May I watch you? On Consent and Being Queer

Today, a woman who said she found me attractive, in a queer party asked me if she could watch me dance as we were all dancing. She said if I said no, she would understand and not engage in the act of looking, because she wanted to ensure I didn’t feel uncomfortable under her direct gaze.
I was so moved by her unexpected and staggeringly surprising utilization of consent in what could be seen as an obvious “invitation to look”- the act of dancing, that I became teary eyed with pleasant surprise.
For survivors of sexual assault and for everyone else who reads the news, every act of stripping away of power of the self through rape and acts of “powering over” others, may feel like the “norm”. “Boys will be boys and it’s in our nature to objectify people.” “Who asks for permission when they are fucking?” Statements like these are present and normalized everywhere.
But.
But there are spaces where people not only actively acknowledge that we live in a culture of rape, but actually put in concrete actions to ensure that we end rape culture. There are people out there who WANT to make you feel safe so they can ensure you enjoy yourself. Not need to, or being forced to, to fit the box of a “good person” but believe me, they actually want to make sure they are not harming you. There are people out there who DON’T think that saying the words “May I kiss you?” before kissing someone is an abnormal thing. There are people who say, “I want to touch you like this, but if it doesn’t feel good, just tell me, I’ll stop.” There are people like that. And if you, the one who is reading this post, isn’t one, it’s high time perhaps you changed.
Intimacy with someone who asks before they act heals so many trauma-wounds. And oh, it is so sexy.