love to hear you weigh in on the case of Jason Fortuny, the
person who posted an ad on Craigslist posing as a woman looking
for a dom male, and then posted all of the responses, including
the pictures some men sent him. As a person who receives voluminous
amounts of damaging and embarrassing e-mail from people who
count on your discretion, I thought you might have an interesting
It’s a sad state of affairs that of the commentary about this
so far, all of the articles have gone out of their way to
condemn the victims of this breach of privacy for not just
being careless about their privacy, but also for engaging
in BDSM in the first place. The tone is generally, “What Mr.
Fortuny did was wrong, even though those sick fucks probably
had it coming.”
a little reassurance for the folks who write to me: You can
count on my discretion. I don’t share your e-mails with anyone;
when I bring in a guest expert, he or she only gets to see
the body of your question—not your name or e-mail address—and
only after I edit out identifying details. I never forward
e-mails to friends, I never share pictures, and I delete all
e-mails once they’re six months old.
OK, on to Jason Fortuny: I’ve been following this fucked-up
story, Chuck, and it pisses me off in so many ways that I
hardly know where to begin. In what Fortuny grandly called
“The Craigslist Experiment,” he posed as a kinky woman and
posted a sex ad with a photo, then invited “str8 brutal dom
muscular” males “who like 2 give intense pain and discipline”
to write and respond. Now, an experiment is a test designed
to discover whether a particular theory is correct, and Fortuny’s
grand hypothesis basically amounted to this: Would extremely
kinky men respond to a personal ad that they believed had
been placed by an extremely kinky woman?
Well, what do you know—they would and they did, and in droves.
That should have been the end of this experiment, but Jason
wasn’t really interested in seeing what sort of response his
ad would get, but in exposing and humiliating the men who
replied to his ad. Fortuny not only posted their responses
online, he also posted pictures he had been sent—along with
real names, work e-mails, phone numbers, physical addresses,
and transcripts of chats he had with some of his victims.
So what are we to make of this?
Well, it reminds us that responding to personal ads is a risky
business. You just don’t know to whom (a sexy sub girl?) or
what (a total asshole?) you’re responding. But let’s not overstate
the risk: Millions of people post and respond to personal
ads every day (perhaps a few hundred thousand less today,
thanks to Fortuny), and until now no one has ever pulled such
an asshole move. Still, anyone using Internet personals should
remember that people do lie, discretion is warranted, you
shouldn’t use your work e-mail, etc.
What strikes me as tragic about this mess is that the men
who are suffering the most for the high crime of wanting to
meet a kinky woman—the men who shared their real names, numbers,
places of employment—were doing the decent, responsible thing.
Women into BDSM exist, and they take out personal ads to find
men who share their kinks. People like me tell submissive
women (and men) to take some simple precautions before hooking
up with a new person—get his real name, get his real phone
number, have your first meeting in a public place, ask him
to tell you where he works, ask for references. A kinky top
is asking a kinky bottom to trust him—not to actually harm
her, to respect her limits, to honor her safe word—and a top
can earn that trust by sharing his real name, phone number,
and other info that will allow the bottom to confirm that
he is who he says he is.
That’s why Fortuny’s stunt pisses me off so much. It’s the
men that did the right thing—again, the guys who shared their
real names and phone numbers, the men who sent face pictures
and not just cock shots—who are going to suffer the most.
However kinky these guys are, however naïve they are (some
personal ads are too good to be true, fellas), they shouldn’t
be punished for doing the right and honorable thing.
As for Fortuny, the sexual interests of the men he’s violated
so sadistically is distracting some people from the real villain
in this piece. The men who responded to his ad, whatever their
sexual interests, weren’t doing Fortuny or anyone else any
harm, and not one of them deserved this. If there’s any justice
on this earth, Fortuny will shortly be the subject of a similar
experiment in privacy violation. Surely Fortuny, like 98 percent
of all men, has some sexual interest or interests that others
might find odd. I suspect pissed off BDSMers are currently
hacking his home computer in an effort to find out.
As for the clenched-butt fuckwits who think these guys had
it coming because they’re into BDSM, I can only say this:
What’s on your Internet-browser history, motherfuckers? Do
you really have no kinks at all? Never spotted a kinky personal
ad that you were tempted to respond to? Would you come off
smelling like a rose if your fantasy life was spread all over
the Internet? Have a little sympathy, motherfuckers. It could’ve
happened to you.
You recently spoke of transsexual men (FTM) in a somewhat
benevolent manner. However, you made a very uneducated statement
with regards to transsexual women. You stated that the only
male-to-female transsexuals you know are heterosexual men
who went through the transition and became lesbians afterward.
I am a 27-year-old black woman. I also happen to be a pre-op
transsexual, with a goal of sex-reassignment surgery. I am
out to most of my family and they are very supportive of me.
I grew up from the age of 5 knowing that I felt and identified
as female. I have literally been able to pass as female from
the age of 10. At 12, I knew I was into men. But never have
I felt attracted to a gay man. And never has a gay man felt
attracted to me.
Your statement about only knowing male-to-female transsexual
lesbians makes me think maybe you need to do some learning
about human sexuality!
hear you, DIS, but I don’t think you heard me. I’m aware that
MTFs come in all flavors—gay identified, straight identified,
lesbian, bi, etc.—but in that column we were discussing the
phenomenon of lesbians in their 20s, 30s, and 40s suddenly
realizing that they’re transsexuals and making the transition
as adults, a phenomenon that is causing some consternation
in the lesbian community.
reason there’s no imbroglio in the gay community is because
adult gay men rarely, if ever, decide to change their
gender,” I wrote in the column you’re referring to. “I’ve
never known a single adult gay man who decided to run
off and become a woman. The only men I’ve known who changed
their gender as adults were heterosexually identified
men who now identify as lesbians.”
Your experience illustrates an additional point that I should
have paused to make, DIS: Most MTFs who identify as straight
women transition in adolescence. That doesn’t seem to be the
case with FTMs.