We have reached a Trump vs Clinton point in the Puppy Community. What I mean about that is we have a disagreement between 2 sides of the community and both have entrenched themselves and I have seen more than a few that rather than just take this as we are all different with different likes, kinks, desires etc, it’s seen as we are right and you are wrong. That topic is simply for some puppy is sexual while for some it’s non-sexual.
I have always said that being a puppy is not cookie cutter and the same for everyone, instead it’s like jello, conforming to those involved and what and how they want things. There IS room in puppy for the entire spectrum is sexual to non-sexual pups, just as there IS room for pups that want to be totally open to play with anyone and don’t want a Handler, to those that want a monogamous relationship with an Owner/Handler. Even to go as far as those that that love the events and contest and those that want nothing to do with them.
Right now, the community is it’s own worst enemy. Instead of agreeing to disagree or just accepting that what’s right for you might not be right from someone else, it’s come to fire fights, shaming, name calling and worse. I have seen those I call friends become as hostile toward each other as the Trump and Clinton supporters. We need to find the center and common ground again.
I have seen the calling for more panels and events that are of a more sexual discussion to more play parties and those that still want to keep things more education oriented. If you don’t like that the things that are out there aren’t the way you want, get out there and do something about it. If you want things sexual, plan something that would make you happy and invite others. But don’t come down on those that are on the other end of the spectrum because it’s not what you want.
How can we as a community stop the negativity and turn it to something constructive? How can we stop the shaming from BOTH sides and get back to enjoying the Puppy Community?
JL: I'll answer the questions asked in a moment but want to provide some context about myself as a pup first: I am a nonsexual pup when in pupspace but I have and will continue to play with pups who are sexual in that headspace. I acknowledge my responsibility to set boundaries and make those boundaries clear to others. Outside of pupspace but still in gear then yeah sure if I'm interested in that person then let's see what happens. A lot of how to get people to a place that they want to listen is for both sides to feel they are being seen and heard. Which means reading/listening for intent instead of what our knee-jerk response might be. Carefully choosing our words also helps but ultimately if people don't want to do it we can't make them and that is the hardest part. I think airing grievances on both sides might help with the not understanding each other part of the problem but we still should aim for being civil about it.
JL: I had more time to think about this so here are some examples from both sides that do not help: I have seen pups being told that even though they are nonsexual pups that all pup play is sexual.
PS: Keep your snout in your own yard.... it's not anyone's place to chime in on anyone else's relationship/s
YW: As a new pup that is not very active in community, my input might be a bit vague. here is my share of discussion. For politics, I think it is more as a opinion. Some time I will briefly sure my view, if I see a friend that doesn't seems like the type that will hostility criticize my view immediately. Whether continue the discussion depended on the other person's input and attitude. Especially sensitive subject such as politic, my primary goal is usual share knowledge, logic and concept. It's a way to learn the matter as well as person in conversation. I am just getting use to express myself in local pup event. As far as for sexual pup event, I am not against it at all. But I kinda also wonder all the risk factor, not just STD but more about legality. Since Dane Christian mentioned about private event or private room. I think it's a nice middle ground. I think this is more of plausible route. One, it reduced the safe and legality concern of public setting provider such as bar. Second the group will likely to be small with well known connection. This reduce the amount of crowd control and background check needed. But still include the thrill of new playmate with a bit of familiarity.
JC: When I teach Puppy101 classes, I always introduce Pup Play as "the chili or gumbo of the kink world: everybody has their own recipe and everybody is convinced theirs is best." There are only three rules all Pup Play must follow: keep it safe, sane, and consensual. What that looks like from Pup to Pup may vary just like how spicy somebody's chili has to be before you call it too hot, but that's part of the beauty of this form of self-expression.
PS: The problem is that people are NOT open minded. As a conservative (third party, non Trump voter) the discrimination I receive I ALWAYS, ALWAYS from the self proclaimed, "open minded" and "tolerant" leftist. I have never in my life received discrimination for being gay from a conservative that I can at least recall. On the other hand I am afraid to tell gay friends I am conservative. That is a far more scary coming out to me than telling someone that I'm gay. People of all ideologies need to be open to debate, but willing to actually debate, and not shout down the other side into submission. Doing exactly that is what gave Trump the white house, and *in my personal experience so far* that has always come from a hillary or like minded supporter. If you want to have a discussion, most people are up for that. I always am. But the second you start shouting others down without listening it turns them off to anything they say. It goes back to the old addage, treat people how you want yo be treated.
DB: How can we stop? Just stop. Don't be negative and don't shame. If you see someone being negative and shaming then call them out, as it's up to all of us to do so. If you have something critical to say then make it constructive not destructive. There's really nothing else beyond this that can be done. We have to watch our own words and the words of our brothers. If we just do whatever, say whatever, and look the other way when others do the same then we don't have a community anymore; we have an amalgam of people grouped together for like interests.
