Guest Post: Alexia of The Red Cellar Speaks

TRCLampreyLogo
Official logo: The Red Cellar

Greetings, Gentle Readers. Today, GrumpyVamp has the pleasure of bringing you a guest post from Alexia, founder and administrator of The Red Cellar website and Discord server. As promised, this post is the official statement from TRC addressing the recent attempted coup on their Discord server, the document presented in our previous article The “Med” Sang Menace, and clarifying TRC’s position.

By now, Gentle Reader, you know the drill. Long post is long. Long post needs to be long to do it justice. Long post is well worth your time. Read it. You won’t regret it.

In truth, GrumpyVamp is delighted that Alexia was willing to make this guest post, and would like to extend Grumpy’s sincere thanks for taking time out of her busy schedule to draft it. Note to readers: Alexia is originally from the U.K. so there are a few words spelled in accordance with British English rather than American English conventions. It’s not a typo and, therefore, has not been corrected. So let’s get to it, shall we?

Want to write a guest post for GrumpyVamp? See our Contributor Guidelines page for details.


TRC Official Statement

Where do I begin? It’s hard to know where to start with such a dumpster fire as the document shown in “The Med Sang Menace”.

Recently, The Red Cellar had to deal with a coup attempt. The authors say it was not a coup and that it was to trigger discussion. If it was just for discussion, why was a manifesto spread in secret to many people including the line “this can be spread to the GVC”? Further, what makes the authors think that they have a right to try and force the hand of the administration team? The individuals involved were told the issue had been discussed, decided, and to drop it. They chose not to and instead disseminated the document in secret. The attacks on vulnerable people and bigotry is not what TRC is about.

Before I get into the body of the document and make my comments, I first want to clarify the position of The Red Cellar. This has been discussed and agreed with all administrators present in our Discord server, so I am not speaking only on behalf of myself. TRC was made to be a welcoming space. The division of opinion on otherkin and therians, along with supporting those who are vulnerable, is what led to the creation of the document to begin with. One of our administrators identifies as otherkin and runs a therian/otherkin group. Those who know me recall that Syrf was one of my close friends before she passed; she identified as a cat therian (as well as med sang) and helped me to understand these different identities. Simply put, psi, otherkin, therian, whatever, it isn’t relevant to TRC. If you feel you need blood, we are here to help. We have no place commenting on other aspects of your identity – it’s your business how you identify, not ours. Considering any group a “cancer to be purged” goes against all we stand for. It reeks of hate and fascism. No sentient being should ever be treated that way. Respect and approaching from a place of mutual understanding is key.

Given the amount of content I have to get through, I’m going to go ahead and get started.

No one is a ‘torchbearer’. To call oneself that and to tell everyone to sit down is in itself narcissistic. No one is required to listen. Someone is not required to sit and have a discussion. The Red Cellar operates in a democratic fashion, with key decisions being discussed and voted on by our group of administrators. I am more than happy to listen to concerns; however, decisions are made as a group and when someone is told to DROP an issue after repeatedly breaking server rules, that goes well beyond what is appropriate.

I have never heard the term “EMWs” or heard it used to identify psi persons. As for Species Dysphoria, this part of the document essentially dismisses half of the GVC and all Otherkin. TRC’s Discord server does have a rule to not discuss metaphysics except for in Off Topic. That is not because TRC discriminates against psi. It is simply because there are many other servers for it and it is not the focus of the group – the focus is sanguivory, blood drinking and anything and everything to do with blood drinking from a medical, physiological perspective. Metaphysical issues are outside the scope of TRC, and we are simply not equipped to provide proper support for them. That said, there is NO rule banning anyone of identities beyond ‘med sang’ joining the group. The core focus is to support blood drinkers. Sanguivory is not a medical diagnosis. The only thing we have to go from is our own anecdotal experiences. If this is a physiological issue, people can still interpret that in many different ways. Some may practice some form of magick or have esoteric/occult interests. Some may hold a belief in metaphysical energy. Some may do neither. The point is, it is not someone’s business what someone else believes, practices, or identifies as. If they need support with sanguivory, we will provide it; be they Otherkin, med sang, sanguinarian, hybrid, whatever. We are also human beings. We do not turn away those who are questioning. We do not turn away psi who have come to our server and enjoy the human support we can provide. We can still maintain our focus while staying true to our core focus of support for physiological blood drinking. Sanguivory isn’t easy to deal with. Many of us grew up with it alone and suffered greatly for it. Now, people don’t have to. I don’t give a sh*t what their identity is if we can contribute to make things safer for both blood drinkers and donors thanks to our own experience; then we’re doing things right. I will not segregate TRC and section ourselves away from those who can benefit. That is a mistake I believe we made years ago.

