Camel Gupta


Camel Gupta is a voluntary mental health worker and client, a journalist, activist and independent scholar. She receives UK state benefits for mental health issues and depression. She writes on counselling and psychotherapy, queer theory, SM, contemporary art and performance.

She lives in Brighton, UK and is involved in a number of Queer, LGBT, BME (Black British and British Asian) LBGT and Bi activism projects as well as working in various mental health organisations.

She regards labels as useful to give the beginnings of an idea, but prefers to see them as vague indicators of narratives that she inhabits rather than fixed markers of ‘true’ identity.
Labels that apply at various times include:
British Asian, Queer, Counselling client, Genderqueer, Non-monogamous, Bisexual, Sadomasochist, Researcher, Depression sufferer, Counselling professional, Polyamorous, Academic, Writer, Switch.

She looks forward to meeting you!


Her Workshops
The Power of Play - The healing potentials in S/M
Ever tried wearing cuffs under your work suit to a stressful meeting?
Ever found yourself replaying traumatic events in scene with your partner? Or decided to do so?
Ever used painplay to distract yourself from illness-related pain?

In this series of workshops we’re going to be exploring ways in which we use SM to do therapeutic work.

NOTE: I am not advocating SM as a replacement for physical or emotional therapy.

The first two sessions will be identical, and open to all, with the third session open only to those who have attended one of the earlier sessions. The introductory sessions will involve us exploring ways in which we and others have used SM consciously or less so, in ways which have therapeutic power.

I’ll be presenting some ideas of healing and harm in SM representations, both mainstream and community-based. I’ll be showing some of the work of Bob Flanagan, an American masochist, performance artist and sufferer from Cystic Fibrosis who attributed his survival long beyond medical predictions to his masochism.

I’ll demonstrate some of my own uses of SM for healing, and will be inviting you to discuss and/or show yours. Physical, emotional, spiritual and all other forms of healing are relevant, please bring along your ideas!

We will also be looking at how in SM we take back power over our selves. Selves often stigmatised as ‘perverted’, ‘queer’, ‘damaged’, ‘dangerous’. Looking at how refusing and taking power from these judgements can be part of the healing power of SM, personally, socially and politically. SM can provide spaces to explore, question and undermine some very powerful dogmas, for example those around gender and power

The closed session will be for us to safely explore these ideas and perhaps show each other some of the SM we do, and to, in confidence, discuss some of the ways our SM is healing as well as ways of protecting ourselves.

This session will be less structured, a space to try out ideas, play, and perform, and will be open to anyone who has attended one of the introductory sessions.
Healing and nurturing ourselves involves setting up boundaries and protections, which is why the third session will be closed. I’m aiming for us to together create a place of relative safety from which we can investigate healing and experience our power.

My work so far has been very UK-focussed, and I’m looking forward very much to learning about how these issues play out in international contexts.