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To the Directors of the Board,
As introduction, my name is Amos, and I am a Chinese-Canadian citizen from Vancouver, BC. From March 6th, 2013, I have left Vancouver and traveled along the West Coast within the United States, exploring the various major cities and interacting with its citizens. The method of transportation I have been using is mostly on foot, by public transit or by charter bus or railroad.
It is my thorough hopes that you would receive my presence at the Statue of Liberty, notably its torch that has been barred from public access. From the beginning of my travels, I have been flying a flag – itself being the leather/fetish pride flag – sailing it across the various monuments and carrying it with me along the way. It is a symbolic gesture, that no particular person should ever feel isolated or unwelcome, that their caliber and measure of worth within everyday society should never be outcast.
This endeavor has no political or professional merit, merely a pilgrimage by personal choice. I have voluntarily decided to follow an old legend I had heard once, regarding immigrants that crossed the Atlantic or Pacific into the United States, to begin new lives, would attempt to climb the statue’s crown or torch and make a prayer for those that enabled them on that journey.
In light of recent events, namely marriage equality, providing many such opportunities to men and women to engage in the sanctity of marriage itself; each of the people involved in these lifestyles have engaged on a personal journey of discovery and growth, at times experiencing unimaginable pressure and discrimination based upon societal norms.
What is normality if not a subjective concept?
It is like the riddle of the egg. Ask a person what an egg may be and the variables are indefinite though at times overlapping. One person may reply that it has a soft shell and tastes delicious when served on toast; another may reply that it is produced by a female mammal, a critical element towards reproduction.
I must admit that the concept of the egg is far more interesting than that of a glass half-empty or half-full, mostly because it has a far more nutritious and appetizing taste.
An open-mind is one that requires not only the capacity for expanded thought but the capacity to welcome new ideas. It requires one to put aside all forms of self-driven perspectives, set aside their prejudices and bias, permitting themselves to be privy to new ideas.
As human beings, born with the ability to think, the freedom for thought and emotions are paramount to our existence. We do not see with our eyes, rather merely our mind itself, and through individual thought patterns, people immerse themselves to a unique perspective. The personal views of any one person will differentiate from others. Likewise their beliefs regarding faith and politics, morals and principles, will be wholly separate – this is freedom at its peak, an inherent right for decision making that every person possesses.
Our ability to make choices, upon reaching adulthood, enables us to be subject to various influences all around. In this day and age, those influences are infinite, expanding to new horizons but most importantly connecting everyone to each other. However, under no circumstances must be ever truly discriminate against any particular group, based entirely upon their views or beliefs.
There are certain conditions, however, that are universal to every idealogical groups abroad. Human welfare, civil rights, and criminality compose of the majority of mutual consensus. Social sciences provide insight towards such terms and definitions. Logical science has proven, along with rationality, that there are matters that are abhorred and morally incorrect. Pedophilia, beastiality and necrophilia are several such matters. Others include oppressive leadership, forced doctrination and open discrimination.
If anything there is one universal belief worldwide and that is human progress. It is a strive towards collective well being, providing security and education, class and gender equality. It can only be achieved when ordinary men and women can come together to make decisions that benefit everyone else.
History has proven that in the pursuit of progress, its purpose must be closely monitored, lest it becomes perverted. The new generation must always be regulated, the experiences and knowledge passed forward from the previous generation being a necessity; beyond that, traditions aside, their ability to make their own decisions are critical – such freedom should never be denied from them.
More than anything there is a requirement for open thought and debate. Prejudice and discrimination, like anger and hate, can corrupt and destroy entire bodies of thought. Left alone to evolve by itself, that cycle provides nothing more than an air of bigotry and accomplishes nothing. Hate cannot be defeated by hate, only by love; darkness cannot be conquered with darkness, only by light.
Like anyone else my own different experiences have taught me to have restraint against certain cultures, philosophies and other lifestyles. However, being able to subject myself to them, permitting also the ability to aspire to certain ideas, provides a vastly enriching view of the world at large. This journey itself has enabled a growth in wisdom yet it is apparent, without wishing to sound self-righteous, that such growth is hard to accomplish within others.
I have no desire to dictate the thoughts or choices of others. Between each person I have encountered, there have been variations in background and experience, but overall a mutual desire for progress; everyone I have met, whether or not their personalities connect or conflict with mine, have proven that if anything the need for tolerance and acceptance is unimaginably important.
At an age where personal security is often at stake, such openness is often cut short by financial constraint or stable living conditions. There is more than ever an atmosphere wherein one may no longer have the benefit of doubt. The working class has become cold, machinated by self-driven views, unable to aspire or expand to new ideas. A common nickname that I have heard before is that the new millennium is the Age of Decay.
