International Holocaust Day of Remembrance

On this day, 76 years ago, Soviet troops arrived at the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the world woke up to an unspeakable horror: the Holocaust, the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. The infamous extermination camp still held some 7,000 prisoners, survivors who stood up to tell us what had happened, so it would never happen again. Since 2005, when the UN General Assembly proclaimed 27th January to be International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, today is a day to preserve their memory and keep the truth alive.

During the pandemic, over the last year we have see a huge rise in the amount of hate crime against minorities, including homophobia, transphobia antisemitism and racism. Against a global context of rising antisemitism and increasing levels of disinformation and hate speech, Holocaust education and remembrance is even more urgent, as is the development of an historical literacy to counter repeated attempts to deny and distort the history of the Holocaust.

What can we do to help from within our communities, as part of the European and global fetish community? Whenever you see antisemitism, fascist propoganda and symbolism, racism, homophobia and transphobia in our communities, call it out.

Be prepared to have difficult conversations with people. Especially if you’re an ally and not from within the minority group you’re defending. Don’t let minority groups shoulder all the emotional labour of educating. So be prepared to have conversations with people about these things. Find out the context and meaning they hold for that person, and be prepared to reflect and educate. You can do this compassionately. Sometimes people naively don’t realise the impact and are purely thinking of their own kink context.

And if you wear any symbols or uniform be prepared to examine closely what those symbols and uniforms mean in our communities and their historical context. If you indulge in uniform kink and race play, look at whether what you do is harmful, or whether public symbolism looks racist, antisemitic or fascist. Maybe those symbols mean something different to you. Perhaps they are empowering for you. Your mileage may vary depending on your life experiences, culture and privilege. But please consider what they may look like from the perspective of a Jewish person, or a Person of Colour, and the pain they may cause.

We know many ancient symbols have changed meanings over the centuries, as symbols get usurped and used for a different cause and their historical meaning changes in public perception. If you are in a place to argue semantics about this it’s likely you are not going to be hurt by the symbolism or it’s modern meaning. But to others, with a different lived experience and privilege it may be seen differently. So don’t let your kink love harm others. Think about consent from a bystander perspective, and how triggering those symbols, uniform or play might be to other people. I’m not decrying anyone’s right to indulge in race play or uniform play. I’m not kink shaming or yucking anyone’s yum. But for goodness sake, do the work on it to minimise the harm you could do to others by sharing fascist imagery or this sort of play publicly. And when you see it, call it out. Challenge it. Educate.

Be compassionately controversial ❤️

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