Confronting Disability

Recently I've been confronting being blind and how that affects my participation in the kink community. Why now? I’ve never been shy about being blind or asking for help.

That’s true, but I’ve generally minimized how much I think about being blind. I do the things I can do, ask for minor changes, and ignore the rest. That’s 8 parts healthy positive thinking and two parts avoidant behavior. Recently, the stuff I’ve been ignoring has started catching up with me. I’ve realized that without a bit more focus, I wasn’t getting what I needed.

childhood Background

I had the best parents ever. They gave me all sorts of opportunities, and never focused on what I couldn’t do. They never let being blind get in the way. I played at being a doctor, a construction worker, a fireman, a hair dresser—whatever I liked. (Interestingly despite their recent conservative leanings, I was never pushed toward play associated with a particular gender identity.) So, I grew up believing I could do anything and being blind would not get in the way.

In many ways, that was great. I accomplished things people were skeptical I could do. Blind people weren’t supposed to be good at geometry or biology. I aced both classes.

But as a consequence, I had a couple of blind spots in how I approached the world. I am not used to focusing on the things I cannot do.

Recent Realizations

After moving to Denver, I realized that I needed to do something different. I was interacting with people but not really becoming part of the community. As I started to think about it and listen to advice for how to become involved, it became obvious that this was a situation where I could not ignore being blind:

Facing this has been hard. @Lee Harrington was running one of their classes on disability and kink. I’ve been at events before with classes focusing on disability. I had never gone—I have other things to focus on, I thought. I was afraid of how others would react to me. Because like any other minority, one person’s needs are not the same as another’s. Many of the times I’ve tried to work with other blind people, I’ve been told I’m going about being blind all wrong. I use the wrong tools, I shouldn’t be able to do the things I do, and suggesting that others consider the approaches that work for me is somehow ignoring my privilege. Doubtless I do have privilege, even in being blind, and yes I have gone my own way in a lot of respects. Still, my experience reaching out to spaces that were supposed to be safe is that they often haven’t been. Now, I absolutely do trust Lee to create a safe space. But I found that as the class approached, I just didn’t have the emotional energy to be ready for that. Which in its own way was a real wake up call. If I am having trouble facing an issue enough to work on it, then it definitely does need work.

I did go to my first class covering lifestyle and mental health/disability at MSC. It was good, in that it helped me get out of a rut.

Finding my Own way

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m different, and will need to find my own way. The general recommendations we give everyone probably won’t work for me. I’ve tried to stop judging myself by standards set up for people who are sighted. Feeling shame that I’m not good at reading body language will distract me from the successes at reading the energy of a situation. And yes, I’m always going to need more verbal communication than some people.

I’ve also accepted a shift and realized that more of my focus is on M/s and relationships than it is on playing in the dungeon. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a kinky fuck, but I don’t need to judge myself based on how much play I get or on how much interest in play there is. Yes, some of the people I respect in the community do identify their success related to their play. I am not a failure because I don’t live up to someone else’s success metrics. I know that trap, but goddess, even knowing it’s a trap, it is easy to get caught.

So, what is my path? What are the ways I can get involved in the community even if the traditional entry paths aren’t a great fit for me?


I’ve found I am good at participating in discussions. I am articulate; I understand some of the issues that affect M/s, kink, poly, and spiritual; and I can present things in a way that others can connect with. Joining a community through discussions involves balancing being vocal against the humility of sitting back and making sure everyone is heard.


I’ve been teaching on and off for a long time. Now, presenting and putting together classes is becoming a key focus both for me and my vassal. It is a way to reach people and to give back. The trick is to gain sufficient reputation that people will be willing to take a risk on our classes. We taught two classes September 24th; they were well received and we’re applying to other venues and developing additional content.


My vassal and I were sitting at the 2022 Colorado Master/slave contest interviews this spring. After, she turns to me and says “We could do that.” I had been sitting there thinking much the same thing—thinking about how I wished we had an opportunity to share our story with the community, to help others, and to stand in front of the world showing people what our slice of M/s was like. I just didn’t expect my vassal would be open to doing something that public.

I hope we win; we would love to have a chance to serve the community that way. However, even running for the contest is a way that we can get involved in the community. In exchange for submitting to the contest, the judges and some portion of the community agree to listen to what you have to say and vet whether you are in alignment with the community. It’s a way of saying this is our home; we are part of this; we want to give back. If we have valuable things to say and an interesting perspective, people will know that regardless of whether we win. And again, if we are doing our jobs, even during the contest, there will be someone out in the audience touched by what we say, encouraged to reach further than they otherwise would have. After all, that’s what happened to us: we listened to the people at the front of the room and they gave us the courage to try to share our story.

One Heart at a Time

The theme of next year’s Master/slave conference is “One Heart at a Time.” It’s the individual connections that profoundly change people’s lives. It might be a word of encouragement at the right time, seeing someone we can relate to, an answer to a pressing question, or seeing a lived relationship.

I value doing that work. It’s hard because reaching out to people in a crowd is one of the places where eye-contact matters most. I’m approaching this in two ways. I’m co-hosting the Denver Munch. I’m also working as an ambassador at Denver Sanctuary, available to answer questions from new people. The munch is working well. I think there are other people who are filling the role at Sanctuary well enough that it is not a big deal that I’m not being as effective as I like.

What Isn’t Working Great

Writing this post, I realized that I have made much more progress than I at first thought. I think I have made great strides in being more intentional about my disability and how it affects my participation. I still think there are some areas to work through. I think there are still areas where the lack of ability to make eye contact is making it harder for me to connect. I think I need to find better ways to express an openness to deepening a connection. I realize that’s hard for everyone, but I suspect there are cases where the lack of body language is getting in the way. I’m still struggling trying to figure out how I relate to dungeons, public play, and some related things like that. Some of that is related to being blind. Some of that is just general growth, rejecting others’ expectations, and deciding who I want to be.

Participating in discussions of disability and figuring out how active i want to be in thinking about disability issues is still a work in progress. I know I need to face my frustrations and fears and be more involved. Yet I’m not the first member of a marginalized community who wants to focus on themselves and their interests rather than being identified by some attribute of themselves. I want to be more than blind. Yet thinking more about how this affects me has already helped me achieve my goals of involvement.