Age policy and consent culture at BENT

BENT is San Francisco’s largest regularly held kink event, routinely drawing well over 300 of the city’s hottest perverts. We also welcome a fair number of “newcomers” and are happy to be a “gateway” into kink for many. We offer these guidelines to help you understand the event and the way we (as the party hosts) run and manage it, to help you determine whether it is a good fit for you.

IMG_9652 mark and samAge Policy

BENT is an event that is for “kinky youth.” We define that as “18, 19, 20’s & 30’s.” The age range for BENT is kinda like the pirate code – it’s more guidelines than actual rules. We don’t routinely card people at the door and turn them away if they had their 40th birthday yesterday. It’s about maintaining the energy of the event and helping the youngest attendees feel safe and among their peers. So generally speaking, youthful people in their 40’s who come with partners who do fit in our age range are welcome. Please respect the “specialty” nature of the event and consider if it is a good fit for you. To preserve the energy of the event, we reserve the right to screen at the door for age and knowledge about the event/venue.

Consent Culture

Regardless of age, violations of the consent culture we work to create, which include an attendee making others at the event uncomfortable (being “creepy”) will not be tolerated. We are dedicated to providing an environment of enthusiastic consent, free from harassment. Violations include inappropriate & unwanted comments, infringing on personal space, touching (person or property) without explicit permission, etc. We now offer a dungeon orientation before the event, “charter” at the door to go over the rules, and multiple posters around the space that succinctly review elements of dungeon etiquette… so ignorance really is no excuse. If you’ve never been to a dungeon before, attend our orientation and read about dungeon etiquette and rules before you come – this is a good starting place.

How to report a problem

If you are being harassed, have your consent violated, or even just see an attendee making others uncomfortable, please report this to the event hosts as soon as possible. The hosts of BENT are Shay & Jade – we can generally be easily found circulating around the event. You may also ask the DM (wearing an orange vest) or the cashier to radio us, or to radio the one of the House Managers. After an event, we can be contacted on Fetlife or via e-mail at bent.sf AT gmail.

What happens after a report is made?

If a consent violation is witnessed by us or reported to us, the next steps are entirely at our judgement and discretion. We take reports very seriously and, as a general philosophy, are inclined to believe (and never blame) the person making a report. Action taken regarding the person being reported may vary from having a nice educational chat to them being banned from the Citadel. This will vary based on the nature of the reported incident, the wishes of the person making the report, and the response of the person who is reported when we discuss it with them. If you do not feel comfortable leaving the handling of such issues to our discretion, DO NOT COME TO OUR EVENT. By coming to BENT, you are agreeing to this handling of reported incidents.

For a fantastic discussion on “being creepy” that may also help you understand this policy, please see this article by Holly Pervocracy, this article by Dr. Nerd Love on why “socially awkward” is no excuse, and this article by Charlie Glickman. You might also try this excellent article on how to approach a woman you don’t know without getting maced.

“Age discrimination”

We’ll not be drawn into a debate about “age discrimination” with regards to this event. We’ve been hosting this event since 2005 (at the end of 2015, when BENT had been running for 10 years, Stefanos stepped down as a host and Jade came on board as a co-host with Shay) and the debate has been had many times. Suffice to say that the SF Citadel has many specialty events (men’s events and women & trans people events, for example) and also many open events. There have also been specialty events for those over 40 years old!

For an excellent and exhaustive discussion of age related event organization, please read this post by Pepper Mint (it is written primarily about poly organizing but applies well here), or this post by Race Bannon on inclusiveness in BDSM.

Thanks, and see you at BENT!

Shay & Jade

ps: Have some lulz! 😀

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