Kitty Stryker is a writer, activist and authority on developing a consent culture in alternative communities. She is the author of "Ask: Building Consent Culture" and tours educating people about the many ways consent impacts our daily lives.
“The idea that people owe other people a certain type of communication style also seems ineffectual and problematic. I feel that in a consent culture, it’s vital that people don’t feel pushed to “owe” each other anything outside of respect for each other’s autonomy. I don’t think that demanding people be coerced into interacting with people they don’t want to is a sensible or desirable alternative.”
“Activist, sex worker, lecturer, Juggalo, editor and writer Kitty Stryker has no shortage of interests and no trouble staying busy. Already a widely-published journalist and essayist, her new book Ask: Building Consent Culture, shows that she’s also no stranger to excellent timing. The anthology features work from other activist writers, including Carol Queen and Virgie Tovar. Kitty brings her effervescent personality to the GrottoPod this week to discuss her unique life and outlook — and equally unique approach to a book tour.”
I talk a lot about consent culture and the world of polyamory, or BDSM. But it’s also very relevant in other areas of our society – like this piece on covering a protest in an ethical way.
“The police have actively collaborated with the alt-right to identify and harass protesters — often using your coverage.
So, as a journalist too, while yes, I have a right to photograph people in a public space, I know ethically that it is actively dangerous to marginalized people. Sometimes exercising your rights is not the ethical thing to do. Personally, I now know to ask before I take a photo, never release photos of a crowd where people can be identified, and be prepared to answer to people who are understandably concerned about my intentions.”
“Kitty Stryker is aiming to start a conversation we should already be having and to push the idea of consent forward with her book, “Ask: Building Consent Culture.” Covering the idea of consent everywhere from in the bedroom to out in the community and places in between, Ms. Stryker’s book is a striking anthology of consent and how it should ideally function throughout today’s society.”
Laurie Handlers from the podcast Sex and Happiness sat down and talked to me about consent culture, privilege, the BDSM community and how we talk about consent. We have a really good chat about power dynamics and how that affects who gets to talk about consent violations and who doesn’t, which is complex!
“‘Bachelor in Paradise’, a show that revolves around getting a bunch of heterosexual folks drunk and encouraging them to awkwardly hook up to prevent being kicked off, seems like it’s always been a fertile ground for consent violations. The alcohol is free and plentiful, and sexual behaviour is what can keep you in the camera’s spotlight… not only saving you from elimination, but ensuring you get that valuable screen time. From the season I watched, I could name multiple instances where I would expect the intoxication levels of the couple to be considered legally problematic for consent. It made me wonder why the producers and crew, knowing that this was a festering petri dish of rape culture, would not have considered the legal repercussions of filming potential sexual assaults under the influence without intervening.”
“The BDSM community has always put itself forward as at the forefront of consent education. “Safe Sane and Consensual”, we say. “Ask first!”
But the reality is that abuse and consent violations happen within this community, as it does with every community. Rape culture is a problem literally everywhere. In the 6 years I’ve been doing consent activist work, I’ve found that change is coming in addressing these issues… but it’s slow work.
Still, you don’t have to wait for community leaders to guide you — community members can take on that labor too!”
Karen Pollock from The Queerness interviewed me about “Ask: Building Consent Culture”, quizzed me on what a consent culture would look like, and gave me the opportunity to explain why a sex worker is the perfect person to teach people about consent.
Koti Dory from the radio show “Sex, Drugs, and How We Roll” and I reconnect after a few years to talk about the book, how it came together, the voices that came together to make it and the ideas it brings forth. We chat a bunch about actively working to create culture and the sort of world that we want to live in. Then, get into the tough work of people living in community and learning to be good to each other – even when they’re juggalos. Not kidding.
“Every time I go to a Pride event, at least one of the following 5 things happens:
Someone (usually a gay man or a straight girl) grabs my breasts or costume without asking
Someone takes a sneaky photo without my consent or knowledge
Someone tries to offer me something dosed without letting me know upfront
Someone loudly interrupts a conversation I’m having (almost always with another queer femme) to center themselves in a desperate bid for attention
Someone will attempt to use their inebriation as an excuse for crossing my boundaries
I want to acknowledge that it is not just heterosexual allies who do these pushy, entitled things, but fellow queer folks. From talking to my friends, it seems it’s sunk into the common consciousness as just something one has to tolerate to be in those spaces. I think that’s absurd, and I wanted to offer a quick and easy guide on how to perpetuate consent culture in these spaces so everyone can celebrate and feel safe.”