The RCMP is investigating the conduct of one of its officers who posted pictures of himself on a fetish website. The most shocking aspect of the story is not the photos, though, but the fact that people are outraged by them.
The media, instead of questioning the legitimacy of the claims made against the officer, grants almost all of its resources to perpetuating lies and misinformation based on long-outdated values.
“I don’t know any woman who’d want to work alongside someone who was into that sort of stuff,” said former RCMP officer Sherry Benson-Podolchuk in a Globe and Mail article. “It raises too many questions. I think it brings the whole force into disrepute. I think he should be gone, no question about it.”
Replace “that sort of stuff” with “gay sex” and we could easily be reading an article from the 1950s. At that time the Canadian government was engaged in a witch hunt for gays in the public service, and they used the latest technology to find them: the dreaded Fruit Machine. (I kid you not.) Suspected public servants—as well as members of the RCMP and military—were made to view gay porn while the machine checked the dilation of their eyes, which would somehow prove arousal. Anyone whose eyes dilated was likely fired.
Of course, the technology was bunk and was eventually cast aside, but the effects of the anti-gay policy sent a chill through queers across the country. The same chill, in fact, that is now being sent through a different group of so-called “sexual deviants”—fetishists.
One essential fact, which should not have to be said half a century after the sexual revolution, is that everything this man did was 100 per cent legal. For those who’ve been whipped into a frenzy, take a breath and think about these following statements:
– engaging in consensual sex is legal—no matter how intense—so long as age requirements are met,
– taking photos of said sex is legal, so long as both parties are above the age of 18, and
– posting said pictures online in a place made for such photos is also perfectly legal.
So, keeping these facts in mind, we should not even be having this discussion. Think about it: a man is having his professional and private life destroyed by moralists who are uncomfortable with what this man does in his private time. These so-called “concerned citizens” feign a desire to protect fellow citizens from “perverts”, but are actually just imposing their Victorian morals on people long-freed from the constraints of that time.
And, it unfortunately needs to be said, at no time was the integrity of the RCMP compromised. You know why? Because there are fetishists everywhere in society—right now—doing their jobs just fine. You know how I know this? Because these people are still employed.
But, this is more than just a legal issue or a privacy issue. This is also an issue of what we stand for as a society. At the heart of the matter, this is not a story about a man in trouble for posting explicit photos online, but, rather, about the behaviour occurring in the photos. But what concern should anyone’s fetish be to anyone else, so long as it falls within the law?
Of course, if you post online, the whole world can see it, but it shouldn’t mean that you sign away your life if you’ve done nothing illegal. These photos were posted during the man’s private time, completely away from his work-related duties, and the photos do not depict the man in RCMP garb. There is no reason for the RCMP to be investigating them or for the media to be reproducing them.
Moralists claim that the man showed “poor judgement” in posting the photos. But how did he show poor judgement? The only thing this man should have expected was possible embarrassment if they were found. Nothing more. In no way should this man have expected to be kink-shamed by Canada’s highest police body and all mainstream media organizations.
When Pierre Elliott Trudeau said that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation, he surely meant more than just the place we sleep. Otherwise, gays wouldn’t be tolerated holding hands or kissing on the street. What he was saying was that all aspects of the private lives of citizens are of no business to anyone else.
If one thing has been made apparent from this debacle, it’s the importance of a loud and proud fetish brigade at Pride each summer. The moral purists among us need to know that these people exist and are a large part of the fabric that make up this eclectic country. But, judging by the mainstream ops pieces this past week on both Pride season and the RCMP “scandal”, it seems there are a lot of minds that need to change.
For example, in the same breath that Barbara Kay in the National Post tells us how much she loves us gays, she also laments the “exhibitionistic priapism [at Pride] that is nothing anyone, gay or straight, should be proud of.”
Her words are the same as those used 50 years ago against gays busting down closets, letting the world know that they’re here and they’re queer. Here’s to hoping fetishists don’t wait another half-century before they can live in peace and bondage.
All photos courtesy of Flickr