More On Vampyre Rights

(Originally posted November 22, 2010) Recently the idea of a Vampyre rights movement has been very topical debate. Many are in favor of it. “It’s time” they say. Others say they have experienced no need for such a movement, and wish for us to continue as we are, or even to scuttle back into the shadows. Some say such a movement would be better served by joining in the bigger human rights movement and pursuing VC goals from within. This makes a certain sense, and I understand both sides to this argument – however:If we look at the concept of fighting for Vampyre rights under the banner of global human rights we still run into several obstacles, such as the definition of human rights itself. Will these include the right for Vampyres to be allowed to feed from consensual donors, or not – and if not, how can we approach this obstacle? Do we label ourselves as a religion (as some have already) and become associated with Satanism and the cult-like aspects of our culture which ignorant groups like like to sensationalize?

Do we endeavor to find some kind of medical or scientific evidence to back our claims of needing prana, essence or blood to maintain our health? In itself there are two possibile results; 1) the gay and trans communities have irrefutable evidence that they are medically different and they are still ostracized, denied and persecuted in many places – even though this seems to be slowly improving. 2) the evidence could be used against us, to demonize us further or classify us “sick” (either mentally or medically) and in need of “treatment” or “institutionalization” (as the gay and trans community was up until 1973). 3) Assuming we are taken seriously, we will without a doubt, face the ire of groups such as Focus on the Family, Westboro Baptist Church and other right wing fundamentalist hate-groups who will target us as a “threat”.  A rights battle around our beliefs about ourselves and our practice of it will follow. Count on that.

What if, as a reaction to awareness of us, without recognition – laws are tightened to make sanguine feeding even more dangerous? Will we be prepared to face that?Do we pursue this objective under the guise of an identity group? Do we argue that being life-stylers, BDSM, gothic, emo, etc includes vampirism? Will that mean non-gothic or non-BDSM vamps will have to identify themselves as something they are not? Or do we pursue the freedom of expression angle? “It’s my right to drink blood from a consenting adult”?; “What we do behind closed doors is nobody’s business”?

Yes I think the Human Rights angle is a good start – but we need to make sure that the right – um, rights – are included in the scope of the fight. The right to be respected or not intimidated or persecuted for our beliefs (about religion, a deity or ourselves), our choices (in clothing, styles, self-expression), our pursuit of happiness (being healthy), right to freedom of association (belonging to Houses, Covens, Temples etc and being associated with others of our kind) and so on.
We need ourselves and our culture to be recognized and respected – at least under the auspices of the above. They may not have to accept us, but they should not be allowed to persecute us any more than they should be allowed to persecute anyone else for their faith, race or ethnicity.
It’s a little late in the day to pretend we don’t exist. We may not have been part of the move to expose our existence to the Mundane world, but we have to deal with the fall-out. Take a look at the media and the interweb. For the past five years, the word “vampire” crops up in increasing frequency – and not just for movies and TV shows.Personalities as well as crime reports have more and more coverage or reference to the Vampyre culture, particularly in the USA, but also elsewhere. And no, not every case involves real Vampyres – but how are Mundanes supposed to know the difference? And how, especially when a Vampyre figurehead confirms a Mundane reporter’s opinion that Sanguine Vampyres are “mentally ill”?
We don’t have any formal leadership structure, no identifiable face or voice – just the faces and voices that those who take it upon themselves to speak and to step out of the shadows, present.
One thing is apparent to me: If there is to be any kind of serious movement, then the VC needs to choose or elect or appoint a spokesperson or community figures who will credibly represent the interests of the whole community, and not just one facet of it – and a common lore of facts as a foundation which will not confuse the Mundane world – so that we will speak with one voice about who and what we are.
Without that, we are just a conglomerate muddle of opinions, not a community, or an identity group. The cat is already out of the bag. It is too late and too pointless to debate about a rights movement – only “when” and “how”.

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