Quinn Johnson, a trans man long active in the Nashville LGBT community, shares his story of being violated in what he considered a safe space. In the leather and BDSM community, consent is a core value, and it's given much more overt attention than in society at large. Given that, a violation of consent takes on many additional layers.
The first time I met him I was smitten. He was tall, classically handsome, intelligent, and just all around sexy.
We were introduced over IML (International Mr. Leather) weekend. We proceeded to schedule a meet up for drinks. We met at a Chicago bar where I confessed to him I was transgender. He confessed his HIV status. Neither of these things were deal breakers but I did tell him I always choose to have safer penetrative sex by using condoms.
I brought him back to my place, and we engaged in consensual sex with protection. When I woke up, I was being f***ed without a condom. He had woken me up by f***ing me with no protection then proceeded to finish inside me.
I was heartbroken. I had trusted him on multiple levels and been introduced by a mutual friend. He was leather, kinky, good looking, and he hadn’t cared about my trans status.
His being in the leather community was a huge point of trust, as the leather community is supposed to be a family, or a “community” to use the button word common these days. We are supposed to be brothers, sisters, and siblings, who walk lives untraveled by others. Yet, here we are.
Predators in our own community.
He violated my ability to consent by fucking me while I was sleeping, and violated my consent again by not using the protection that we agreed on. Stealthing (the act of non-consensually removing a condom without telling your sex partner) may not seem like rape, but it is.
Stealthing is just another form of rape.
I had trusted him because he identified as leather. I trusted him because of where we met, because we were introduced at IML. He seemed to be a perfect gentleman.
Most of all, I guess I felt lucky that he didn’t mind my trans-status. In a community rampant with transphobia, when you find a safe space to exist, you tend to trust that space completely.
I still feel numb about the incident. I think this is because I was raped in 2008 for the first time, then again in 2013. Both were more overt acts of violence.
With stealthing involved, it’s easy to not begin to process the experience. It was also the first time I was raped while male identified. I do think society pushes a message that men should feel accomplished and grateful if they have sex, so they shouldn’t “whine” about sexual assault or rape.
I genuinely believe there should be more attention paid to sexual harassment and assault in LGBT “safe” spaces. We need to somehow create a system for victims to be heard, seen, and backed.