Good evening to all our readers. In all the time that RVN has been operating we have focussed on the vampires view of the sub-culture and the views and opinions of members of the VC/OVC. We came to the realisation, on or about the 3rd of August this year, that we had not addressed ourselves to one of the most vital components of the whole picture ~ the ‘Swans’ or Donors who give of themselves that vampires might maintain themselves and be fit and well.
It is true that, in a large part, the ‘Swans’ tend to get forgotten to some extent in the whirl and bustle of vampire society, most vampires recognise the inherent value of the relationship with their donors, nearly all vampires recognise that without these donors they will probably not be completely well, fit and happy. There are, however, a few who believe that donors are second class citizens in the culture and this is perhaps the most abhorrent attitude that appears from time to time.
With all this said, and in mind, we decided to rectify our unforgivable oversight and we invited three, highly respected community members as our special guests to join us with the ‘Swans point of view’.
We are delighted, and honoured, to welcome to RVN Swan Queen, Acrophobic Pixie and Cheri.
RVN: Good evening and welcome, it is a great pleasure for us to be able to welcome you here ladies.
SQ: Good evening, thanks for having me.
AP: Thank you for having me.
C: Good evening.
RVN: To begin, would you tell us a little about yourself, how long you have been active in the VC/OVC and a bit about what have you been up to since you arrived?
SQ: Sure. I’m a Colorado native who has moved to Louisiana within the past year to be in a committed relationship with my vampire. When I’m not at work I’m busy persuing my hobby as a roller derby referee- I used to be a skater but my knees can’t take the abuse any more. I’ve been active in the OVC since my late 20’s- as far as the VC community goes, I haven’t been too active. To be honest, I haven’t been doing anything really as there doesn’t seem to be much “room” for us donors quite yet.
AP: I’ve been involved with the vampire community since my early teens, due to the fact that I have a sibling who is vampiric. I’ve been a member of many forums and websites over the years, but most notably the Black Swan Haven, which is my baby. I’m also a representative of the VVC (Voices of the Vampire Community), and have been for several years, now.
C: While I have been a donor for over 20 years, I have only been involved with the VC in a limited way for about the last 10 years, and the OVC only a few years. I have written a few articles on donors in various places, and have been involved in a few interviews, but most of my efforts in the OVC are centered on the one on one interactions with people and in the few places I am active online.
I plan on being a bit more active from now on in an effort to reach more potential donors, and to help them be as informed as they can be.
RVN: Would you mind sharing with us what type of “Swan” you are; that is sanguine, psi or other? And what term do you prefer be applied to it, swan or donor?
SQ: I am a sanguine swan. To me, the term “swan” is more poetic than anything so “donor” works.
AP: Swan, donor, it makes no difference to me. Technically, I would be considered an amber swan, since I’m available for both sang and psi donations, but primarily I’m a crystal swan (psi donor) for my primary vamp and my brother.
C: I donate both Psi/energy and Sang/blood, but I am primarily a Sang/ blood donor. And I much prefer the term donor over swan.
RVN: What was the catalyst that made you decide that you needed to find “vampires” and become Swans/Donors?
SQ: I always knew that I was different. When I reached my late twenties, I had what I can only describe as this intense yearning and ache deep within me. I couldn’t place my finger on it but I knew I had to do something about it. I tried burying it deep within me but it kept on surfacing to the top. I became so intent on finding real vampires then–I knew that there had to be more than what Hollywood and Anne Rice had to offer.
This was around the mid ’90s and the beginning of my true search. Eventually, literally after years of researching, reading (Katherine Ramsland), searching and sifting through the wannabes and online players I finally found the OVC, and also what exactly that yearning and ache was all about–I was a donor.
AP: Honestly? My brother was being a stubborn dumb ass. He was in the military, stationed overseas, and wasn’t able to find a donor. The night/club scene was either sketchy or non-existent, so he couldn’t skim off of the crowd effectively. He was slowly “starving” himself. So, I read some books, did some experiments, and learned how to do long distance psi feedings for him.
C: I did not actively seek vampires at the start. I had a good friend that lost his donor and asked me if I would be willing to donate to him. After that he introduced me to some of his friends and I learned of the need for safe and sane donors. I chose to continue being a donor after his un-timely death.
RVN: Swans/Donors are not usually as highly visible in the VC/OVC as their counterparts, why do you think this is? Is it a question of “a donor’s primary role” or “the elusive power behind the throne”?