MS: I appreciate you calling this out. If you feel strongly about your perspective, having more sexual events, want more workshops, want pansexual moshes, want non gear events, want a bowling league or a gaming group, GET INVOLVED. Whatever you want, a good PAH group is here to support you and help you succeed. We need your heart and passion for the ideas you have. That is the goal Chicago Puppy Patrol has in mind, and how we have so much diversity in our events. I say it often, and loudly, be the change you want to see. I'm on the board of the Chicago Puppy Patrol. I got involved because I saw issues, and a lot of burnout from the 2 founding members who were doing everything themselves. I brought new ideas, and they supported me. Now I'm getting tired from all the work I've done in 2 years. We need new faces, fresh ideas, and excited pups to keep going. THAT is how you build a community, and hiding behind your laptop screen bitching isn't going to change a damn thing. When you're a leader in this community you quickly learn you can't make everyone happy every time. You're going to make friends, but you'll also have enemies. You'll get accused of a great many things, and people will take you fore-granted. You learn to ignore the fighting because it's irrelevant to be honest. The people that give a shit will do something about it, the people that are bored with their lives will continue trashing everyone elses contributions.
EC: I'd rather see this topic than one that is happening in my local group trying to make pup play exclusive by defining who's a real pup and who is co-opting pup "culture"
DC: I'm happy someone from The Furry Community/ Fandom has said this. I too am the same way. I don't lie and cover it up. I admit it is out there but not a lot of people are into it and there are some who are
EC: A really well made documentary on the Furry Community was made this year called Fursonas. In it are a few members who give their thoughts on the fandom, what it means to them, and where it's going. But best of all, Uncle Kage is a part of it. He was asked to be a part of it, however he demanded to have final cut of the film. Instead, the director used with permission videos of his con panels since Kage answers everything in those in full. The tag line is: "Like any community, the Furry world is one with gossipers, dreamers, followers, whistleblowers and the one guy who wants to rule them all." What's amazing is this film manages to make Boomer the Dog the hero, and show Kage for who he is, without taking him out of context.
AD: I can definitely attest to this. As a kinksters, my interest in the furry culture and fursuiters was almost exclusively "yiffy", but holy hell some of the backlash I got for expresses my desires..... drove me right back out! Fortunately, I have found a few to fill my circle and that appreciate while furries and suits are a big kink of mine, I have no other interest in participating further
PR: Furry for a long while myself! Uncle Kage has a closet full of kinky secrets! I find if funny he acts to anti-sex. I have been director of the Mephit Fur Meet and we have had an attitude of pro-sex. !0 years ago we were doing safe sex panels and there was such an uproar because gasp sex in Furry. We proudly have some great afterdark/kink/puppy panels. Proudly the first con to do it
FR: There are many reasons why i have distanced myself from the furry scene and one of em is pretty much said in these comments
TH: I'm going to go out on a limb here... Part of the problem is that society in general has gotten into this "it's all about ME" mentality to the point where anything that doesn't reinforce that concept is either disregarded or - even worse - seen as an attack. Truth is, it's an unhealthy mindset, and it's been undermining communities for a long time. Another pitfall is so many want to get something but don't want to give. More to the point, we all want certain types of events that meet how we approach pup play, but it's a smaller percentage willing to put in the effort and time to make those things happen (and I'll grant not everyone has the time or resources). Consequently, we end up with a narrower availability of what's out there. Then it follows that people feel left out. The first step toward getting beyond this point is we all have to look at ourselves. It's easy to look outward and cast blame, but the solution lies with each of us taking ourselves beyond all this negativity.
DS: So often we humans think there is only one way things must be. In reality there are many good, and some bad, paths. Recognizing the diversity of the community and encouraging all to fully participate will make the community the best it can be. This doesn't mean every activity, or even group has to be, or could be, all things to all pups/animals. It does mean that looking down on someone because they do or don't have sex as a pup, or are female or trans, or are a cat... It means going out of your way to encourage and including them because you are far more alike than different. Exclusion isn't that it is "not my thing" it is both elitist and judgemental - and if I may be a bit opinionated, makes your attitude the same as those that murdered Matthew Shepard and James Byrd. We are better than that, I hope, trust, and believe.
MC: All i will say is that there is room for everyone. As a pup i myself like both the sexual and nonsexual aspects of puppy play. and i find joy in all aspects of puppy and understand how each can enrich a pups life. There truly is no correct way to do puppy play. just be sure that all common sense safety rules (or protocol as i like to call it for a more appealing word) are heeded and followed and everyone should have a safe and fun experience with it. There is nothing better than a pup who can be him or herself. Especially in an accepting community. This puppy politics isnt working. its really not. looks like it's time to go back to the basics and learn to appreciate what we have again as a community. Cause as much as i hate to say it all of this could be gone faster than the way it seemed to just pop up out of nowhere. All you have to do is stop and take a look around and see the beauty of it all. Cause although im an introvert so i tend to not express myself like i should i will say that i believe in this community. This family. The question is do you?....ill leave it at that.
DM: This is a great discussion. It's ironic because i hadn't seen it but I just started a private group for gay men who are into the sexual side of puppy play. What I've found is that people I know who are into the sexual side of pup play are cool with those who don't, and nobody wants to force something onto someone who doesn't want it, especially when it comes to sex or sexual activity. However, I've often come under fire from individuals who see pup play as totally non-sexual, often insinuating that anything sexual in the pup play realm is somehow shameful and dirty. I'm against slut shaming of any kind, especially in the leather scene.