It is not within our nature to be cold to others. It is the unfortunate happenstance that everyday life is mundane, trapped by a media culture that promotes conformity and rigidness. The unforgiving risks within reality prohibits room for imagination, creating an atmosphere of tediousness and repetitive existence. Without the ability to liberate ourselves through thought, universal progress, and development we become akin to cattle.
Trapped in a state where our ability to see, let alone feel, life becomes depressive and long stretched. There exists only cynicism, wariness based upon past mistakes, limited by personal experiences – by these things, we become cold and distant to everyone outside of our lifestyles.
Experience has also shown that merely possessing, even a fraction, of that capacity for goodness and cooperative support to others can provide for everyone. It is not in my nature, let alone any natural human being, to harbor any hate for anyone. Charity, generosity, and acceptance can enable a far better existence; it is unfortunate that while personal survival is paramount, that any opportunity to exemplify these things are simply ignored. It is one thing to focus on personal welfare, it is ignorant to merely abandon and not even try to uphold such matters.
What I perceive in my lifestyle, the fetish/kink lifestyle, is still widely considered to be abnormal based entirely on the physical activities alone. However, the same ability to make these decisions, that is consent, separates everyone from the pathological criminals one may see on the news. It is the ability to bring oneself, through trust and familiarity to another person, most importantly to discard inhibitions in dominance or submission, that creates an entirely unique experience.
Within the BDSM communities, there are no definitive terms instead merely subjective fetishes and limitations. Similarly each person will have different interests and methods of approach, but the universal ideal is to support one another based upon the fact that as a community, the strength and support is what truly appeals to everyone.
For that same belief, that mutual togetherness for spreading education regarding its activities, communal outreach, and tolerance, an entire movement has been created since the mid-20th century. These groups of men and women, each from a different class and background, have shared a widespread strive for progress and tolerance. Like any group of individuals, there remains subjective personalities that create a negative light, but the majority itself – like anybody else – is human.
Human beings are social creatures. They seek the company of others that they connect with, most importantly to find support for their own endeavors, such as from friends and family. The concept of honor, integrity and respect extend beyond the scene itself. There is no room for conformity within this particular culture, save for the safety and consent of the people involved. Similarly our cousins in the LGBT communities share these same principles, at least some majority of them abroad.
In the eyes of these two cultural movements, by what right does anyone define the normality which we as people perceive? In our eyes, the vanilla world is abstract, offputting and most of all unsatisfying; other times it is inherent within our nature, the dominant and submissive tendencies of human behavior, which calls out to be explored. In the case of our brethren in the LGBT lifestyle, such a nature is hardwired and genetic, likewise never being a choice.
Under a democracy, with the freedom of free thought and choice, are we as people not entitled to seek our own truths and definitions? Are we not, similarly, caught up in the pursuit of happiness? Or are we to be silenced, denied that same freedom, and be browbeat into scrutiny and discrimination?
If one were to carefully examine the history of any movement, culture or nation, there will inevitably be dark chapters that are shameful to behold. Admittedly in both the LGBT and fetish lifestyles these chapters exist, but more than anything they stem primarily from internal conflict. That which unites the support of everyone is the continued shaming and discrimination against the people within the lifestyle, the open prejudice against the so-called abnormalities of the people involved within them.
In light of these histories, for the sake of marking progress both within and beyond these two movements, I have embarked on a quest across the continent to witness firsthand the capacity for human kindness, tolerance and open-mindedness. The discoveries that I have made have not been in deficit. Ordinary men and women, from any particular culture, share a that same strive for progress in society itself; though circumstance has reduced these matters, they merely require a simple minder to resurface.
For the sake of reigniting that same mutual love and respect for everyone, I have flown the flag across the United States. Each of its individual bars and colors, blue and black and white, represent the diversity of its people within this lifestyle and movement. The heart at its corner represents the love between each person involved. Like the colors of the rainbow, ours too is a culture that is open and accepting, for it is in our nature to support one another.
In the hopes of fulfilling this task, I am asking permission to access the torch by my own free will, and hereby surrender all form of legal repercussions in the case of my death from the structural fragility of the torch itself.
Directors of the board, please carefully consider this missive. For she is called the Mother of Exiles, for two movements once oppressed and even in some parts still persecuted, enable me to represent the men and women who have shared similar journeys in their own lives.
In the names of those yearning to breathe free from intolerance and hate; in the names of our brothers and sisters on the streets, who hunger; for our comrades abroad, fighting for that same freedom, tired in their labors; I hope to fly this flag for them and make that same wish.
Both in celebration and to mark a pivotal chapter in the sex rights movement, I ask you to permit me access to the torch itself.