Our community is not perfect, but no community is. I always have high hopes for progress and equality for everyone. There are a lot of people in this community, luckily not a majority that discriminate towards other pups that don't fit their mould of what pup play is, whether be telling people they can’t be a dominant pup or saying people can’t be a pup if they have any kind of mental health issues, I could continue the list I’m sure for a long time.
What I want to address, though, is a much subtler form of discrimination. Discrimination by inaction.
A common one is competitions. Are you a social outgoing pup? Awesome. Are you a private pup? Sweet as! Are you a gear pup? Good on ya. Are you a nude pup? Woohoo! BDSM pup? *salutes* Sexual or Social Only? *huggles* But... competitions?
I am seeing some very vocal people who go "I believe that pups shouldn't have competitions, so I refuse to support competitions," without realising that this also discriminates. They expect none of us to be competitive but we’re still human, I'm sure you can’t forget that! And there isn't just one kind of competition, from popularity, to gear, to behaviour, to enabling role models, every topic pointed out earlier and MORE and this proves that no form of competition is superior as there is so many different kinds.
Don't like competitions? By all means, don't compete, that much is simple. But if you want the community to support each other, go to the events. If you want to support diversity, support people in the community who are not the same kind of pup or handler you are. Supporting each other will bring unity, and unity will bring us closer.
Attending a competition event weekend is not solely about the competition. There are many that hold moshes, workshops, social events, small events, large events. By withholding support or boycotting diverse events, they’re doing much more than just disadvantaging competitive pups and handlers but denying the opportunity for others to learn and be inspired by elements of THEIR pup play style which promoted diversity in the community.
The people who are looked up to in the community should always strive to do better about this. Down here in Australia, we are not special. We have good people with good leaders and toxic people following toxic leaders, and toxic people tend to use this promotion of inaction to fuel their discrimination, using silence from individuals and groups to continue to disadvantage, devalue and marginalise other people in the community, trying to use the void of written legally proven evidence against them to still judge people negatively. But truth always comes out in the end and in society actions are seen and talked about, whether to promote or to warn people.
I am tired of communities excusing discrimination. Unity gives strength, and we can unify under diversity as other groups in the community have, which shows we can too! So if you want to have a happier, healthier family of pups and handlers, go to not only your friends events but those of the greater community and be a rock for them so they can be a rock of support for you too.
Tips to Fight Discrimination
Want to do more for the community or just be a better pup/handler in general? here is some ideas:
- Learn the difference between slander and warnings: - A toxic ex/ person will spread rumors to hurt people. Tend to have only one and probably mysterious "evidence", a good leader will warn people to keep people and those new to the community safe and it wont be just one person or "grapevine" sourced either.
[box] An example of this is: An ex of mine started spreading the rumor that I was stealing and using steroids from someone else in the community who has a history of manipulating people and misrepresenting the community to use his position in society to push his personal agenda. While people who know me instantly laugh at this with my futile attempts of growing facial hair and frame. While this slander has lead to the point of almost using legal action and publicly releasing my testosterone blood results in a way that no one should need to go through just because of one toxic person. Lesson to the story? This is what slander looks like.[/box] [box] Another example is recently in the community a name reappeared that has a history of getting pups and handlers personal information and using it to out them to their employers, destroying their livelihoods. The community banded together, with many leaders in the community outing him and warning people to steer clear. With his past victims have been documented and helped. Lesson to the story? This is what a warning looks like.[/box]
- Learn the difference between warnings and discrimination: - Discrimination tends to use general stereotypes that can affect many people, warnings tends to use specifics facts.
[box]Deciding to avoid someone because of how they keep hurting people is a warning. Avoiding competitions because you think pups shouldn't compete is discrimination towards all pups with a competitive nature, or want to use it as a way to do more for the community.[/box]
- Don't feed the trolls: - Unless someone is toxic and causing harm/abuse to a person, don't fan the flames by calling out everyone or everything that you hear, do your own research and find people in the community you can trust to help you out.
- Support others: - Standing next to someone doesn't mean you support them. Helping them is supporting them. If you find yourself wanting to be active, be active, put your hand out and people legitimately wanting help will accept your help.