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A work (& play)shop in Kolkata on 26 August 2012

Baby Dyke

30 Aug 2012

The first workshop organised by the Kinky Collective in Kolkata was a grand success!

All those who had confirmed reached the venue in time and we could start the workshop exactly at 1100. Along with the members who attended the workshop we also had a mental health professional [RB] who was kind enough to take a day out from her busy schedule to be with us.

After the introductions, JW gave a brief synopsis of all that had been discussed in the earlier workshops in Kolkata and the mantle was handed over to KRL to deal with the next part.

KRL floated the question to the participants that why are they into kink. Before she could elucidate her query, KS interrupted and clearly stated that he was not into kink but into BDSM. We paused and discussed the distinction between the two. JW explained that kink is the larger umbrella and BDSM, amongst others, is a practice under it. KRL further asked the participants to state what the issues related to the subject were and what was the necessity of bringing that issue out in the open or making it public.

In the replies TBC stated, and majority agreed, that everyone is into kink, but they fail to identify their activities as kink. KRL encouraged the interaction by asking why it was necessary to identify, what the need was of labelling an activity as kink when someone doing it was happy not knowing about its name. TBC replied that it was necessary to identify it so that you can speak about it to your partners and take care of the safety bits.

The difficulty faced in introducing partners to kink was also discussed. DS, while referring to a T.V programme, mentioned how the taboo around an act can create problems. SB stated that we don’t want to be called perverts and spreading awareness is required. SS, in his reply, said that every person has a story and he, in his most enthusiastic manner shared his story with us. AG felt that labelling wasn’t necessary and DJ agreed to that. VK and KS very briefly shared their views by agreeing to the argument that there is a kink in every act.

We had a brief discussion on the meaning of the word ‘kink’. JW shared his story and said he never entered kink but from very childhood was into kink. It is only that when internet came, he came to know of the labels. He emphasised that labelling was only necessary to identify but not to compartmentalize. RB explained how disseminating information about kink can help us fight a label; the label that a kinky person is pathological and needs treatment.

She explained how many religions in our society have tried controlling the seat of pleasure. First the clitoris and testis were removed to solve the ‘problem’. But slowly it transpired that the ‘problem’ was in the mind. That is where psychiatry stepped in.

She explained that we must not confuse the brain with the mind. Brain is a part of the body whereas the mind is intangible and can’t be specifically located. She said that till date it has not been possible to identify all chemical reactions in the brain and associate them with specific functions. She also pointed out the danger of such an attempt. She went on to explain how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) has progressed and how the term ‘perversion’ has been replaced by ‘paraphilia’. She explained to us that ‘para’ means ‘by the side’ and ‘philia’ is ‘something you like’. DSM-5 which is to be published in 2013 has differentiated ‘Paraphilia’ and ‘Paraphilic disorder’. She also informed us why a discussion on kink is required to be held with the mental health professionals. She clearly stated how psychiatry normalises certain set of behaviour thereby pathologizing another set. However, the ray of hope was that psychiatry/psychology is moving, though slowly, towards a better understanding of human nature.

Post lunch we had a film show, “Preaching to the Perverted” followed by a discussion on the different nuances depicted in the film. We do not want to disclose the plot and ruin your pleasure of viewing it. KRL didn’t like the movie and she said so. That gave rise to another round of intense discussion amongst the members. KRL stated that she found the conformity to hetero-normativity in the film problematic. JW pointed out that every act which apparently conforms to hetero-normativity might not actually be so. It might also be an individual preference which shouldn’t be suppressed due to the fear of conforming to hetero-normativity.

Due to shortage of time, we had to cancel the demo session. The venue was provided by JW. The logistics were handled by DJ and TBC.


A proposal was floated by KS to have a future workshop where the participants can bring a friend who is not in the kinky social networking site or not into kink. A suggestion was also given for holding a 2 day workshop. The fact that there was a 100% attendance and all were in time was appreciated by all.

A little more interactive session was desired. This time it was more talking and less introspection.

It was stated that before taking the cause to the outer world, we need to prepare and educate ourselves more. The best part was having the psychiatrist with us. It was a bridge building between the kink community and the Indian mental health professionals. Another first in India!