Leatherati transgender Seriesby Sir Loki Madmonk
I know that the majority of people in America have only been knowingly exposed to Transpeople from sensationalist media portraying us as some kind of weird anomaly. The fact is somewhere between 1 in 250 to 1 in 500 people are born transgender (Source). Shows like Oprah, Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, and Taboo are not representative of who we are. Is Jerry Springer representative of who you are? I didn’t think so. However people based on this and willful ignorance make sweeping judgments on an entire population of people just trying to get by.
The reality for the majority of people living with being transgender or having an inter-sexed condition means discrimination in housing. Your landlord can throw you out for being trans. Discrimination when it comes to accommodations, you can be arrested for using the bathroom even after transition and listed as a sex offender. Discrimination as those who are transgender are underemployed or deemed unemployable if we don’t pass as being completely masculine or feminine.
It means being forced to live in the closet (or stealth) if we are undetectable. I myself was hired for a job only to be turned away form the door a week later at orientation because my background check did an SSI trance that clocked me as being trans. And before you go thinking that it was some bigoted company run by the radical right. No it wasn’t. It was Target. The same Target on the HRC list of “good” companies for the community (Source). They got away with it too because gender identity wasn’t protected under the law in the state I lived in, so their “non” discrimination policy didn’t matter because the LAW didn’t hold them accountable.
If we are easily clocked it means the very real possibility of having to experience living on the street and being subjected to violence and murder. In my lifetime I have had two friends of mine murdered. Google transgender news and every day there are tons of new reports of transpeople murdered. The authorities recently found a transmen in the dumpster after he was beaten to death and raped in the course of a mugging when the attackers found out he was trans.
We are not all Chaz Bono with a rich family paying for our transitions. The majority of us can only go so far due the cost and being forced to be under employed. Then we are judged harshly by the ignorant because we don’t “pass enough” for their liking.
Roughly 41 percent of transpeople attempt to commit suicide (source: http://nnlm.gov/bhic/2011/02/08/transgender-suicide-rates/) . I am a statistic. When I was 17 I tried to kill myself. I was bullied due to my gender presentation. I was jumped in the bathroom repeatedly. I fought back, yet I was the one in trouble. I couldn’t have normal relationships with other kids and when puberty hit I was in such a constant state of body hatred and dysmorphia, that I would rather die than live one more second of that hell. This was pre internet days. Back then I thought I was the only one on the planet this way. When people called me a freak, I believed them. How can you argue when you’re the only one? My grades suffered and I went form an A student to D student. How do you concentrate on class work when you’re constantly watching your back?
This is why the T is in LGBT. Being trans today is what it was to be homosexual during the Anita Bryant days. Perceived sexual identity affects more than just trans people. It affects feminine men, be they hetero or homosexual. It affects perceived masculine women, be they hetero or homosexual. It affects YOU. It is the crux of what bigots uses to deny all of us our rights, putting us in the “freak” category. Just as the mainstream heterosexual population erases your history and glosses over the sexuality of the achievements of great gays and lesbians, denies you marriage rights, denies you adoptions, denies you jobs, puts you in the “freak” category. I see way too many Gays and Lesbians doing the same to Transgendered people. As hetero-bigots say something is “gay” to mean something is lame, stupid or effeminate, I flip on the TV and see cisgendered gays saying something is “so tranny” to refer to something being cheap, trashy or whorish. I see people in pride committees trying to bar Transgender contingents in the pride marches but want us to work the booth and volunteer.
Brothers and Sisters when you do this, when you discriminate and put people down as other or less than, you are becoming the thing you are fighting against.
What does all this have to do with leather? Everything.
When gay men formed bike clubs back in the day it was not to be dickheads and treat people nonconsensually like shit. It was to get on their bikes, drive to the woods, and fuck without getting arrested. That’s it the whole point of the “old guard”. Not castle realm in the sky, BDSM torture houses, or memorizing 1000 slave positions. That is all fetishes. That is not the point of leather. The point is to BE WHO YOU ARE without apology, LOVE WHO YOU LOVE without apology, and FUCK HOW YOU WANT TO FUCK without apology. Make friends and lovers with those who feel the same way, who share your values.
I am a gay man. I was also born a transsexual. I knew I was this way when I was three years old and lived with the torture of it every day till my adulthood when I transitioned. Although I am now happy with my body the rest of society isn’t. I have been outed at the bars I was shining at in a bid to discredit my right to be there. I have had my personal medical history spread around the community for me. I have had my boyfriends bullied for being with me and have been cock blocked repeatedly.
When leather came to me I was in the lowest point of my life and leather and S&M freed me. I was able to love another human being and be free of the pain of my body’s limitations because I now had an avenue to express myself sexually with a smorgasbord of techniques. After a couple of years hiding in the shadows of the bar bootblacking. Leather built me up and made me a better man. A stronger man.
I then decided to compete for International Mr. Bootblack. To most men not in my situation running for a title is about making money for a charity, or getting a discounted vacation to where ever the event it. To some it is about stroking their egos, prancing about half naked an cruising. Or just lending energies and just having fun.
When I competed, I competed as man with other men. I competed with my brothers as equals. I work with them. I shine with them. I volunteer with them. It’s scariest most rewarding thing I ever did. In that moment while guys are trying to get a sash. I am saying something powerful. Yet simple.
I am a man. Period.
Sir Loki Madmonk is traveling bootblack who is usually found keeping himself busy, Bootblacking and working on local and International events. He started his obsession with bootblacking in 1998 in Norfolk VA. When his
brother with whom he was living with joined the navy and was too lazy to do his own boots. Soon Loki was doing boots for over 20 sailors. In 2001 he moved to Saint Louis and went to his first leather and bear bar and was hooked. He quickly developed and interest in a number of sadistic kinks and fetishes and noticing the empty chair stood up to fill the void. He specializes exotics skins, all colors of leather, Garments, restoration, mold removal, Minor repairs. Loki is “Mama’s Bootblack Loki”, Central Plains Community Bootblack 2012,
International Mr. Bootblack 2nd Runner Up 2011, Treasurer of the Bootblack Brigade, Associate member of Blue Max CC and La Garou.