able to!

> KfA currently is, and has been in all cases in the past, a conference
> run by adults expecting an adult audience. In such an environment, I
> do not think it's appropriate to involve more minors(*). I think that
> providing a safe space for sexual education of minors is *not*
> compatible with providing a safe space for sexual education of adults.
> This is because I think that children have different needs and require
> different protections than adults. I do not think that children
> should have the same rights as adults; they are not adults who happen
> to be smaller. Sexual education for minors has to take into account
> what they can understand and appreciate, and what will be useful and
> yes, also what can be harmful. (I do think information can be harmful
> to children who are not ready for it. At best, it can be confusing.
> At worse it can frighten them, or cause them trauma. I realize that
> you probably vehemently disagree with that, but well, it's what I
> believe.) If we want to provide sexual education for minors, we need
> to shift our focus to *that*, rather than simply encourage them to
> enter a space which is directed towards sharing sexuality information
> among adults.

Thank you again!

> I do, in fact, strongly agree with you that creating a safe space for
> minors to learn about sexuality at their pace and understanding is
> very important. As you wrote in the other thread, withholding such
> information can also be traumatic and harmful. However, I personally
> believe that such a space would have to be:
>
> * A space run by adults, specifically focusing on the needs of minors
> instead of the needs of adults.
> * A space run by minors, for other minors (with supervision by
> adults).
>
> I have some suggestions to make, going forward:
>
> 1. In some of what you write, you seem open to the possibility of
> involving the legal guardians of minors in KfA. What do you think of
> adding a restriction to the attendance of minors, that they must
> either attend with the supervision of their legal guardians or with
> the permission of their legal guardians? With that restriction I
> actually would be much more comfortable with going ahead with
> additional outreach towards minors. We can easily draft a consent
> form for parents/guardians to sign, which minors can hand over in
> order to enter. This does not ban minors and encourages guardians to
> attend with their children. (Or maybe 16 and under needs the consent
> form. We can quibble about exactly what that looks like if we want to
> move forward with this option.)

The only problem I see with this, is those papers might be grounds for
their children to be removed from their custody. I've seen that happen
on more than one occasion. Even if it is fought, and eventually
readjusted, it could be up to 3 months that the child is in foster care,
or in the care of someone other than the parents, even people who do not
have the child's best welfare to heart (the very folks who brought the
charges, in the case of a set of grandparents accusing their own child,
and spouse of child, about their grandkids, and then, were the ones that
exposed the grandkids to exactly what they thought the parents were
doing, "for their protection" in the 3 months they had custody).

So, as much as that might be a way, I don't know that it is "safe" for
the parents to do so.

> 2. We can change KfA to focus on minors instead of its current focus
> which is on adults.

Then, is it still KFA?

> 3. We can fork off a version of KfA specifically focused on minors,
> rather than adults, allowing the current KfA to retain its focus on
> adult sexuality and sexual education.

*applause*

> 4. We can fork off a version of KfA run by minors, for minors.

*more applause*
>
> I am open to any of these possibilities. Are you willing to consider
> any of them?
>
> -ironrose
>
> (*) I use "minor" here in the legal sense, as "under 18". However, my
> views on which protections and needs minors have are not precisely
> delineated by the legal line. Is a 17-year-old all that different
> from an 18-year old? Probably not. I do think that a 10-year-old is
> very different from an 18-year-old, however. So, for me, the gray
> area between "minors" and "adults" is somewhere in the 16-18 range -
> if we want to just talk about 16 and up, many more things are
> appropriate than if we insist on talking about all minors of any age.
> However, my impression from your emails is that we are talking about
> all ages.

There is something to be said for "Romeo and Julette" exemptions.

Lord Percival

maymay

unread,
Oct 13, 2009, 10:04:32 PM10/13/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
On Oct 11, 2009, at 10:24 AM, iron rose wrote:

> KfA currently is, and has been in all cases in the past, a
> conference run by adults expecting an adult audience.

