(Article originally from our MR April E-Newsletter)
It’s been a big week, month and year already with so many things happening globally and within the Melbourne Rubber community. It’s still a hot topic of conversation, but Melbourne Rubber’s ongoing dedication to diversity and inclusivity since its change from Melbourne Rubbermen still feels like a big thing.
I’ll preface this by acknowledging that although I am in the community as an avid fetishist and rubber lover, my experiences have been through the privilege of being a white, cis, straight presenting femme, who is non-disabled.
Since opening to diversity in 2020, my experiences within Melbourne Rubber have been beyond positive, with the group branching out and welcoming others into their personal spaces, events and exclusive buildings which have had longstanding histories within the gay community and generations of its members. This hasn’t been something that I believe should be taken lightly or for granted, and in each case being invited and accepted into those spaces as a guest has felt like an honour.
I’ve watched Melbourne Rubber actively work towards inclusion not just in terms of physical places, but also in reaching out and connecting members within Australia and overseas – particularly with the group’s “15 Minutes With…” interviews on Instagram (@melbournerubber), seeking gender diverse and BIPOC communities of rubberists and kinksters to share their voices and experiences.
Most recently, there was the interview with Dan Daw – A queer, disabled activist and artist, originally from Australia but now based in Manchester, UK whose practice focuses on performance, the body and kink (This is available to watch on the Melbourne Rubber Instagram Page @melbournerubber). The interview with Dan highlighted the importance of accessibility in events and in terms of sensory and structurally accessible spaces – Including things such as sounds, flashing lights and wheelchair access, pointing out that there is no inclusion without disability.
So, where do we go from here?
Inclusivity and accessibility for disabled kinksters as well as unrepresented and marginalized groups is certainly something which is part of our responsibility as a community, and something I see Melbourne Rubber continuing to push and actively work towards. The group’s diversity and inclusion policy, planning of further inclusive events, support of queer charities and performers as well as accessible spaces are just the beginning.
As the group keeps growing, reaching out and connecting with more people, I know Melbourne Rubber will continue to work with facilitating these values and discussions into action to create better, safer and inclusive kink spaces for everyone and every body.