Disability Awareness on the Kink scene: blindness and visual impairment
This month, the Bark Against team wanted to talk to our readers about awareness for those pets and people in the kink/petplay scene who are visually impaired. And to do this, we have asked our friend Pup Styra, an adorable shiny pup to do a short interview with LatexBourne to describe their experiences as a partially sighted pup in the petplay scene, and how organizers and kinksters can be more inclusive in there events and play, to similar individuals.
Q1. Hello! Please tell our readers a little about yourself!
I’m Styra, a non-binary purple and black latex puppy, using they / them pronouns. I absolutely love the colour purple, adore latex and all it’s benefits (and tribulations), and I’m infatuated with chemistry and rail transport. My Twitter is @Pup_Styra should you want to go exploring! Personality wise, I would like to think I’m fairly easy to get along with, if you can stand the puns, and really do love to get to know people’s passions and interests. A firm part of the LGBTQ+ community, I try to educate and promote understanding of queer issues by setting the right example!
Q2. How did you become interested in petplay/puppy play?
I became interested in pet play in 2016 whilst at university. When a few chance opportunities presented themselves and effectively dangled the chew toy in front of me, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to grab it! As with probably a few people here, pup play allowed me to completely escape my own head, do something totally off the wall and let go of a lot of responsibility / pressure from everyday life. Once a friend introduced me to latex and how this could be incorporated into the scene, that’s it, I was hooked. I’d never really felt myself, or at least comfortable in my skin, but with the shiny coating of latex pressed into my body, my confidence and self appreciation grew. Add to this the amazing pups I’ve met over the years who have unquestionably shaped my pup-sonality today. So to all I know, I’ve played with on the mats and who’ve encouraged me to take bolder and more interesting photos - thank you!
Q3. Do you attend many kink events as a puppy, and what activities do you partake in as a pup at events?
I feel there is a bit of nuance here which sone animals and people might not be aware of. I do go to kink events occasionally, but far more frequently, I go to pup and pet play specific events. To name a few, Howl Newcastle 2.0, Club Unleashed Leeds and I have been to Pup Out London and Kennel Klub, Manchester, in the past. The main differences between kink events and pet play events is simply who they cater for. At pet play events you can expect mats for kinksters to play on, get down on all fours, pull a rope, nudge balls with your muzzle and roll around, in dog / pet mode! They also have space for socialising, chatting and getting to know others. Kink events, in my experience, are different as they seem to be more structured, there often is a plan for the event regarding demonstrations and themes. There is nothing wrong with either of these setups, and I am generalising a lot, so each specific event has its own feel. Sone events also have more paws-on offerings where pets can explore their more frisky side!
To answer the question, though, yes! I go to kink events as a pup as this is my major kink. I love getting down on the mats and playing with others with the aim of unwinding and responding to my natural urges to nuzzle people and tug on sone rope.
Q4. Do you have any tips that you would like to give event organisers, to help blind/visually impaired people at events
As much as I’d like to direct this at organisers to give direct and useful feedback, it is actually the overall ‘vibe’ of a place that makes things socially easier for me. For example, changing areas with good lighting, non cluttered storage areas to reduce the risk of tripping over, a quick tour of a venue so that I can precisely memorise every step and corner are all really useful. However, if the attitude is ‘it’s awkward to talk to someone visibly disabled’ then the amazing efforts put on by the organiser can only go so far. Here’s a good approach I experienced at Newcastle Howl: my first event there was started with meeting a friend beforehand and them taking me in. Next thing, a couple of strangers approached me and introduced themselves, noticing my white cane. They both let me know what goes on at the event and where the changing places, toilets and bar were. This just broke down any social barriers / stigma immediately! I couldn’t hope for better!
Q5. How best would you advise fellow kinksters approach you in petspace?
In pet space specifically, it can be tricky to know that I’m sight impaired as I don’t use my cane when in pup mode. But if someone clocked it when I was moving around at the start, then audio is the best mode of communication. Saying “hello pup” or even better, if they don’t know my name, say hello with a description, such as “hello purple pup”. This makes realising they’re talking to me easier!
Additionally, I use my lack of sight as a facet of my kink. I’m already partially sensorily deprived! 😂 This means that physical touch, any kind of aural feedback, sensations, etc. are all the more enjoyable and help me into the headspace so much faster. It’s one of the reasons I love latex, it seems to amplify someone’s touch on the skin, making it clearer.
Q6. What is your favorite things to do as a pup?
unashamedly prance around in gear in public. I love taking the mundane and making it more fun as a dog! This could be being taken out for a walk in gear or going out with some friends, heading the comments of “awwwh a dog!!” as I walk past. It makes me feel like I’ve been good to someone somewhere.