Actually, the whole concept of KinkForAll has always been that there
is no pre-defined audience. We even warn sponsors of that, as quoted
on the Sponsors page:

> KinkForAll […] never guarantees an audience to anyone, including
> sponsors.

So, while it's true that all KinkForAll unorganizers to date have been
legal adults, and very likely that most KinkForAll participants
expected an exclusively adult audience, that has never been guaranteed
to them. No one has ever been guaranteed that any group of people will
or will not make up the participants of KinkForAll.

> In such an environment, I do not think it's appropriate to involve
> more minors(*). I think that providing a safe space for sexual
> education of minors is *not* compatible with providing a safe space
> for sexual education of adults.

It seems we disagree on this point.

KinkForAll is unique in that it's a place where we can actually
disagree and yet not restrict one another's freedoms. It's extremely
important that KinkForAll remains a place where it is possible for
people who disagree with one another to participate, not just on
contentious issues like this, but on contentious issues about
*anything*.

Which is to say, I acknowledge you believe differently than I do, and
I think that very fact is the core of the importance of KinkForAll's
rejection of restrictions on age.

It is wonderful that we can disagree and yet not confuse the issue by
claiming that because one of us believes a certain thing, KinkForAll
has any reason to restrict the participation of anybody whose presence
would make the other uncomfortable, regardless of who they are.

> I do, in fact, strongly agree with you that creating a safe space
> for minors to learn about sexuality at their pace and understanding
> is very important. As you wrote in the other thread, withholding
> such information can also be traumatic and harmful. However, I
> personally believe that such a space would have to be:
>
> * A space run by adults, specifically focusing on the needs of
> minors instead of the needs of adults.
> * A space run by minors, for other minors (with supervision by
> adults).

I encourage you to watch this fantastic video about how young people
can teach themselves without the presence of adults.

http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_shows_how_kids_teach_themselves.html

Perhaps this video will explain why adults are not necessary for young
people to learn things, which might be interesting to you.

> I have some suggestions to make, going forward:
>
> 1. In some of what you write, you seem open to the possibility of
> involving the legal guardians of minors in KfA. What do you think
> of adding a restriction to the attendance of minors, that they must
> either attend with the supervision of their legal guardians or with
> the permission of their legal guardians?

I think it would be wonderful if a minor's legal guardian was brought
to a KinkForAll by said minor.

That said, I don't think it's a good thing for the access of minors to
be restricted to those who bring their legal guardians, as indeed I
don't think adding any restrictions on who can participate in
KinkForAll is a good thing, as I've been saying.

Remember, KinkForAll is "free as in libre and free as in beer." This
is the libre part: we cannot restrict people based on religion, we
cannot restrict anyone based on sexual orientation, we can't restrict
anyone based on age. No one has to pay money to participate, because
doing so creates an unnecessary restriction. KinkForAll must not cost
money to participate in, or it is not an even that is free as in beer.
By the same token, KinkForAll must not create other barriers to
participation, such as an age restriction, or it is not an event that
is free as in libre.

> We can easily draft a consent form for parents/guardians to sign,
> which minors can hand over in order to enter.

I also think any age-based restriction is unenforceable due to the
nature of KinkForAll events. Specifically, the walk-in/walk-out, open
to the public, free participation style make requiring consent forms
from participants impractical.

In fact, because we simply welcome everyone who comes to a KinkForAll,
we don't know how many minors have been at the events so far. At KFA
Boston at BU, for instance, there might have been quite a few, since
many people enter college at 17.

> 2. We can change KfA to focus on minors instead of its current focus
> which is on adults.

KinkForAll does not have a focus on adults, it has a focus on
spreading sexuality information for free to all people. If you have a
focus on adults, you are welcome to bring that focus to KinkForAll,
but do not lose sight of the important distinction that it is your
focus, not necessarily anyone else's.

> 3. We can fork off a version of KfA specifically focused on minors,

> rather than adults[…]

This is a fantastic idea. I would be thrilled to see this happen.
Perhaps a "KinkForYouth" concept? A KFY wiki can be created instantly
from the current content in the KFA wiki and then it's just a matter
of someone going through and making edits so the concept is more
targeted to the intention of that forked project. If someone wants to
do that, feel free to ping me for technical help.