Given the document was written by a self-admitted sociopath, I am not surprised that the next part of the document then proceeds to blame YOU for your feelings of disgust and outrage when reading it. The author is willing to take no responsibility for the utter garbage that proceeds to flow from their mouth despite being the one writing it. There must be a ‘rational reason’ for your outrage. Not because, y’know, you’re a human being with feelings. I can smack someone in the face and call them a c*nt; if they get upset though, it’s on them because they are the only one controlling their body. Right? *eyeroll*

I do not need to elaborate too much on a sociopath’s view of altruism. Of course, if you don’t understand or feel emotions well, you may assume everyone is doing things for personal gain because it is a projection of the sociopath’s own inability to connect to any motive except selfishness.

The document then proceeds into psychobabble. I’m not going to go too deeply into this. The author of this document likes to play armchair psychologist despite having no understanding of human emotion on a personal level. TRC is a support group. We offer peer support for blood drinkers. I grew up dealing with my sanguivory on my own. I was isolated and it was absolutely terrifying. I’ve lost a best friend to suicide. This is not an easy thing to deal with at all. It is my passion and deep care for blood drinkers that pushes me to do what I do – and to stick with it despite t3h dramaz. As such, that is why I am so focused on a caring, warm environment. The GVC can be harsh. We need a safe space for physiological blood drinkers to be. We have plenty of channels – there’s enough space for everyone. That’s why TRC has a ‘support chat’ and ‘off topic’. There are a lot of places for blood drinkers. We even have a private room for long-time members. The intent of the document was to challenge our focus of support and say we should be restricting our ‘borders’ to ‘true sangs’; whatever that is.

I do not care for segregation. There can be boundaries, certainly, and there should be. But we share people, we are neighbours. Without that, people don’t find us and our resources become useless. As I mentioned before, people who drink blood come from many practices, identities, and beliefs. All are welcome. A lot of people come in to simply learn about sangs. We have all kinds of people coming in, from those who are questioning whether they need blood themselves, to those who are simply curious. We have rules that maintain the focus of physiological and medical blood drinking. We do not need to play gatekeeper and kick people out for not having the same beliefs or views as us. Doing that leads to an echo chamber. It does not represent who I am as a person. I am a tolerant, inclusive person. I no longer want conflict with the GVC to turn me into something I’m not.

That’s not to say we keep people who are toxic. There have been incidents where an individual turned every issue to be about them, threatened suicide, among other things to the extent where members didn’t feel comfortable or safe discussing their own issues. That person was removed in time. That decision rests with the administrators of the server and it is up to us to decide where that line is. Members can have and can raise concerns, but there are boundaries. When you are trying to force someone’s hand and make personal attacks on the group and its members, that is far beyond what is acceptable.

Medication

The author of the document is not a doctor. Note the document says ‘prescription’ drugs. If a doctor has deemed it necessary for their patient to be on a certain medication, that person should not be shamed for it. Mental health is a sensitive issue. No one should be shamed for needing medication to manage their health issues. Medication can be life saving. This paragraph only seems to further illustrate the callous nature of the writer. It speaks to their views about tr00 l33t sangs – “contributing to the illusionary inclination of blood need”. Who is *anyone* to tell someone whether they need blood or not? That is down for the individual to decide. Sanguinarian is defined only as someone who ‘needs’ blood to maintain their health. If someone feels they need it to maintain their mental health, I do not feel they should be degraded or treated as lesser than someone who needs it to maintain their immune system. It is quite possible that mental health issues or medications can exacerbate or suppress sanguinary symptoms. That is one thing we endeavour to find out. The brain has significant physiological side-effects on the rest of the body. Mindfulness meditation has benefits that can be seen on an MRI.

