invited to wear purple, amethyst, bluish red, heliotrope, lavender, lilac, magenta, mauve, mulberry, orchid, perse, plum, pomegranate, reddish blue, violaceous, violet, wine or any other shade of purple you can think of in support of sexual diversity.
So if you ran into anyone with an unexpectedly coloured tie, you might want to look at them a little more closely in future.
National Fetish Day joins a fine array of consciousness-raising periods of time, from World Philosophy Day (November 22nd last year) to the International Year of the Potato (2008) whose laudable aim is "to raise awareness of the importance of the potato - and of agriculture in general - in addressing issues of global concern". It's debatable to what extent these exercises actually succeed in their objectives. The Church of England once had a Decade of Evangelism, during which they managed to lose thousands of members and nearly went bust. And in this case, the event was deliberately kept discreet. As NFD promoter "Pierced Knight" put it,
Purple is a colour that is still unusual enough to be different yet common enough to be deniable... so no-one wearing purple needs to be scared they are automatically outing themselves.
Raising awareness without raising awareness... a somewhat counter-intuitive concept. So what was it all about? First, good old-fashioned self-esteem. Pierced Knight explains:
Back in October 2007, a discussion was started on an Informed Consent website forum board as to whether 'fetish' should be allowed to have a National Day, considering that so many other causes and/or beliefs were celebrated with their own National Day...
By joining this fun 'National Fetish Day – Perverts Wear Purple' event, you as an individual will be joined by fellow community people all over the country in saying 'It's ok to enjoy what I enjoy' without damaging your 'vanilla' identity or integrity.
So imagine it. You're harming no-one by wearing an item of purple clothing on this day and you smile to yourself whenever you think *why* you're wearing it...BUT...what will run through your mind when you see someone else wearing a purple item of clothing? Imagine this happening across the country at the same time on the same day. Everyone who contributed to the threads, everyone who secretly read it on websites, everyone who heard about the idea and thought it would be a bit of fun. All these perverts, all over, all doing the same thing at the same time for the same reason.
Ah yes, community. That ineradicable word de nos jours.
But there are more important things at stake The organisers are particularly concerned about legislation currently going through Parliament to make the possession of "extreme" porn a criminal offence comparable to making or possessing indecent images of children. Even material that is fully consensual or stage, even, incredibly, extracts from BBFC certified films, will fall within the ambit of this astonishingly widely-drawn law. Stuff you'll have seen on the net. Stuff that may well be lurking, perhaps unbeknown to yourself (or perhaps not).
The aim behind the proposal is, of course, laudable. To get good headlines in the Sun and the Daily Mail for being tough on "perverts", and to address the ongoing moral panic about the wild frontiers of cyberspace which seems almost certain to lead, one day soon, to the type of wide-ranging censorship currently seen in China. Doubtless the legislators genuinely believe that "extreme" images turn people into murderers and rapists, although there's no scientifically credible evidence to support this particular piece of folk-wisdom. There's no doubt, though, that fetishists and other sexual creatives are feeling vulnerable and targeted at this time:
Media coverage and word of mouth has led to misunderstanding in some areas of the lifestyle choices that we make. We feel proud as a community that we are safe, sane and consenting adults who enjoy our activities in private, in professionally run National events or even just having a nice chat during informal social gatherings.
In this context, it's nice to discover that the Purple People managed to pull off one major coup, persuading a well-meaning but gloriously dim MP to agree to show sartorial solidarity with the event. When challenged by a local newspaper, Blyth Valley member Ronnie Campbell was shocked to discover what the word "fetish" meant. He apparently believed it referred to "worries". He had earlier revealed that his major fetish was for horses. I hope he hasn't been to see Equus.