I see no reason why an additional project should in any way restrict
the attendance of minors to a KinkForAll. My focus will remain in
KinkForAll and in keeping it free of restrictions, not on getting the
ball rolling on a new forked project.

> 4. We can fork off a version of KfA run by minors, for minors.

Again, this is a fantastic idea and I encourage everyone who is
inspired by this idea to run with it! As before, I see no reason why
the existence of such a project should restrict the participation of
minors at a KinkForAll.

> I do think that a 10-year-old is very different from an 18-year-old,
> however. So, for me, the gray area between "minors" and "adults" is
> somewhere in the 16-18 range - if we want to just talk about 16 and
> up, many more things are appropriate than if we insist on talking
> about all minors of any age. However, my impression from your
> emails is that we are talking about all ages.

I totally agree that a 10 year old is very different from an 18 year
old. I am not crazy; I understand age appropriateness. However, I also
believe that it is not my place to tell anyone of any age that what
*they believe* to be age-appropriate for them is not. That is why I
reject the notion of an age restriction, and why I am so happy that
KinkForAll cannot remain KinkForAll with the addition of one.

Does anyone on this list really believe that if I saw a 9 year old boy
walking around at KFADC I would walk to him and say, "What would you
like to present on?"

I would walk to that boy and say, "Hi. My name is May. What are you
looking for?" My next action would depend on the boy's response. If
that boy said something like, "I'm looking for the KFADC schedule grid
so I can put my presentation up," I would help him find the schedule
grid. If that boy said, "I'm looking for my mom. What's going on
here?" I would say, "This is a conference where people teach things to
one another without designated teachers, but let me help you find your
mother now," and then I would escort the boy out of the event space
and help reunite him with his parent.

My point is that I think it is prejudiced to tell any human that they
are not permitted to be in a KinkForAll based on what you believe
about them as opposed to their reasons for being there, just as it is
prejudiced to do that to *anyone* in any situation. And how amazing
would it be for that possibly one-in-a-million 9 year old, who
actually knows why he's there and wants to talk about things? What I
want is a good place for exceptional people to be exceptional.
KinkForAll could have done that for me, and it should remain available
to do that for others.

As Syd rightfully noted, if people on this thread who are deeply
concerned can set aside their worry of what *might* happen and deal
with the reality of things that are *likely* to happen, I believe they
will be able to calm down, and that we will find ourselves more
productive.

On Oct 13, 2009, at 2:21 PM, Syd Gottfried wrote:

> to suggest that anyone actually wants to invite a 9 year old child,
> who can't even leave the house without adult supervsion, to an event
> where complex issues are being discussed without the use of tinker-
> toys as illustration, much less show them porn, is pretty
> disengenuous and insulting.

Yes, exactly. Thanks, Syd. Some 9 year olds are incapable of all but
the simplest things, and others are capable of amazing feats. Treating
every 9 year old as though they are all helpless and incapable merely
because some are is unfair, and perfectly describes adultism.[0]

On Oct 13, 2009, at 2:32 PM, Daniel C wrote:

> Our system with respect to sexual content is not quite so cut and dry.
>
> The movie rating system is a case in point. Movies can be G, PG,
> PG-13, R, or NC-17

That's a good point. A further point is that the age of consent and
the age of majority vary by region and time, nor are they always the
same in the same place. Here's a map showing a small portion of the
variety:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Age_of_Consent.png

It is totally out of scope for KinkForAll to presume to accurately
encode in its definitions a specific age of appropriateness.

Cheers,

EXTERNAL REFERENCES:

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adultism

at...@atrus.org

unread,
Oct 13, 2009, 11:40:10 PM10/13/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
I just wanted to let you all know that I've sent off some queries to the NCSF (via their web form, sent 10/10) and SMYAL (via e-mail, sent tonight). Full texts of my messages are below, so you can decide if I've represented your concerns well enough. I'll try to get around to calling the ACLU of Maryland (to see if they have any input) tomorrow.