SQ: I don’t think that we have “the elusive power behind the throne”. We just seem to be outnumbered. The few donors that do choose to speak up in certain circles are usually well received, however, there will always be those vampires that view us with disdain and feel that we don’t matter. I think that it’s this negative treatment that keeps the majority of donors from speaking up- they are intimated but that’s not the case for me. In regards to the OVC especially, since the majority of topics are geared towards vampires in general I know that I don’t have a say in most things as I am not a vampire and that I don’t know what they are going through- I can only sympathize.
AP: From what I’ve heard over the years from several vampires and donors is that quite a few donors peek into forums because their vamp is a member, and after they see some of the drama, back right out. The drama drives them away. Me, I could care less if what I say causes drama or not.
Now, my House that I was in was “ruled” by my older brother. As a non-vamp, I technically had no power on policy that didn’t concern donors and other non-vamps, but I would give him my opinion, and he respected me for it, whether he factored it in to his actions or not. Vice versa. He had no technical say on our policies, but I would take his opinion into consideration.
C: There are many reasons I have seen used by, and about donors to keep them from being visible in the community. I do not agree with most reasons, but, I also understand some of them. The community in general seems to love their donors, but many do not want them to be active and visible for what they feel are safety reasons. (safety for the vampire), or because they feel their donor may be “poached” if they are visible. There is also a small group of vampires that seem to feel they are “better than” or “above” their donors and have the right to dictate what they are allowed to do. This small section of the community seems to feel donors have no place in the general community. I disagree with these lines of reasoning, but respect their right to have those reasons. It still will not stop me from being active and open in the community.
RVN: Can you foresee a time when you will no longer wish to be a Swan/Donor?
SQ: Never. It is a vital part of who I am and it will never change.
AP: When I’m dead, or if my energy balances itself out on its own. I’m kind of like the opposite of a psi vamp. They don’t make enough energy; I make/gather too much energy. As long as there are vampires, there’s going to be people like me to balance them out, in my opinion.
C: I do not foresee such a time. I plan on being a donor unless my health would be at risk from doing it.
RVN: Do you, as Swans/Donors, have ‘contracts’ with more than one vampire at a time or is it an exclusive “contract”? And, which do you think is better?
SQ: Well, I can only answer for myself. I am the exclusive donor to my vamp. By nature I prefer one-on-one relationships because to me, involving any more people to the mix can get messy and complicated- I also feel that the more people that are in such a delicate situation, especially when blood is involved, there is a much higher risk to everyone’s health. I don’t think that any type of contract is any better than any other, it’s just a matter of personal choice.
AP: At this time, I have a primary vampire, in addition to a few others whom I have on the back burner for when my energy levels get too high, and it’d be too much to shove into my primary. One of the backup vamps is my brother, and the rest are close friends. My primary vamp has been in a donor/vamp relationship with me since 2006, and we’ve been friends since 04ish.
Which is better? Honestly, whatever floats your boat. If your body can handle the stress, and you’re doing it safely (especially blood donors, spacing out the feedings so you don’t donate more than the Red Cross suggests), that is fine, cool, and groovy. If it can’t handle it, cool. Stick with one.
C: I prefer to be exclusive on both sides of the situation. I do not like for the vampire I feed to have other donors. I have been part of a situation where they had more than one donor, but the other donor was someone I knew well and trusted as much as I trusted the vampire. I have also been a “fill-in” donor a few times when a donor friend was sick or unable to donate for a long period of time. I just prefer not to do such things.
RVN: How long have you been a Swan/Donor? And, has it ever become a ‘threatening’ situation?
SQ: I’ve been a swan for many years and an actual donor for almost a full year now. It has never been a threatening situation for me- quite the opposite actually. If it ever became a bad situation I’d be out so fast no one would ever know what had happened.
AP: I’ve been an active donor for about 13, maybe 14 years. Has it been threatening in those relationships? No. Nearly every vamp I’ve been partnered with is, or was, a member of my House, and therefore background checked, etc. Add in “protective big brother syndrome”, and you know I was doubly safe.
The only times being a donor in the VC has been threatening has been when I said something some vampires didn’t like, or when I started the Haven’s website. I’ve gotten death threats, told I didn’t know my place, how dare I say such a thing, what have you. I take precautions, of course, but, in the most part, I ignore most of those kinds of comments. They don’t know my vampires or me, nor the situations that have lead me to certain beliefs.
C: I have been a donor for over 21 years. I have never had a “threatening situation” happen from a real vampire. I have however had a bad situation happen with a Role Player that thought he was a 200 year old immortal vampire that was going to drain me dry to feed himself.
