Ah! Yes... community!
com·mu·ni·ty (/kəˈmyo͞onədē/) noun,
a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. "the scientific community"
a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. "the sense of community that organized religion can provide"
This is the dictionary definition of the word that is heard quite commonly on this site and among practitioners of the various forms of BDSM. It is a huge umbrella under which a wide variety of practices, fetishes, activities, relationship types and personal identifiers are shoved. And under this umbrella exist many subsets: spankers, rope, sadists, masochists, littles, Daddies, LGBTQia, etc., Leather, M/s, D/s, and on and on. Yet, is there any real evidence that we are "a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common" or people having " a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals"?
TL:DR: The wine connoisseur who pays thousands for a vintage wine and the dude on the corner with the five dollar twist top bottle of wine in his back pocket may both claim to be "wine lovers", but they don't say they're "community"
Take a look at your social media feeds.
I know when I looked at my feed this morning I saw a variety of postings that would belie these definitions. I saw a post by a frustrated submissive man who felt that it was impossible to find a Dominant woman who was willing to accept him as equal in an unbalanced relationship. There was much pain in his expression and he fully expected that his lament wouldn't be taken seriously. A "Dominant women" even responded that now he knew what it was like, as if he must pay the price for every selfish misogynist out there. I personally know of a Dominant woman who had started in the lifestyle as submissive and who said that one of the motivating factors in her transitioning to Dominant was so that she could do to others what had been done to her. She didn't mean that in a good way
. I saw a posting asking why race fetish based designations like QoS, BBC, PAWG and others still find use among us. And, of course, there will be those who defend there usage and will immediately use as a defense "kink-shaming", which recently has seemed to be the catch al phrase to avoid discussion of controversial issues among folks.
I see posts about events and munches whereat people contracted COVID-19 and how some events have relaxed standards because the states have done so. I've seen the debate about that and, of course, inevitably politics comes into play and people are called sheep or told to stay home or given grief because they have a legitimate concern for their health and that of others.
And speaking of politics, it seems we cannot have a single discussion here without either introducing personal political views or insisting that politics has no place in kink. Yes, in the midst of "Pride" Month people are saying the politics has no place in kink. I see extremism being addressed with people pointing fingers at "The Left" and "The Right" but very little discussion taking place, just debate. For a lifestyle that often claims "communication is the key" we spend a lot of time speaking at each other and not with each other.
I saw a posting about "Liars and Fake Doms" about people who come here pretending that they are seeking productive authority-based relationships, but who in actually are only trying to serve their selfish sexual needs or need to abuse and humiliate. But of course, we've seen "kink" been used as a cover for all sorts of bigotry from racism, to sexism, to classism, to misogyny, to misandry, to homophobia and transphobia, so it is, unfortunately, not surprising, though it should be.
I could go on and on speaking about the predators and abusers on both sides of the slash, the variety of double standards that permeate this lifestyle, of the in-fighting that takes place within organizations and how organizations threaten each other, sometimes even outing those they see as "competition". I could speak about how some people get away with abuses because they are well liked or well known while others are isolated and ostracized because they "just don't fit in". The bottom line is we are still dealing with all the ills and issues of society at large within this lifestyle and until we can effectively and fairly address them all we will have to admit that we remain a series of communities, cliques, clans, groups, tribes, and individuals, and not one big family, happy or otherwise.