Again, I'm not terribly worried about charges being brought against attendees of KFA DC, for reasons I've outlined in detail before. I'm mostly trying to address fears that people have voiced.

Cheers,
-Nikolas

To NCSF:
On Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 4:23 AM, <at...@atrus.org> wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm writing to seek advice on a couple matters for an event that I'm
> organizing. It's an unconference called "KinkForAll", a day of presentations
> and discussions about sexuality, gender, sexual freedom, and sexual
> diversity. Instances of KinkForAll in other cities have had a strong,
> visible showing from the BDSM community in particular, with LGBT coming in
> second (in my estimation). More information about KinkForAll can be found on
> the wiki:
> http://kinkforall.pbworks.com/
>
> The currently chosen venue for the DC event is Bethesda-Chevy Chase High
> School, in Montgomery County, Maryland. I chose it simply because it offered
> a lot of metro accessible space at a low price, but it has the side effect
> of making the presence of minors fairly likely; there will be other events
> at the school that day and there's no isolation (beyond having the rooms
> themselves).
>
> My first question is whether or not my contract requires us to allow minors;
> the section that I'm concerned about is:
> 6. Limitations of Use.
> A. The User must:
> ...
> 7. ... The User must keep the program or activity open to the public as
> required by State law, and must not discriminate on the basis of race,
> color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, marital status,
> disability, or sexual orientation.
>
> The full text of the contract can be found at:
> http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/cupf/documents/agreement.htm
>
> I wrote the office (CUPF - Community Use of Public Facilities) that handled
> my request to use the school's facilities, and their response was:
> "... It is important to note, however, that per guidelines of our parent
> Board, the Interagency Coordinating Board (ICB), all events scheduled in
> public facilities must be open to the public, so it is not permissible to
> 'ban' minors from your event, so long as it is held in a public school
> setting. ..."
>
> Their general web site can be found at:
> http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cuptmpl.asp?url=/content/cupf/index.asp
>
> Currently, I am following that instruction; there is no mention of age in
> the promotional materials, etc.
>
> This brings me to my second query: what recommendations to you have with
> regards to the content, given that minors may be present? My current plan is
> to encourage presenters to largely steer clear of material covered under
> Maryland Code, Criminal Law, Title 11. Indecency and Obscenity.
>
> I realize that avoiding descriptions of sexual conduct and sexual excitement
> is problematic when discussing the topics that the unconference is about; my
> hope is to minimize the amount of problematic material and increase the
> chances that the presentations and discussions will be justifiable (e.g.
> educational or artistic).
>
> In relation to this, it's worth noting that the event, in addition to being
> open to the public, is completely free to attend. It has been paid for via
> donations beforehand. I think that helps with Subtitle 1 of Title 11, with
> regards to exhibition and so forth, since no "monetary consideration or
> other valuable commodity or service" is received.
>
> I have no expertise in these matters, but I was hoping that someone at the
> NCSF might be able to offer at least some informal answers to my questions.
> I'm also interested in recommendations for others to send these questions
> to.
>
> Thank you in advance for any help,
> -Nikolas Coukouma