Blood *is* a medication to some and many perceive it that way. It isn’t a panacea. However, it is taken regularly to prevent health degradation which manifests various symptoms. If you only use it for additional nutrition, can it be said that perhaps you have an illusionary inclination of blood need because you don’t truly need it? I don’t personally care why someone says they need it, but those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Blood is nutritous and is used around the world, both in cooking and as a health supplement. Nutrition IS medicine. In fact, blood has been used as medicine for a long time. A great book on the subject is “Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: The History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians”. That said, blood in my view is a desperate measure and it is dangerous to suggest people take blood in lieu of following up with medical professionals. One should never stop following up with medical professionals because something insidious could be lurking under the veil of ‘sanguinarian’. If that makes us pill-popping because we continually seek to learn more about our condition and do follow up through the correct channels, perhaps the disdain for networking with doctors is far more dangerous than someone off-the-cuff referring to blood as ‘medicine’. There is nothing wrong with saying what medicine worked for you and recommending someone look into it. That person is not a doctor. The individual cannot access the medicine unless it is discussed with their doctor and their doctor believes it is right for their situation and treatment plan. This goes on in peer support groups for all manner of things – from sanguivory to MS and fibromyalgia. This further demonstrates the author’s social ineptitude and lack of understanding of how peer support works. If a doctor’s prescribed medication causes someone to be hospitalized, that is the result of an incompetent doctor. Also note that the authors disbelieve that any sanguivore should need medication if they have enough blood. Blood to them is apparently some miracle cure-all for all ailments.

As for Huel, is there a problem with that? It is called a POSITIVE PRODUCT REVIEW. Google it. Many sanguinarians experience digestive maladies and cannot properly process food, leading them to be malnourished and consequently causing a worsening of their symptoms. Huel was recommended to provide something that a sanguinarian could digest but still meet all of their nutritional requirements leading to improved health. If they think that this is malicious ‘suggestive’ behaviour, it only goes to demonstrate how sick the writer is. Oh wait, that’s right – there is no altruism, everything is selfish in the eyes of a sociopath – not trying to improve the sanguinarian’s quality of life through enhanced nutrition.

Soft language comes next. I do not believe this is a ‘problem’ in TRC. It is basic human decency to watch what you say to people and avoid offense when possible. That is the cornerstone of respect and human kindness. To someone without empathy, I can see where this could be seen as an issue. In a support server, people can be in bad places. Members will not feel comfortable expressing themselves or seeking help if someone constantly jumps down their throat and is rude. That is something I personally don’t tolerate. People don’t need a ‘blanket’. If someone wants to support a member, that’s on them. If you don’t like it, don’t get involved. If it becomes excessive, the admin team will address it. Not your call to make.

“Woo” hasn’t been used by TRC for a good while. It is seen as derogatory and condescending to some of our members and their beliefs. Perceiving your blood need as physiological isn’t mutually exclusive with other kinds of beliefs and practices. Talking down to others in such a way makes med sangs appear hostile and disrespectful. It alienates a good portion of our member base.

Again, it is down to TRC to decide what the scope of support offered by TRC is. If you don’t like it, look away. There haven’t been instances of something not being ‘contained’; rather, there have been instances of someone seeking support, an admin taking time to try and calm them down, and then the two authors of the ‘document’ being condescending, rude, and callous. I shit you not when I quote “I will send digital roses to your grave” when someone was trying to get help. Not only cruel comments like that, but trying to psychoanalyze with Wikipedia level skill and questioning/doubting people’s experiences. If you want to act like a c*nt, go do it on your own servers and see how well it goes.

Peer support doesn’t require ‘skills’ – that is the nature of peer support groups. The biggest liability comes with trying to psychoanalyze people without qualifications as the main author of this document likes to do.

Ref:

https://www.samhsa.gov/recovery/peer-support-social-inclusion

I will not elaborate too much on the ‘Species Dysphoria’ comments as this has been expanded upon by Blacklight in his excellent rebuttal article.

TRC does not ‘play doctor for political standing’. Anyone who perceives TRC to be about that is clearly projecting their own agenda. TRC has *never* been about that. We are there for support for blood drinkers, for information, and for scientific inquiry into sanguivory. Political agendas have never been part of what we do; to the contrary, that is the objective of the authors of ‘the document’ and they have been playing political games for many months now. The decision to be more inclusive was after much soul-searching and a realization that past approaches were not conducive to our overall goals. That we alienated people who needed our help. That people did not feel safe referring people to us. Again, we are a support group. We do not offer medical advice. We share experiences and are a shoulder for anyone going through a rough time. We are one of the few specialized groups for blood drinkers and the role we play is crucial. I will not have our support compromised for anyone. As for ‘grave legal ramifications’, it is funny that the author talks of liability yet they are clearly not an attorney. We do not diagnose. We do not contradict medical diagnoses. We do not offer step-by-step recovery programs. We listen and we share experiences. You know, like every other peer support group in the world.