I learned from that situation to never agree to meet someone in private the first few times we meet.
RVN: What do you see as being absolutely necessary precautions in any Swan/Donor situation?
SQ: Safety, safety, safety! Always keep your well-being in mind both mentally and physically. Don’t take crazy risks and make sure that both you and your vampire do your research and know what you are doing. Also make sure that you are both disease free and mentally stable. There is always talk amongst vampires on watching out for “crazy donors”- well, it goes both ways people! There are unstable vampires and dangerous wanna-be vamps out there as well. Get to know the person/people you are going to be involved with- follow your gut instincts.
AP: Do some research first, people! A) Wanting Edward as your dream vampire isn’t going to happen. B) If sang donating, get your blood tested, and, if the vamp is putting mouth to open wound, take your vamp to the dentist to get checked out for things like periodontal disease. C) Do more research. D) Did I mention research? The more that you know about the vampire community, why vampires act in certain ways, how to not trigger your vamp to go into a “bloodgasm” or “twoof”, and what foods and drinks make for handy blood substitutes for you to keep in the house, the easier your life with your vampiric partner will be. Also, take a first aid course, and pay EXTRA attention to the wound care section! Learn what a wound looks like if you’ve cut too deep and need to be rushed to the ER, and when you can just clean it and slap on a band aid. E) If meeting a vampire in real life that you originally met online, take the basic steps for safety. Meet in a public place; bring a friend to sit at a neighbouring table to keep an eye on you. Get to know the vamp before going “Here, take my blood!” Basic common sense rules that everyone should know.
C: Get to know the vampire you intend to feed very well before you ever agree to a feeding. Always discuss all aspects of your situation before setting up that first feeding. Insist on both yourself and the vampire being tested for STD’s and other blood born illnesses.
RVN: Do you consider “donating” as an intimate exchange or simply a “transaction” between individuals?
SQ: For me it is definitely an intimate exchange. It is very personal and sweet between the two of us. I honestly couldn’t see myself being anyone else’s donor.
AP: Both. With my brother, it’s intimate because it strengthens our bond with each other. He’s the only vampiric sibling I’ve got (out of 6 siblings), and we’re closer to each other than we are to any of our other brothers and sisters. With my primary vamp it’s also intimate, because she’s a dear friend of mine.
On the other hand, my back burner vamps, who are also friends, it’s just a transaction. I am neither their normal donor, nor their back up. They are my back up vamps for when donating to my primary vamp just doesn’t cut it for me. A vampire can only take in so much, and if I’m full to bursting, and she’s topped off, I need another place to stick it.
C: For me donating is an intimate but not sexual exchange. It can be sexual if both parties wish for it to be, but it is not in itself sexual. I can and have donated to those that do not wish it to be more than a “transaction” but it is not how I prefer to do it.
RVN: Do you think that, or have you seen evidence of, Swans/Donors in long term “relationships” with vampires can begin to display vampiric characteristics themselves?
SQ: No. I feel that if the donor starts to display vampiric characteristics they may want to seek counselling on some level. The only way that I see this happening legitimately is if perhaps the donor is actually an unawakened vampire.
AP: I’ve heard of it happening. Sometimes it’s just for a few days, and other times, I’ve heard, it triggered a latent vampire to go through their awakening. Personally, the only “symptoms” I’ve had are from when a vampire over-feeds. Protein cravings that would make a pregnant woman cringe (Big Mac with a side of General Tso’s chicken, please!), headaches/migraines, symptoms of being dehydrated. All, for me, went away typically between 6-48 hours after the onset.
C: That is a loaded question.
I have seen donors that were donating more than they should donate, show vampiric tendencies for a short time. Sometimes they would act much like a new Psi vampire until their energy system recovered. But I have never seen a donor “become” a vampire because of a long term “relationship”
I could maybe see a Sang donor craving blood if they allow their iron to drop to a point that their body starts to seek it out in odd ways.
RVN: What advice would you offer to anyone considering becoming a Swan/Donor?
SQ: Take your time- don’t rush the process. Do a lot of research on what’s involved in becoming a responsible donor and then do some more. You can never have enough knowledge on this subject. . Two excellent starting points are www.blackswanhaven.org and www. sanguinarius.org. Do a lot of soul searching and examine your motives in wanting to become a donor- it’s not a game. Always keep your safety and mental well-being in mind. Become friends with other legitimate donors and ask questions as well. Being a donor is such a rewarding experience when shared with the right person and so worth it.
AP: Do some research, and then look deep inside yourself. Can you really do this? There’s nothing in the world like being a donor, and it can put a stress into your life that you might not expect. Donating, especially sanguine, is seen outwardly oftentimes as an intimate or sexual act. Is your partner (gf/bf/spouse) okay with this? If not, are you comfortable hiding it from him/her?
But, above all else, be SAFE. You can run down the street in your birthday suit, hang from the rafters, sing Lady Gaga songs in public, I don’t care. Just be safe. That’s all I ask.
C: Learn all you can about what a donor actually is and what a real vampire actually is. Understand your own limits and what you truly want to get out of being a donor. The last person you should ever lie to about your motives is yourself. If you are simply looking for the thrill of being a “vampire’s donor” then admit that to yourself. Then seek out a vampire looking for the same things you are seeking. It only leads to trouble if you try to be something you are not just to donate. And number one piece of advice I would give… Never let being a donor take over your life or become your entire identity. Be a solid person outside the community and let being a donor simply become a part of the overall person you are.
RVN: In summary, have you anything else you would like to add?
SQ: I would love to be a vital part of getting the word out for both experienced and prospective donors- I feel there is a strong need for more active support out there for us in the VC/OVC.
With regards to the comments made by VC/OVC member Ryu (Donor, Not a döner. On WordPress, Aug. 6th, 2012). Just like anyone else Ryu has the right to his own opinion. However, I have a right to mine as well. Seeing what he posted literally made me sick to my stomach. It is very demeaning to donors as we are all human just like all vampires are human. I have seen a lot of conversations on Facebook and other sites where vamps discuss on how fellow vamps have to be careful because many donors and potential donors are “crazy”- well, it goes both ways and his beliefs prove it. Then many vampires wonder why they have trouble finding “chew toys” or “cattle” for their needs.
As far as donors having a voice in most “vampiric” matters I personally don’t feel the need to have one but when it involves the safety of donors and donors in general you sure as hell bet that I do. I also believe that I have the right to voice my opinion on certain subjects that are brought up within the OVC. However, I have no desire to be a member of any House- it wouldn’t do anything for me and I don’t lose any sleep at night over not being in one either. It is what it is and I have no issue with that. What my main concern over this whole debaucle was the blatant disrespect for donors. I do not think that I am better than anyone else nor do I expect anyone to hold me in high regard because of what I am. All that I ask for is common courtesy and the chance to be heard on occasion. Treat me with courtesy and basic respect and I will show you the same but if you treat me like you are better than I am or come off with an unjustified attitude then I will return your attitude in kind regardless of your status.
As far as those (you know who you are) who think that you are “holier than thou” because you are “vampire” you honestly amuse me to no end. Just keep on playing your elitist card and your little role-play type attitudes and see where you eventually end up because the only ones that I feel sorry for are the ones that fall for your ego. I stand firmly in feeling this way and I will make no apologies for it.
Unfortunately there will always be those in any community that give the good members a bad name. Fortunately in my years of being a small part of this particular community I know many that are quite the opposite, many of whom I am blessed to call my friends.
AP: I love being a donor. Even if I weren’t “wired” to need to donate, I would probably still have ended up being a donor in some way, shape, or form. I’ve met some wonderful people because of it; have an awesome relationship with my big brother thanks to it, and more.
C: I take being a donor very seriously. I know that as a vampire’s donor, I am in a position of trust. They trust me to keep their secrets, to provide them with something they need, and to remain clean and healthy so I can continue to donate.
I feel that we, as donors, need to be a more active part of the general vampire community. The better informed we are about the issues affecting the vampires we support, the more efficient we can be as donors. We need to keep on top of the issues that may affect all of us, and by being active and visible in the community we put ourselves in a position to stay informed. My personal opinion is that well informed donors become long term safe, sane and sound donors. So many issues can be avoided if the person considering being a donor has someone visible to go to too ask questions and seek advice about things.
RVN: Thank you very much for sharing your insights, opinions and valuable time with us this evening.
SQ: Thank you, it’s been a pleasure.
AP: I’m happy to have been here. Thank you for inviting me.
C: Thank you for asking me to participate.
They are the vampire’s friends, lovers, mates and spouses, a truly special sort of people who provide the vampire with the means of keeping well. The truth of this relationship runs deeper than just convenience, the truth of the matter is that without the ‘Swans’ or Donors, vampires everywhere would be in a pretty poor and pitiful way.
The donors deserve the deepest respect and a special regard for what they willingly give to others.
© RVN, Swan Queen, Acrophobic Pixie, Cheri 2012
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