There seems to be some confusion in the local kink community about the concept of ‘tolerance’. Dictionary.com defines it as:
2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.
3. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one’s own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.
Or, as we say in the kink community ‘your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay’. What this means is that while some of us are squicked or outright triggered by some kinks, we do not demand that no-one practice those kinks at a party we happen to be at. If we choose to attend play parties, we do so with the understanding that we may be exposed to play that we are personally uncomfortable with. If that happens, we look away, leave the room, or perhaps leave the party entirely if we’re particularly bothered by what’s happening on the play floor.
What tolerance does NOT mean is that I have any obligation to participate in your chosen kink. Tolerance does NOT mean that you get to play anywhere you like with no regard for the people around you, either.
To use an example from my local community, there has recently been some controversy about whether we should start having birthday spankings at munches again. Apparently it’s intolerant of my friends and me to oppose coercive group scenes at events that are supposed to be a safe place for newbies to meet other kinky people. It’s fine and dandy, however, to tell people like me to not come to a munch if I don’t want to be pressured to be part of a group scene.
Clearly my right not to be part of a group scene (even if I’m just spectating, I’m part of the scene whether I want to be or not) is less important than the birthday spankers ability to have a scene at a munch instead of at a play party where it would be appropriate. Not to mention the fact that we have our munches in full view of the other patrons in the one LGBTQ friendly pub in the city. Who the hell are we to tell queer people that oh, by the way, your safe space isn’t safe today?
If we want tolerance for ourselves, we have to be tolerant of other people too. If we want to be welcome in the pub where we have our munches, we need not to be assholes to the other patrons. Tolerance in the form of basic courtesy lets us all share the space.
Speaking of courtesy, asking people to play at play parties and not munches is no more intolerant than asking people to keep needle scenes toward the back of the play floor. Needles are a particularly common phobia, and choosing to play with them where that scene will be obscured by other players and equipment is a simple courtesy that makes it easier for needle-players and needle-phobics to enjoy the same party. By contrast, what would actually be intolerant is if needle-play were completely banned at all kink events. What would also be intolerant is insisting on having your needle scene at the very front edge of the play floor, so that every time someone enters or leaves the party they have to walk right past your needle scene. That would be extremely intolerant of other people’s right to choose what scenes they watch closely and what scenes they turn away from.
Asking people to be courteous is not the same as being intolerant. If I ask you not to masturbate in public, I am not being intolerant of your right to masturbate (and doing whatever you want with your own body is in fact a basic human right). I’m just asking you to respect my right not to be involved in your sex act. If you insist that jerking off at the dinner table is perfectly fine and I should just look away if I don’t like it, I’m afraid you’re the one who is being intolerant. There is an appropriate time and place for both spanking and masturbation, and that time and place is NOT at a public munch.
There is a word for trying to force your scene into a munch over the objections of multiple people, and it isn’t tolerance, it’s bullying.