The Direction of Med Sangs

Past

Infamy was never the intent of previous debates with the Vampire Community. The med-sang ‘movement’ or ‘community’ has changed a lot over the last few years. Nor was the intent to show psi that ‘they lacked rationality’. Let me clarify that the two authors of the ‘document’ were not part of the med-sang community during the time that they are talking about. They are in no position to talk about our history or why we did what we did. They entered the community in 2018 after our ‘direction’ had already changed. The justification for our arguments with psi in the past was that many of us felt it was omnipresent, that non-metaphysical methods were traditionally shouted down and that we had to show that it was okay to see your condition from a physiological perspective and not practice any metaphysics. Some argued that proximity to the Vampire Community made us less credible to researchers. Others wanted little to do with self-identified vampires and so the decision was made to separate. It was never about division and hatred; we simply wanted to do the best for ‘our people’. Despite how wrong I believe it to be now, back then, I felt I was genuinely doing the right thing and fighting for our right to be heard, to let others know it was okay to perceive their sanguivory that way, and to build a safe space for them to do so. In the end, I still feel that was accomplished, but that the approach taken did significant damage to our ability to help blood-drinkers overall.

Present

The creation of the TRC Discord did not mark a new approach, nor did it mark us for the first time as a quantifiable group. We had been known for years already (how could we be infamous if we weren’t a quantifiable group?) and the Discord server was simply another avenue for us to provide outreach and support. The new approach was already adopted at this point. For reference, please see this article which clarified the new approach and when (and this has only continued to evolve):

Ex Meis Cineribus Renascor – Sanguivores, Med Sangs & Vampires

The focus of Sangs getting support in TRC has not changed. It is for blood drinkers by blood drinkers. That doesn’t mean we will shun anyone who is not. There are plenty of outlets in the TRC Discord server for sangs to talk about their issues. “General-Sang”, “Lampreys” and “Support” being but a few. Just because other-identified persons sometimes need support does *not* mean we have lost our focus; just that we are decent human beings who want to help other people if they come to us.

We are not in a position to judge who is a ‘genuine sang’ or not. Who is anyone to judge who is ‘legit enough’ to be allowed in? None of us have any evidence that we need blood. None of us know why we are this way. Playing ‘more sang than thou’ is exclusionary, elitist and undermines the focus of supporting blood drinkers.

We are not searching for ‘credibility as med sangs’. We are not out to prove what we are or to justify ourselves. We aim to maintain an open mind and perform scientific inquiry into the nature of our condition. Confirmation biases undermine this goal completely.

Nor do we have to keep a ‘diseased identity’. This shows utter callous disregard for people’s mental health issues and general health problems. Nutrition and medicine is part of our approach to sanguivory. We have people with knowledge of supplements, nutrition, and biology. If people voice a complaint, we share what advice we can. That’s not a race to see who is the most diseased; it is simply trying to HELP.

I will address an issue with the two authors of this document with regards to ‘complaining about any effort to get blood’. The authors are ableist, judgemental, and condescending people. They have said before that those who are unable to get donors deserve to starve. Not everyone is able to get donors that easily. Some have anxiety disorders. Some are physically disabled. They like to play ‘more wampyr than thou’ by comparing how sick they get without blood, how much blood they drink, and how many donors they have – like some internal circle jerk confirming how l33t sangs they are. If you can’t get donors, fuck you, you don’t deserve it (essentially).

Yes, there is a need to compare the need for blood in terms of need, symptoms among other things. For basic scientific inquiry, this is necessary. You need to have people who are alike to have any frame of reference. This has always been the case. However, it’s not to decide who is genuine enough to be allowed in or who is credible. It’s not our place to decide that, or to talk down to people whose need may differ from our own. There is a lot of space on the internet for all types of people.

I have no intention of ‘kissing VCN ass’. Saying that, I do not think there is a problem with having allies. I do not think that proximity to the VC is harmful. The VC can provide referrals, leads, among other things. Some cross-over is necessary so people actually find us. Locking ourselves up on an island means we are in a position to help precisely no-one. Removing ourselves from these spaces meant that we hardly helped anyone for a period of almost two years. More people have found us and reached out for help than ever before. Medical research is a long-term goal, but support is something we can offer right now.

The author then goes to say that my nature has been taken advantage of and repurposed. I am not some tool to be repurposed for political agenda. I care deeply about what I do and the people I serve. I try my best to do what I think is the right thing and for the greater good in every decision I make. I do not do it for appreciation; I do it because of what I went through growing up alone as a sanguivore. It was deeply traumatic for me and almost cost me my life when I was 15 years old. I am driven with great passion to do my best to provide for sanguivores and advocate for us publicly. I do have purpose and I do feel a sense of urgency and need on my shoulders. That is simply because I care. I honestly have no desire or interest for anyone to kiss my ass. To the contrary, it makes me extremely uncomfortable. I seek to serve a cause I care about, not to have people brown nosing me. With regards to the, ahem, ‘EMWs’ in TRC, I am simply happy they feel comfortable to share their experiences and can seek us out for blood support. We do not need to be an echo chamber and it makes me truly happy when people find what they need in us. Non med-sangs are not ‘junk food’ or a cancer that needs to be purged from the ‘TRC body’. I’m also not a ‘head of the body’ – we are not an autocracy. We are a horizontal organization with a collective of leaders. The Discord server has 5 admins, all of whom vote on our direction, rules, and all key decisions about the server.

Conclusion

To wrap this up, I want to say I regret that this vitriol came from within the TRC server. We do not support bigotry, hatred, or abuse. It is not our place to criticize your personal gnosis or how you choose to identify. Our focus is on those who blood feed regardless of how they identify or practice. We will continue to inquire about the nature of our condition, to provide a safe haven for those who perceive their condition from a physiological lens, and be good neighbours and allies to those who have different life experiences from us.

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Donors Are Friends, Not Food

NoFoodSign

 

Yeah, yeah, I get it. You are Teh Uber Lord McDarkity Vamp, the supreme deluxe predator, and everyone else is either food or fucktoy. But let’s get real for a minute. Donors are not cheeseburgers and chattel slavery is so 1860. If you’re dreaming of 69 red silk kitten porn stars begging to wear your pearl necklace, you’re going to be disappointed, sparky. That’s not how any of this works. You can’t head over to the nearest McDonor’s and order up a super jumbo size Happy Ending Meal. You may think you worship at the altar of the apex predator but the reality is that you’re a dick unless you give donors the respect they deserve. And that means seeing them as human beings with agency first, last, and always.

Now I know words that have more than one syllable, like “agency”, are difficult for you to understand. It’s okay, reading is hard. Think of it this way: You are not the boss of a donor.¹ Donors are independent people capable of making free choices. Donors have rights and they deserve to have those rights respected at all times. You need them more than they need you, so try not to be too big of a douchecanoe. There are no shortcuts to finding a person willing to let you drink their blood or energy. You’re going to have to take the radical approach of being a person worthy of earning a donor’s trust. Objectifying donors and referring to them as “food” or as a resource you can “farm” without their consent² is degrading. Knock it the fuck off.

Right about now you’re probably getting your panties in a twist and screaming “you’re not the boss of me.” And you’re right, I’m not. Guess what – I’mma still call you out, motherfucker. Because your attitude is fucked up. This isn’t about dictating what happens between consenting adults. It’s about recognizing the dignity of other human beings. Donors are not prey animals and you are not a wolf, a shark, a good shepherd or whatever pseudo-naturalistic fantasy you’ve concocted for yourself. But this article really isn’t for you. 

This article is for everyone else. The GVC has not cornered the market on predators. Not even close. There are predators at the library and the supermarket and in the cubicle across the office. This is for the people who think your busted-ass bullshit is normal because that’s the dynamic they saw growing up and it continues to play out in their relationships to this day. Or the ones who think it’s normal because that’s the only experience they’ve had with the GVC and they don’t know any better.

This. Is. Not. Normal. This is abuse, plain and simple.

The same goes for anyone who says donors should “know their place” or that donors have no right to speak and should not expect to have a voice in the GVC, despite the undeniable fact that what happens in the GVC impacts donors just as much as it does vampires. Someone who espouses this attitude isn’t likely to change. They’re beyond hope, a lost cause. But this attitude is all too common in the GVC and it needs to stop. Seriously, if someone you know expresses this sort of attitude, run the hell away. This is three gallons of craycray in a 2-gallon bucket and you don’t need that mess in your life.

 

¹ Even in the context of a BDSM relationship, both partners have power. Otherwise, there could be no power exchange. A partner who identifies as submissive or a slave still has the power to say “no.” Even if the individual has agreed to a total power exchange, the submissive partner can end the relationship if the dominant partner disregards or violates the negotiated boundaries.

² Consent is a mutual agreement about what will happen which is entered into without manipulation or coercion by either party.

If you or someone you know has experienced consent violations, including sexual assault or domestic violence, these resources can provide more information. Some of them may be able to help get you or your loved one to safety.


RAINN: https://www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent

Submissive’s Bill of Rights: https://friskybusinessboutique.com/consent-in-bdsm-the-submissives-bill-of-rights/

NCSFreedom: https://www.ncsfreedom.org/component/k2/item/580-consent-and-bdsm-the-state-of-the-law

Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/healthy-relationships/consent/