Is the Lifestyle the Next Cancel Culture?

Alternative lifestylers should be the last to embrace a cancel culture mentality.

News broke this week about the COVID outbreak occurring amongst some of the attendees of the Naughty N’awlins event last month. To be totally honest, I was not at all surprised; however, I am taken aback by the backlash from others WITHIN my own community.

As past and future attendees of Naughty N’awlins, and members of their community, Tristan and I received Bob Hannaford’s blog post when it was first released. (Read Bob’s entire blog post here.)

We read a heartfelt, open and honest email about the coronavirus cases that were occurring within the participants at the event. The email described the precautions and policies put in place to help curtail the exposure and/or spread of the virus at the event. It explained the guidelines and procedures that attendees would adhere to, to try to keep themselves and others safe. We understood the remorseful tone of Bob’s words and could hear his sadness as he told of the infections. We saw determination in the commitment to aggressively trace those who may have had contact with anyone who has come forward about contracting the virus. Most importantly, we read a profound and sincere account of the situation and appreciated Bob’s desire to be as transparent as he could about what had happened and what they were doing about it now.

Breaking News

Breaking News - Cancel Culture

Approximately three days after we received the announcement about the corona cases that were developing from the Naughty N’awlins event, we received the first text from a friend with a link to an NBC news article.

A day later, texts from other lifestyle friends across the country with links to their hometown news stations’ reports. Even yesterday, I received a text from a friend asking if I’d heard about the outbreak and checking to see if we had attended the event.

Then I saw it. A post in Reddit commenting on the outbreak. Assuming it was just little more than people saying “have you heard”, I almost didn’t read it. Until I noticed a particularly scathing comment about (and I paraphrase here) the stupidity and greed with which the organizers must have had to put the event on in the first place. I scrolled further, stopping randomly to read whatever comment I landed on. I was shocked, saddened and disappointed by the sheer number of replies condemning Naughty Events for moving forward with Naughty N’awlins.

NOWHERE did I see the first mention or comment in this particular post about the ENDLESS posts I see elsewhere in the Swingers or Non-monogamy subreddits about: people going out on dates to meet new potential playmates, people throwing or attending house parties, people attending OTHER lifestyle events, weekends or attending lifestyle clubs. I did not see the mention of the numerous posts written over the last 9 months about how all people want to do is get back to playing. Those replies may have been there, but if they were, they were buried deep amongst the angry and disparaging comments.

Human Nature or Herd Mentality

I immediately recalled a New York Times article, The Long and Tortured History of Cancel Culture, that I had recently read about the idea, and ideology, of the “cancel culture”. I won’t go much into it here – you can read the above article or any of the others I’ve included below as additional resources – but basically “Cancel Culture” is the hot buzz term for public shaming. Miriam-Webster, the dictionary people, (they have included this term as one of their Words We’re Watching) , define the term as “the removing of support for public figures in response to their objectionable behavior or opinions. This can include boycotts or refusal to promote their work.” Wikipedia defines it as “a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – either online on social media, in the real world, or both”.

The term may be “new” but the behavior behind it is centuries old. Wrap it up any way you want – but it is nothing more than glorified shaming.

What surprised me most was the overall “angry mob mentality” I felt when reading those random comments. Caustic remarks that then turned into personal attacks on political alignments and personal preferences for those who attended. And the assumption that Naughty Events held the event because they are greedy, capitalist assholes (again, I paraphrase).

I felt sad, disappointed, let down and embarrassed by my community.

What Happened to the Golden Rule

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”. My mother always said “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it.”. Or “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”.

I don’t claim to be perfect or to never have said anything unfavorable, nasty or hurtful. However now, later in life, I have chosen to live to embrace my authentic self. I realize, and publicly and openly support the fact, that our community – those who choose to live an alternative lifestyle – should be the first to stand up against shame and this cancel culture mentality. We should be the first to stand up for those who are challenged for doing something different; WE ARE ADVOCATES OF CHOICE.

Attendees Knew the Risks

NO ONE forced anyone to attend Naughty N’awlins. Everyone who went knew the risks.

Attendees received a long list of the protocols and rules they would have to follow (you can read those here). Additionally, they were asked to get tested before they arrived and got information on where and how to get tested for free. Policies for wearing masks were circulated as well as the regulations imposed by the City of New Orleans. They wore wristbands indicating level of exposure/testing status.

If you ask me, Bob and Tess did the best they could with the information they had. They were asked by others to move forward with the event. However, before they decided, according to Bob’s blog, they talked to a top virologist, they communicated with city and state officials as well as the Convention and Visitors Bureau. They advised people who have compromised conditions that they should not attend. They canceled the playrooms. In reading Bob’s article, they appear to have done everything they could to try to have the safest event possible.

We’re All Ready to Get Back to “Normal”

Tristan and I will be the first to admit, we are ready to get back to lifestyle fun. We mention it in practically every episode of our podcast. Like the majority of people around the world, we are tired and bored and long for social interaction. We miss hanging out with friends and playmates; visiting our favorite lifestyle bars and clubs. And we definitely miss our wonderful friends’ house parties! However, we have an extreme awareness that our alternative lifestyle puts us in a high-risk group. We have made choices, tough choices to stay away from crowds. Staying out of public places where it is difficult to maintain social distance. We wear our masks when we go out and we continue to confine ourselves to our social bubble. (Read my previous post about our social bubble). And of course, we’ve stopped all lifestyle activity.

However, these are our CHOICES! No one has forced us to stay home. We haven’t been coerced into going out to bars or ridiculed for wearing our masks. Why would we?

Why would we be criticized for making choices that we feel are best for ourselves, our family, our friends and our even our business? So why would we criticize ANY one else’s choice – especially when their choice does not adversely affect us? I would ask any of those Reddit users – were they personally affected by any of those who attended Naughty N’awlins?

Use hands to send love, not hate.

Be An Advocate of Our Community

Again, I don’t claim to be perfect. No one is. But I humbly and respectfully ask, as a member of a community that is scrutinized, judged, and often misunderstood, that we stand up and support one another. Don’t give others more fuel to throw on their fire. We should support lifestyle businesses when we can. We should be careful not to judge those who made the choice to go to New Orleans for this event. (How would you feel if you went and contracted the virus – would you feel supported by the community?) The lifestyle community, our community, should come together to champion our cause and support our choice to live, love, and act in any ethical and loving manner.

Stay sexy but stay safe! ~ Myrina

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