There is a beautiful saying among the Xhosa tribe in Africa, Ubuntu, that says, “I am, because we are.” Our sense of self is directly related to the depth of our being known, being an integral part of the whole. This philosophy guides my work and my art.
This concept was brought to life for me during my years as an event producer and erotic hostess for The Impropriety Society™.
At the beginning of 2008 I leapt into a creative and emotional adventure by agreeing to co-lead an all volunteer sex positive organization that produced erotic parties and educational events. That seemingly little “yes” turned my world upside down in all the of the best ways.
When we started The Impropriety Society™, my two partners and I really had no idea what we were getting into. As one of my partners would repeatedly lament, we just wanted to throw fun sexy parties. But because there is so much shame in sexuality, we were called to do more. Deep questions around inclusion and belonging came to the surface regularly. Early on, as we faced complex emotional issues around identity and acceptance with both guests and volunteers, we chose to operate from a set of core values that included love, transparency, holding safe and brave space, and most importantly – radical inclusion.
We practiced radical inclusion with people of different body types; with disabilities, chronic illnesses, behavioral issues and mental health challenges; people with unusual and taboo interests; single men who were perceived as “creepy” (which usually translates to someone who is socially awkward and/or insecure); and even people who publicly attacked us (it’s amazing how you can disarm people through love and transparency).
We were told over and over again that people were transformed by our events and our community. We had women who are fat find their fierce sexiness. We had people who are genderqueer feel comfortable expressing themselves in public for the first time. We had people who felt incredibly alone in their kinky interests find not only acceptance, but celebration of their authenticity (everyone loves the Furries on the dance floor!). We had people with deep wounds around sexuality who were healed through consensual interactions. We even had people attend who weren’t interested in sex, but simply wanted to be in an environment where everyone felt free and connected. People became whole because they were known for their truth and beauty.
There was no Other. When the community gathered, everyone was part of the tribe.
Now that I’ve witnessed and experienced the power of a culture of radical inclusion, I am passionate about taking this work into the greater world. This is the work of my heart.
I also do this work because I don’t fit in a culture that demands repression of self and oppression of others to belong, a culture that thrives on exclusion. I am tired of making exchanges for belonging.
I believe radical inclusion is a path to positive change between individuals and collectives. Radical inclusion is when we welcome and respect the stranger, no matter how they are different from us. When we are radically inclusive, there is no “other.”
Radical inclusion is my spiritual practice. It took me 20 years to see that everything I’ve done in my life is based in trying find my belonging and create belonging for others. I often created what I was longing for and now it’s time to do so again by working with you and the communities you lead.
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Some of the Thank You cards we received at our last event: