© Michele Serchuk 2004 (cropped for this blog).
As noted by the copyright, this photo was taken over a decade ago, when I was carefree about my sexual image. I have cropped the top of the image to present it here. I wish that I could still be completely out in all areas of my life, but our social and political world is not ready for a mother of two young girls to also be a sexualized, dominant woman with sadomasochistic inclinations. While I am careful to link my image now to overt sexual images, I refuse to cower. I had a stalker that once littered a non-kink public business space with images of my kink life, but luckily, I had the emotional support to face that violation with affirmation and take power away from that attack. Yes, I am a pervert. Kink is my orientation.
Discretion and the right to privacy versus the need to be out and honest is an ongoing topic amongst my colleagues in the kink community and fetish industry. I don't condemn kinksters from adopting alias names or professional dominatrixes for hiding their face in their websites--it's the safe thing to do. I don't condemn clients for hiding their kink explorations from their primary partners. There are parts of ourselves that we all keep secret from our partners.
Being out about any part of our identity is a privilege not an obligation. I understand my privilege and hope to use it as a way to encourage affirmation, not judgement.
The full image that Michele Serchuk took of me so many years ago lives on and I am glad that it does. The complete photo will be seen at the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival. So make a trip to the West Coast and enjoy!