“Over the course of the past 20 years I have seen the Leather BDSM scene go from just that to a more relaxed, stand and model scene. Hearing leaders in the Leather community preach against what we once stood for, allowing a Leather bar to become a drag show on weekends, etc. How do we as a Leather Community get back to where we were.”
Is “Where we were” such a good place to go back to? Let’s look at a few examples of what I mean. Traditionally “Pretty boys” were not invited to the party. I happen to like attractive young men, and some of them are pretty damn kinky, but we’ll never find out because they are too “twinkish,” to “gymish,” have too much product in their hair, are too young to understand our traditions and codes, etc. Traditionally, women were not invited to the party. I happen to know a few kinky woman that can take a beating better than some men and I know, and dish out their own level of pain and fun. Traditionally, drag queens were not invited to the party. I happen to know some men who are very kinky and deeply imbedded in the Leather/BDSM scene, who happen to put on dresses and wigs to make money, or raise money for charity.
While I will agree that the people I am talking about above are the exception to the rule, we never know when the person I’m talking about will grow up to become the next Jeffrey Payne, the female equivalent of Guy Baldwin, or take of his wig and dress and morph into the next Chuck Renslow. By discouraging them now, we could be shooting ourselves in the foot in the future. Who is going to carry on our most sacred traditions if we don’t grab that hot stand and model boy in a poorly fitting harness, and a) teach him to wear it, and b) teach him what wearing it means to us. Of course, we encounter a few problems with this: Many times the “price of knowledge” is sex. The potential leather man says “I don’t want to sleep with you” and the current leather man hears “I don’t want your knowledge, I don’t care to learn it.” The problem with having a “Good Ol’ Boys Club” is that when all the old members die, their sacred traditions and knowledge die with them. The problem with “charging” admission and making potential new members pay with sex, is that they may reject us and our knowledge because they are not physically attracted to the teacher.
We were once an exclusive, dark and secret, underground, loosely organized (if at all) “community.” The problem is, the secret’s out. Documentaries have been filmed about us, tourism boards recognize some of our biggest events as major money makers in their cities, bdsm searches on google pull up hundreds of thousands of resources – everything from blogs of practitioners to critiques of “recent, popular novels.” The truth is, that pretty boy I mentioned earlier, he may grow up and become very skilled, very kinky, and one of the most sought after men in the scene. The question is, which community is he going to belong to? The one that charged admission, or yelled at him when his first attempt was not perfect? Or the one he created himself because he couldn’t find what he was looking for when he went to the leather bar the first time.
On another note, having been a Stand and Model person before: Sometimes it’s an invitation for you to start a conversation. People don’t always know who to approach, and what to say. You, the leather bar regular, know who’s new, so why not get him talking?As for the drag shows in our leather bars: It’s simple math. If Jessie Mya Jewels can bring in a crowd of 20 followers to watch her perform, and they have three drinks each, at $4.00 per drink (seems to be the Phoenix average, based on my own personal research) the bar brings in $240 for allowing Jessie to be there. If Kenneth Anthony brings in four friends and they have two drinks each, then the bar brings in $32 for catering to Kenneth. Who should the bar cater to? Kenneth may be a leather man in a leather bar, but is he supporting the bar in the same way he expects the bar to support him? Food for thought.