Consent of the Governed: Gender, Constitution & Kink

Live online panel discussion

Curated by Party Office & After Party Collective

Antiracist, Trans*feminist and anti-caste art and social space Party Office, along with curatorial and performance collective After Party Collective invite artists, organisers and kinksters Khaleb Brooks, Klau Chinche and Jyotsna Siddharth to the “Consent of The Governed: Gender, Constitution & Kink” panel discussion live online via Creamcake’s 3hdTV on October 5. 

In her 1919 autobiography, Rosa Parks: My Story the civil rights activist recalls that, “…the public water fountains in Montgomery had signs that said ‘White’ and ‘Colored’. Like millions of black children, before me and after me, I wondered if ‘White’ water tasted different from ‘Colored’ water. I wanted to know if ‘White’ water was white and if ‘Colored’ water came in different colors”. Jim Crow laws were applied at all public facilities in the 1870s in the former Confederate States of America and in some other US states. This was legislation on racial segregation—with accounts of gender divisions as well—which the country further affirmed when it laid out its “separate but equal” legal doctrine in 1876,  enforcing it until 1965.

“It’s not about bathrooms, just like it was never about water fountains”, a slogan being used in Transgender activism proposes that when as Trans persons we ask for gender-inclusive bathrooms—as not every person seeks recognition in the binary or is safe even if one does—we are seeking to decolonize ourselves from this binary assimilation of bodies and expressions. The rituals that propose femininity and masculinity also lead to structured violence onto figures who perform them religiously, while biological essentialism within gay and ‘feminist’ spaces promote this opression. The signage on toilets signifies privacy for a particular gender, affirming that their safety is important in public facilities; and the bureaucratic document identifies only when you confirm in the available check box.

Article 21 of the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of the government”. This section of the document is commonly referenced when diverse cases towards human rights are brought to ‘democratic’ courts. The “Consent of The Governed” publication series considers subjectivities of kink as an anarchist practice which is able to deconstruct, as well as speak to power, as it essentially thinks of power play as pleasure through consent and negotiation. For the titular panel discussion, Party Office and After Party Collective think collectively about our positionality, desires and relations to the constitutional and legal systems we get placed within and if they affirm us or not. Participants are from different global locations; doing anti-racist work, anti-caste work, organizing and thinking of Trans* rights, feminisms, BDSM, biological agency and more.

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Image by Jon Lucas
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