Tag Archives: Community

December 2, 2013

“Hey there Daddy Kenneth,

“Is it possible for someone with a casual interest in leather/kink to fill a title-holding role in the leather/kink community?

“[I recently attended a leather contest weekend] – it was an incredible event and I met quite a few very cool people. But I’m not a hard-core leather/kink person – I love it all, from bondage, water sports, fisting, fire play, flogging, CBT, etc. But I just don’t carry these fetishes around with me all the time – they’re a casual interest of mine that I pursue when I’m in the mood and with the right people.

“The majority of individuals I met at the competition seem to have deeply integrated their fetishes into their self-identification, and that’s something I’ve never done and don’t really see a need to do.

“However, I still enjoy being active and involved in these various leather and kink events, and I’d like to see them become more mainstream and accepted by the general population. I just feel like my casual approach to leather and kink in my personal life would be a deterrent from ever filing one of these highly visible roles.

“Or do most of these people feel the same way I do, but they just build a persona around a particular fetish for filling these roles in the community?”

I have seen newcomers to the BDSM Leather Scene win leather titles (because they studied hard, found the right contest mentor, and looked really good in the leather they recently purchased or borrowed for the contest) who went on to become integral to their local scene. I’ve seen title holders who were active before their contest disappear after their title year (or in some cases before the end of their title year.) Title holding is a test of your heart more than it is a test of your kinks, and unfortunately too many title holders are busy “preserving a public image,” fund raising or fulfilling their contact duties to actually participate in their favorite kinks or fetishes. It’s ironic and a tad sad that many title holders don’t get to do their favorite things while they are holding that title. So, in short, yes; yes it is possible for a new BDSM/Fetish/Leather person to hold a title, whether s/he is a weekend warrior, or a 24/7 community member.

The concept of “casual” vs “hardcore” leather people needs to stop. It is just another artificial divide that creates an “us vs them” mentality, and gives us an excuse to not reach out and talk to and mentor people. It’s a sign of laziness. Whatever it is that you do, whatever it is that you like, it is more “hardcore” than some people and less “hardcore” than others. Some folks who consider themselves “hardcore” won’t even consider a casual relationship with water sports, and even though all my formal leather is trimmed in yellow, I don’t piss on people when I’m at work. In fact, no matter how much it turns me on to piss on people, I rarely do it at all. I have to be at a dedicated water sports event usually, which I do once or twice a year at most (if I’m lucky.)

Whether or not you engage in your fetishes on a daily basis, a weekly basis, an annual basis, or only when Uranus is in retrograde, it is your fetish and you carry it around with you wherever you go. If being a leather person is in your heart and you believe in community, trust, honor, respect, family and support then you can be a part of this community. It really doesn’t matter what gear you have, or how big your toy collection is, or how often you engage in those fetish activities. I’ve seen a hot leather man in gym shorts and gym shoes pull off a hot impromptu leather scene with his partner’s bootlace and belt while the fully “dressed” guy with all the right gear and accessories stood helplessly by and didn’t know what the fuck to do.

The majority of people that you are going to meet at a competition are expressing a part of themselves that they only get a chance to express occasionally, so they tend to be “in the mood,” and surrounded by all the “right people.” To the person who is new to the scene, this creates a deceptive perception of how these people are in their day to day lives. I can go for weeks, sometimes even months without getting my rope out, and then suddenly one night I might tie up six different people. Is my interest in rope casual or hardcore? Sometimes our fetish-selves spill over into our mundane lives, for instance I wear my boots to – well almost everywhere.

If you chose to try to become a leather title holder, you will have to remember a few things: Title holder exist to support their community, not the other way around. Your community will expect you to become a visible advocate for them, that’s why they usually give you a patch to put on your vest, a medal to put around your neck, and/or a sash to wear. They want you to wear these things and represent the title they’ve given you, and answer questions. Get yourself a mentor, get yourself some gear, get yourself a platform and go have fun! Remember that competing and making friends is half the reason to do it, winning is just the other half.As for mainstream acceptance: I think this is one of the cases where tolerance is better because sometimes they don’t want us, and we don’t want them. It also makes it somewhat sexier to be part of something that is “dark” and “dirty.” It tickles me when people are afraid to go to the leather bar, because we’re all scary folks in leather. It preserves a part of the fantasy for me.

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November 18, 2013

“Many of the dominant nature claim the word ‘daddy’, ‘sir’, and ‘master’, while those considered submissive claim ‘boy’, ‘pup’, or ‘sub’. When is it appropriate to call someone by their ‘community’ name as opposed to their birth name? I suppose it varies among individual too.”

Daddy Kenneth Whenever possible, I interact with someone using the name they used when they were introduced to me. I do this because it is polite to do so, and a show of respect to the person who I am interacting with. There are occasions when I am not comfortable using a “community name” to address someone. When that occurs, I typically ask that person for an alternative name to call them. It shows good manners on their part to provide me with an alternative when I request it.

When I am outside the community, I tend to drop the “community” portion of the name, and address someone by their (presumably) given name. Daddy Kenneth becomes Kenneth when I run into him at Safeway. This is out of respect for the person’s privacy. A good rule of thumb is to assume that both your grandmother, and their grandmother are present, and treat the other person the way they would expect you to.

