Some time ago in Las Vegas, at an internet trade show, the dreary rumble of geeky business conversation was shattered as police whistles blasted and uniformed officers burst onto the scene and grabbed a couple of squealing girls in rubber dresses. This caused a bit of a stir. It caused even more of a stir as the officers bent the girls over and spanked their backsides soundly, the ‘criminals’ giggling and and wriggling – yet making no attempt at all to get away…
After a second or two, it dawned on me that these were not real police officers. I’m quick that way. And that’s how I met the dynamo of fetish fun that is British Lucky Paul, party king of Washington DC.
Paul rents a mansion in one of the more salubrious suburbs of Washington, where he has been hosting fetish parties that have brightened up the local scene for some time. Says his friend Susan Wright, founder of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. “There are men, women, transgender, heterosexuals, gays, bisexuals. Every ethnicity. White-collar and blue-collar. It’s really very diverse — though we do have an unusually high percentage of lawyers. I don’t know why.”
Trouble is, you can imagine what Paul’s non-kinky neighbors think of all this. Fed up, they convened a meeting in someone’s living room last week, then fired off indignant e-mails to County Council member Roger Berliner (Democrat), whose district includes their Merrimack Park subdivision.
“I share your sense of outrage that a sex club is operating in your lovely neighborhood,” Berliner wrote back. “I want you to know that my office has been advised that our County has moved aggressively to put an end to this blight on your community.” The county moved, all right. Montgomery County zoning inspector Frank De Lange issued a warning. De Lange says that because Paul accepted money from attendees to help cover costs, the parties constitute a commercial enterprise.
But hold on. Suppose Lucky stops charging admission, as he says he might? Suppose he complies with the inspector and holds all BDSM gatherings as strictly noncommercial functions in accordance with Section 59-C-1.31? What then?
“Well,” Berliner says on the phone, hesitating. “Certainly one has to respect everyone’s constitutional rights.” In other words, if no money changes hands, and the kinky people don’t cause a noise or traffic nuisance, would the First Amendment leave him in the clear?
Police also looked into the parties after receiving complaints from neighbors but found nothing illegal about them. “At this point there’s no discernable evidence of any criminal violation,” says Capt. Paul Starks, a county police spokesman. “It appears to be consensual activity between adults.” Good for him.
Susan Wright’s response is… “The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has been working closely with Paul in responding to the media. The AP article and Washington Post article are proof positive that if you respond quickly to the media, you can really make a difference. Several news channels will be covering it and I’ve done my best to help tone down the sensationalism.
British Paul has held several private parties in his home for his friends and donated the proceeds of two of the parties to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. These parties weren’t commercial enterprises. However, a zoning inspector issued a warning that accepting donations could be construed as a commercial business, therefore Paul will cease raising money for this very important charity that combats the discrimination and persecution of kinky people. This issue has been settled to the satisfaction of the local authorities.
NCSF doesn’t support commercial enterprises in residential neighborhoods, however NCSF does support the right of every American to hold parties in their own home for consenting adults, especially in this case in which the police never cited the home for excessive noise or parking problems. Unfortunately, one individual in the neighborhood is on a vendetta against Paul because of the nature of his parties, and is making a number of false claims about noise that cannot be backed up by police records.
It is very important for BDSM practitioners to be able to gather in peace among other adults. Paul is an educator who travels around the country volunteering his time to teach safe sex skills. What he does in his private life in his own home should not be the concern of anyone else.”
Says Lucky Paul, “There’s no way I’m going to stop throwing parties! I will either work with the NCSF to ensure that we are bullet proof from a zoning perspective or simply find another venue. Party on!”
What can we learn from this? Well, the response from media and the authorities has been pretty fair, I’m pleased to say, but they cannot ignore reasonable complaints. So, if you are throwing parties at your home, keep it small and discreet. Remember, your neighbours have children. Once your parties get over a certain size, you can be sure that some neighbour will complain about something sooner or later so, before they do, get together and hire a venue.
You can reach the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom – and please do support their work any way you can, as they are funded solely by your donations – at www.ncsfreedom.org
You can contribute to the discussion on Fetlife at www.fetlife.com/groups/307/group_posts/485745
You can reach British Lucky Paul, hear about his parties, attend his classes, offer support and even buy his special latex polish (!) at www.britishluckypaul.com