SA Leather Talks Race, Racism and Apartheid: Part 1

"by Jaco Lourens-I was born in Pretoria in the height of the struggle of against apartheid, little did I know that all this craziness was around me. I grew up in a small town called Newcastle, a miner's town. My earliest memory of meeting someone of colour was our maid who would come and clean our home once a week, besides her, I never met anyone really, as the group area's act was in place. Being raised well with manners to be friendly to everyone, I would see people of colour in the street, one would smile and go on with your own business. One particular day my dad got a man to come clean and shape up our garden, and he brought his son with, Thabo, he was a year younger than me, I was very happy to see someone else to play with me, and in the dirt with my toy cars."

By |February 28th, 2015|Opinion, People|0 Comments

Walk Like an Egyptian: Reflections on Racism from an Immigrant Perspective

"by Ahmad Refky- When I was first approached about writing a piece for this series, I was a bit bewildered about where to start. How do I sum up everything I feel about race relations into one article? How do I sum up 14 year of experience as an immigrant into one coherent piece that articulates my views on race in the United States without offending or alienating everybody in the process? The truth is I can’t!"

By |February 27th, 2015|Opinion, People|0 Comments

Coming Out As An Ally

"By Ruff Wray I have spent the past two weeks being angry. I’ve been seeing the reports of the lack of indictments for Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The anger is for two reasons. One is the lack of even a pretense of justice. The other is how other white people have reacted. Many have been as outraged as I am and taking action. Joining protests, engaging others, doing what they can to boost the signal. Others… they don’t see the problem. They think the grand juries made the right decision or since it’s done it’s over. Or they don’t see the point of protesting. Even better, they’re angry that the protests are in their way."

By |February 26th, 2015|Opinion, People|0 Comments

Tolerance Is Overrated

"by Tobin Britton When first asked to contribute to this peace I’ll admit I had hesitation. It came on the cusp of insane rulings that have the Black Nation reeling and those of us, including myself, who have firsthand experience of, or witness to, police brutality feeling fearful and enraged. I have my own personal accounts I could relate but I have decided that is not my goal today. I need no sympathy, we now have awareness. The awareness of the Nation. What we have apparently needed, to remind people that racism in all of its insidious forms is in no way, dead. It had been sort of, swept under the rug in the wake of gains in the 60’s and 70’s. We thought we had come out victorious with sweeping cries of tolerance and Jim Crows laws struck down. Desegregation and the mixing of races on a daily basis had us fooled because of” tolerance”. You read that correctly, tolerance. I’m sure you are thinking, “what could possibly be wrong with tolerance?”."

By |February 25th, 2015|Opinion, People|0 Comments

Titleholder Problems-When Race Is Thrown in The Mix

" By Ramien Pierre- Part of my titleholder privilege is unearned acceptance when I go into most leather spaces, so I’m often insulated from moments when my race is conspicuous. But I’ve had a few since being named IML. These moments occur frequently enough to me and other leather men of color that I can’t dismiss them. None of these were riot-worthy or chair-throwing incidents. And without knowing the hearts and minds of the other people involved, I wouldn't even call them “racial” incidents. But they were definitely moments when I was reminded that, as a black gay Leatherman, I’m a member of a sub-culture within a sub-culture within a sub-culture."

By |February 24th, 2015|Opinion, People|4 Comments

Sit Down. Shut Up. Listen.

"I don't talk about this much because I always feel like I am preaching, admonishing, whining or shaming. None of them are my intention. I want to talk about reality. Just because there are more (not a lot compared to the years of contests and entertainment history) POC on tv or leather titleholders does not mean there is not racism in our community. Racism has never gone away. Some is blatant. Some is covert. All is insidious. I have known Schon for thirty-three years, been a couple for 25...there is not a day, A DAY, that goes by that don't fear for her. As an African American and Blackfeet butch living in Southern Minnesota (the entire community of colour is about 5% of population and the John Birch society flourished) she was not safe. For the ten years we lived deep in the country, I would worry every night until she got home. She is constantly time challenged and some days by the time she got home I was pretty much hysterical. She looks like a black man. They kill black men. Everywhere. "

By |February 23rd, 2015|Opinion, People|0 Comments

Do Good Tops Really Start on the Bottom?

Rummaging through the storehouse of old leather half-truisms (“Slaves are submissive,” “Masters have had years of training and study”), we inevitably come across this one: “To be a good Top, you must start at the bottom.” No one tells architects they must start out by bashing their thumbs with a hammer. Still, I worked my […]

By |February 1st, 2015|Opinion, People|1 Comment

On Lineage

"Most of the time when people speak and write of Old Guard values and protocols, a heated debate ensues, with one or more of our kinfolk ending up feeling insulted and no one finding consensus about the topic. Basically, we agree to disagree and we go back to our own lives creating more memories, adding to our journeys. Leather Culture is an endless amount of experiences that are developed from many rituals, traditions, scenes, and learned skill sets, many of which have been passed down from person to person. I think the one thing that many will agree on when it comes to Leather and our defining of Le Olde Guarde, is that we want to identify those aspects that individuals can hold on to and proudly say that, “Yes! These things are what made me who I am as a Leatherperson!” We want to give and pass down our most coveted items and memories to those deserving Leatherfolk so that our cultural carbon footprints are not forgotten, so that some tiny part of us lives on. But what is it really that we are passing down and preserving? And thus, I want to talk about lineage."

By |January 27th, 2015|Opinion, People|0 Comments

Beyond Judging

by Tyesha Best

Even as many use the title holding system to obtain their platform and their voice, we have started to question how heavily we rely on this system for activists and leaders for our community. One of the most important components of the title holding system is our judges. Judges are chosen based on […]

By |January 15th, 2015|Community, Contests, Opinion, People|1 Comment

TIDINGS OF SERVICE AND JOY

I was having tea with Sybil Holiday — well, we call it “tea,” but I don’t have tea, only partly because I’m not thirsty. It might seem rude to accept an invitation to tea and then decline tea when it’s offered, but I don’t want to ask a lady in a wheelchair to serve me. […]

By |December 26th, 2014|Community, Opinion, People|0 Comments

Sources of power

Fairly obviously, BDSM and leather have to do with power. This is why we talk about power exchange, why we talk about dominance and submission, and why we talk about mastery and slavery. They all have to do with power.

But what sort of power?

One of the more obvious answers for many people is that the […]

By |November 26th, 2014|Opinion|0 Comments

Forging Bonds of Intimacy: Mind, Body and Soul

"The happiness flows as we exchange our travel stories, share the judges table, sit with each other in our classes, and help with fundraisers. But what happens when we come home from our social and political activities, close our front doors and rely on our virtual and local surroundings? The number of suicides has our community both surprised and alarmed. What can we do to strengthen the connections with each other? What can we do to be there for each other during times of duress and sadness? The mental health of our community has become a hot topic and now, there are two positive causes that are developing in our community when it comes to addressing mental health and suicides in our community: We Are Here Suicide Hotline and 'Project Touch Base'."

By |November 18th, 2014|Current Affairs, Interviews, News, Opinion, People|0 Comments