All of that said, some people abuse “community names”, by using them as non-consensual power plays. When a person insists that everyone he knows, regardless of their relationships or community standings, address him as Sir So-and-so; he is demanding the respect that title implies, instead of requesting it. Likewise, people have a tendency to use “boy” or “slave” in a derogatory or disrespectful manner, implying a power exchange relationship that the boy or slave did not consent to.One of the greatest tenants of our community is respect. This includes respect for yourself, and all your fellow human beings. The way I see it, what you do doesn’t matter nearly as much as how you do it. As long as you are doing it with respect you should be good to go. But remember that respect is a two way street, and if the person you are interacting with is disrespectful to you, you are under no obligation to continue to respect them.

September 9, 2013

“Dear Daddy Kenneth, I’m afraid while I was living in Tucson I was donating plasma not for the money but the knowledge that I was helping others out in life so much of my identity in life has been being the shoulder to cry on and the helping hand but back in April I got a call from CSL Plasma that I was HIV positive. I went to a HIV center in Tucson to get tested again and that came back negative I believe I don’t have HIV but since April I have lost me I’m afraid to help others out I’m afraid I will screw up I want to know if you can give me some advice to help me find me again that sweet guy who wasn’t afraid to help.”

Donating Plasma is only one way to help those in your community who are in need. Most communities have programs where you can help feed the homeless, mentor youth, visit elderly shut-ins, or provide clothing and school supplies for those in need. If your identity is based on your ability to help others, diversify your charitable portfolio. Sitting in a chair with a needle in your arm for 30 minutes every 3-4 weeks, and getting paid for it, is not the only thing that you have to give to your community. Many of the options I listed above don’t involve exposing others to potentially deadly blood-born pathogens.

Those in charge of the nations blood supply are hyper aware of contaminants in that blood supply, so if their preliminary tests suggest that there is a dangerous contaminant, they probably investigated fully and retested the sample to make sure that their initial findings were accurate, before they called you. After all, they paid you for a product, and you already cashed the check. They are not going to throw out that product, unless they are absolutely certain that the product is not good. Conversely, the tests used by the HIV clinics are limited. This is why a clinic will tell you to come back and get tested again after three or six months if you believe you might have been exposed to HIV. The initial test may register a negative result, but that does not mean that you are in fact, HIV-negative.

If you would like to assist others in life, look into volunteer options. Talk to your local drag queens and ask if they need assistance with their next benefit. You could sell raffle tickets, or jello shots. Talk with your local HIV Clinic and find out if they need someone to assist with on-site testing when they go out into the community. Speak with your local pride board to find out if there are any volunteer options that you can pursue. Speak to your local food bank and determine if you can assist there. Join a Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization and spend time with a young person who needs adult guidance. Your life of service is not over simply because you cannot donate plasma anymore.As for your HIV Status, I advise you to go back and get tested again. As it’s been 5 months since your last test, you should get pretty accurate results from that time period. Of course those results won’t be accurate if you’ve engaged in any high risk behaviors since your last test, but at least you’ll know if the CSL Plasma result was accurate. I always advise negative people to do what they can to stay that way, that means knowing your status, knowing your partner’s status, and knowing what options and tools in the fight against the spread of HIV work for you and your partner. The simplest and easiest method for most people is a condom, used properly, every time you have sex.

August 1, 2013

“Do we have to call you ‘Daddy Kenneth’? Because if so, it might distract from the issue at hand. Some might think it’s a turn on.”

Typically when someone in the BDSM/Leather Scene introduces themselves with a moniker, they are giving you information: this is my “role” in this community, this is what I prefer to be called, and this is how people know me. That information is valuable if, for instance, you need to get hold of someone later. Asking around for “Daddy John” can be more effective than asking for “John Smith” especially if the community has started to use these monikers to distinguish between people who have the same or similar names. In a new community you might meet Master Bob, boy robert, and slave rob on the same night. Saying you want to do a scene with Robert might get you in trouble if you aren’t more specific about who you are referring to.

I have had many people in the community balk at my moniker when they first meet me. I don’t “look like a Daddy” or they “cannot call someone so much younger than [them] ‘Daddy’.” Believe it or not, I am okay with that, as long as they are respectful about it. I’ve had people say, “I’m not really comfortable calling you ‘Daddy’, is there something else I can call you?” To which I reply, “Kenneth is fine.” On the other hand, if you’re rude about it: “I’m not going to call you ‘Daddy’ you’re a ‘boy’ to me.” I am not going to be nice, or respectful back to you. Also, you can expect that kind of disrespect to get around to others in the community, as many of us talk to each other.

I will not deny that there is disrespect on the other side of the moniker, when people say things like: “You WILL call me ‘Grand Master Constantine, Rank 3’!” These people are being disrespectful as well. If they are unwilling to give you an option that doesn’t make you uncomfortable they are saying that they don’t care if you talk to them or not. More often than not, it means that they don’t make new friends, and end up hanging out with their cronies who are willing to use their super important moniker.

If calling me “Daddy Kenneth” turns you on so much that you are distracted from my advice column, well, there are other things I could do with my fingers besides typing on a keyboard … of course those are distracting in their own right.