To SMYAL:
On Tue, Oct 13, 2009 at 10:46 PM, <at...@atrus.org> wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm writing to seek advice on a couple matters for an event that I'm
> organizing. It's an unconference called "KinkForAll", a day of presentations
> and discussions about sexuality, gender, sexual freedom, and sexual
> diversity. Instances of KinkForAll in other cities have had a strong,
> visible showing from the BDSM community in particular, with LGBT coming in
> second (in my estimation). More information about KinkForAll can be found on
> the wiki:
> http://kinkforall.pbworks.com/
>
> The currently chosen venue for the DC event is Bethesda-Chevy Chase High
> School, in Montgomery County, Maryland. I chose it simply because it offered
> a lot of metro accessible space at a low price, but it has the side effect
> of making the presence of minors fairly likely; there will be other events
> at the school that day and there's no isolation (beyond having the rooms
> themselves).
>
> I was wondering if you have any suggestion with regards to the content and
> so forth. I expect the overwhelming majority of the attendees to be adults,
> but I'd like for older teens that might attend to feel safe (at least) and
> comfortable (preferably).
>
> Also, I've had some voice concerns about prosecution for obscenity and the
> like; for that, my current plan is simply to encourage presenters to largely
> steer clear of material covered under Maryland Code, Criminal Law, Title 11.
> Indecency and Obscenity. I realize that avoiding descriptions of sexual
> conduct and sexual excitement is problematic when discussing the topics that
> the unconference is about; my hope is to minimize the amount of problematic
> material and increase the chances that the presentations and discussions
> will be justifiable (e.g. educational or artistic).
>
> Thanks in advance for any help,
> -Nikolas Coukouma
signature.asc

maymay

unread,
Oct 14, 2009, 6:05:30 AM10/14/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
On Oct 13, 2009, at 7:04 PM, maymay wrote:

> I encourage you to watch this fantastic video about how young people
> can teach themselves without the presence of adults.
>
> http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_shows_how_kids_teach_themselves.html
>
> Perhaps this video will explain why adults are not necessary for
> young people to learn things, which might be interesting to you.

I just came across this additional video from Alison Gopnik, Ph.D. in
developmental psychology, which might also be interesting to anyone
following this thread.

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/251996/october-07-2009/alison-gopnik

An excerpt:

"You don't need to be able to do the things that are really important
to us as grown ups…to be a great creative learner, to actually figure
out everything that's going on in the world around you. And what we've
discovered in the last 30 years through the science of developmental
psychology is that even the youngest babies already know more, learn
more, are more conscious, are even more moral than we ever would have
thought.
[…]
"What all of us grown ups have forgotten is just how much there is to
find out and learn about the world. So we think that babies…can
imagine more new possibilities. One of the things that I say: it's
like caterpillars and butterflies, except [youth are] the butterflies,
they're the ones who're exploring the whole world, and we're the
caterpillars who are just restricted to the narrow things we need to
do to get through the day."

(Skip to 57 seconds into the video for the first part, 4 minutes and
13 seconds for the second part.)

I thought this was interesting food for thought and wanted to share.

Sarah Taub

unread,
Oct 14, 2009, 11:44:08 AM10/14/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
Nikolas --
If you don't hear from NCSF in the next few days, let me know -- I have contact information for Ricci Levy, the executive director and could send her a message directly.
warm wishes, Sarah
 
PS For the past few weeks, all of your messages to the KFA googlegroup have come through as attachments rather than in the body of the message.  Just yours, no one else's.  Any ideas, anyone?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 11:40 PM
Subject: [KinkForAll] Re: Minors at KFA

at...@atrus.org

unread,
Oct 14, 2009, 12:41:26 PM10/14/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 11:44 AM, Sarah Taub <sa...@cfnc.us> wrote:
> PS For the past few weeks, all of your messages to the KFA googlegroup have
> come through as attachments rather than in the body of the message.  Just
> yours, no one else's.  Any ideas, anyone?

I'm guessing its an artifact of the way my e-mails are signed (cryptographically) and your mail client. In the clients I use (and the Google Group), I've only seen it displayed as body text with one attachment (signature.asc), but there is some oddness in the way its encoded (MIME type multipart/signed).

Sorry for the inconvenience.
-Nikolas
signature.asc

The Distinguished ...

unread,
Oct 14, 2009, 3:12:44 PM10/14/09
to kinkf...@googlegroups.com
Greetings,

I just want to say "Thank you!" for taking the steps necessary to make
sure we are, as per our charter, complying with all applicable laws. It
saddens me that people might have to avoid descriptions (because, well,
that might be part of their kink, and, look, on one hand opening, and on
the other closing) or limit their talks, but ... what is necessary to
be, needs to be.

Lord Percival

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