...The entire kink community, including Kardinal Kink, functions under as much anonymity as possible. Many fear the impact being outed would have on their career and relationships.
Many understand and respect our anonymity, but so few question why it is necessary and what negative impact this legacy of silence has on individuals.
Kardinal Kink is just what it sounds like: a Stanford group for all things kink, and a two-pronged effort to create a support system for Stanford students to safely explore kink and to campaign for the legitimacy of kink.
There seem to be more kink-identified people than queer or LGBT-identified people, but one can major in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and never read an article about kink by someone kink-identified.
There are no resources at Vaden or the LGBT-CRC that address kink. There are no classes on campus that explore kink as anything more than a footnote. This isn’t Stanford’s fault in particular, but rather evidence of a widespread tendency for “legitimate” organizations to not acknowledge kink, for fear of being associated with it.
There is so little research into kink that we hardly even know what demographics it reflects, let alone the problems it faces. One exception, a survey by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, found that a third of kink-identified people, including the heavily closeted, report experiencing discrimination based on their involvement with kink.
More than half of that discrimination came from medical professionals and a quarter from government or police officials, which implies that these much-needed services systematically fall short of serving this population’s needs.
This has a concrete, negative impact: Isolation and a lack of resources puts many newcomers to kink at a high risk of abuse. In turn, there are few resources available for those who have their consent broken in an unconventional circumstance. While the kink community tries to enforce consent and offer resources and medical knowledge to those who need it, it should be the job of the police and relevant professionals.
I am not calling for a large-scale civil rights movement like the gay rights movement, but am asking the local community — Stanford as a university and as a campus — to respect kink as a gender and sexuality minority in academia and in services on campus. Although kink is currently dismissed as an individual’s crazy sexual tastes, it represents a world of enthusiastic consent that encourages you to craft the relationships and live the experiences that truly satisfy you; a world that must function in silence and in isolation.