Dear friends + family,
As you may have seen, I am currently involved with a project called Mercy, Mistress.
Mercy, Mistress is a web series based on the memoirs of my friend, a queer Chinese American dominatrix in New York City. The goal of this project is to remove some of the stigma and shame that surround sex work and kink sexuality through the lens of one woman's work. This is NOT 50 Shades of Grey.
I am so grateful to be a part of Mercy, Mistress and I wanted to personally share with you why I believe wholeheartedly in this project.
First, Mercy, Mistress is made by a team of primarily women - queer women, women of color. And if it wasn't clear already that we need media made by people other than the reigning voice, it is now.
Second, as I’ve met more of the kink community and attended events and performances, I have had all of my assumptions checked about the world of BDSM (which I knew very little about). In each space, I have felt safe and respected, welcomed and supported. Yes, I've heard whips crack. I've also heard laughter. And joy. What I've discovered is a warm community, people across the spectrums of age, gender, ethnicity, ability, and identity, who embrace (rather than repress!) the complexity of their sexuality through careful, thoughtful and consensual exploration.
Direct and ongoing communication and clear and continued consent is the heart of this exploration. It’s necessary for physical, emotional and psychological safety. And it’s happening constantly - it’s not just about saying yes, it’s about saying yes over and over again, not making assumptions and clearly communicating. What radical ideas! I think about the script we’ve been handed about "normal" sex, a script that is hetero/cis-normative and constantly makes assumptions. Could the straight, cis and “vanilla” learn something from the kinky? Could we rewrite that script together, a script that values ALL of us, in all of our complicated humanness?
Speaking of complicated humanness, I came out as queer _ years ago. I came out when I had my first kiss. I came out 5 years ago to a partner. I came out 3 years ago to a small group of friends in Brooklyn. I came out 2 years ago to my family. I came out last year on social media.
When I discovered the word queer... and then when I realized I could claim it for myself (!), it felt like coming home.
For me, queer means that my own gender and sexual identity is masculine and feminine and things in between. It means that I am attracted to people who identify as women, or as men, or as fluid. It means that whats normative doesn't work for me. I’m not “experimenting”. I’m not in a phase. And I’m not confused. Identifying as queer has made me feel more authentic, more confident and more true to myself than I've ever been before.
I wish that we lived in world where everyone could find this home for themselves without fear. I wish that we could embrace and examine the fluid, complex and evolving spectrum of who we are rather than repressing and shaming it. If we did this, we just might be able to better connect with and support one another.
This is why Mercy, Mistress feels like big steps in the right direction. And why it was an easy YES for me.
Without any pressure at all, we are asking for monetary donations as we are a grassroots project raising funds and building community through a crowdfunding campaign. We will use this money to hire a team and rent equipment and space to create the pilot episode which we will then use to secure funding for the full series. If that's possible for you, if something resonates, that's awesome and generous. And to those of you have already donated, thank you a million times. If not, that's awesome too because you read this far and that's generous!
Most importantly, thank you for giving me space to share with you.
Lastly, if you are in New York, we're having a party next Friday!