Take Off Your Leather

Many of you came to Leather during or after the AIDS crisis. Those of you that came during helped our brothers with HIV/AIDS. You stood with us as we fought for our rights and fought for AIDS research funding.  Those that came later got to take part in the renaissance of modern Leather. Traditions passed to you.  A community that is strong again.  You did not witness the injustices we as the LBGTQ community faced politically and socially. We were the outcasts. No one would ally with us other than celebrities. We were the pariah, the unloved, the convenient scapegoat and target.

We rose again, 60% of our brothers gone but not forgotten. Those of us still here suffer tremendous PTSD.  The scars we try to hide as many new folks enter and get to enjoy our Leather world.  We let out a deep breath when DOMA was partially overturned and same-sex marriage became recognized by the highest court in the land. Many of us “retired” from activism. We were wrong to let our guard down. We should have known the White-Wash was coming. The push back so fast and so furious we hardly know where to focus.

Some pansexual folks were given the keys to our Leather Culture but you have turned your backs on us. How? You voted for a tyrant and the most homophobic GOP platform in history. Yet, you still wear your leathers and call us brothers and sisters.  You did not check in on your LGBTQ leather brothers and sisters after the election. You are not affected by what is happening in AmeriKKA so you go on with your life as usual. You are not allied with us. You must denounce the GOP and #45.  Your refusal to denounce sends a message that you condone the hate. You say you only wanted protected borders and you do not believe LGBTQ are affected. In the 80s and 90s we had no allies, but now we do. We must ally with all marginalized groups and stand together for when the storm comes it will be the one of the worst to ever hit our community.  Being okay with the hate spewed by #45 while on the campaign trail should have been enough to stop you from voting for him but somehow you convinced yourself he didn’t really mean it or if he makes our borders more secure it will be worth it.

You sold out the LGBTQ community. You do not get to stand with us and call yourself leather. You have smeared the memory of those we lost in the AIDS crisis and all those persecuted throughout history for being sexual outlaws. You also stand against those in our community that are People of Color, female, disabled, and those that hold a different faith than you.

If you voted for #45 and the GOP platform you must denounce him, the GOP and the hate NOW or take your leathers off and never wear them again.

A Bottom Damages the Tops Reputation

Has this happened to you or have you witness something similar?
A new bottom consented to a double bottoming scene. It was the first time the bottom and the Top had ever played. It was also the first time the two bottoms met. Both bottoms fully consented, never discussed any discomfort during negotiations.
The next day one of the bottoms began quietly telling others she did not consent to the scene. Said she didn’t even know it was going to happen, she was uncomfortable doing a double bottom scene with another bottom she did not know. I knew the bottom was not telling the truth because I overheard the negotiation and planning session.
The bottom probably was not genuinely comfortable during the negotiations and during the scene but never indicated it to the Top. Instead, she began spreading rumors after the fact about the Top doing something she did not like nor consent to.
The next week the Top and bottom debriefed. The bottom acknowledged her discomfort and that her need to please the top over road her own need to protect herself and negotiate properly and code when needed.
The topic is: The bottom negotiated, consented,  never indicated discomfort then misrepresented the facts to others and damaged the Tops reputation. How could this have been prevented? The Top had negotiated and planned the scene with the two bottoms ad nauseam and still, her reputation was damaged. How could this have been prevented?
Since it was the first time the Top and bottom played together and both bottoms were unknown to each other, was this type of scene appropriate for their first scene? What else could the Top have done to ensure everyone was negotiating and playing within their comfort zone? How important is it to check in with the bottoms the next 72 hours?
Leave your comments and questions below.

Earning Your Leathers and Being Presented a Cover

There is controversy in the Atlanta leather community.  The divide is between the Pansexual and Gay leather communities. The Pansexual or Het leather community in Atlanta has a tradition of earning your leather by being vested and receiving your boots.  The tradition is that you are not to buy leather for yourself until you have earned your leather from someone else. It also states that you cannot give leather until you have earned your own leather under their rules.  The controversy lies when the people espousing these traditions contribute these traditions and ceremonies to the Gay leather community, specifically Old Gay leather.

In truth, the Gay leather community does not adhere to these traditions and is upset when the Pansexual community attributes it to them as if it is a status symbol. The Gay community does not mind the Het/Pansexual community having their own traditions. In fact, they understand that these ceremonies and traditions have a very deep meaning to those involved. They just want them to understand that these traditions are not old. They started in The Sanctuary of the Dark Angel in Atlanta by a gay man in the 1990s who taught these as if they were from the gay community when in fact they were not. He simply made it up.  Many people traveled to the Sanctuary from the South East so some of these new traditions have spread.

Gay leather has several ways you may have obtained your leather. You purchased it yourself because you are allowed to and you can afford to. This includes purchasing your boots and your vest. You may have been gifted someone else’s leather because they can no longer fit in to it or no longer want it. You may have inherited it from someone close to you that died. Inheriting leather was common during the height of the AIDS crisis and is in fact how I received one of my vests. The other vest I was gifted because my mentor wanted me to have it when he could no longer wear it. Hardy Haberman wrote “We did earn all our leather though, by working hard at our day jobs and keeping the local leather shop that was attached to the bar in business. And occasionally, old leathers were “gifted” to younger guys since they were expensive and usually part of an estate of a departed brother whose family didn’t understand of value his kinky stuff. It was give it away or see it shuffled off to Goodwill.”

So what to do? I believe the Het/Pansexual leather community should invite the gay leather community leaders and elders to teach Leather History classes to set the record straight.  The Het community should keep their traditions as they are approximately 20 years old and serve a purpose and have meaning, but they need to be clear to everyone that these are “New Het” and not Old Gay traditions.

Why am I writing this now? I have been invited into a Pansexual Leather family and I am not sure how my traditions fit with theirs. Our values and ethics align but how do we reconcile our different traditions? I also witnessed two different ceremonies back to back in the same day last Saturday. One ceremony was a woman receiving her boots from her mentor.The other was where one person presented his protegee with a vest and boots. The mentor himself was presented his “Cover” by someone else who has a Cover already. They then invited someone newer to begin his journey by joining their leather family. At which point they told him he can no longer wear his boots and belt he had purchased himself. He was upset by this but is willing to follow the traditions of the leather family he is joining. I will explain to him at a later date that this is not a Gay leather tradition.

On the subject of “Covers”, this is a Het/Pansexual term that started in the same place.  Gay leather does not call Masters caps/hats “Covers”; nor do we have Covering Ceremonies, nor does Het/Pansexual leather in the rest of the country. Hardy Haberman wrote ““covering ceremonies” is baffling to me. Not once in my history through the 1970’s and 1980’s did I ever hear of or attend such a gathering. Not until the late 1990’s had I even heard the term “Master’s Cover”. ” I write this only to make these two points. In my experience and that of dozens of older leathermen I know the “Covering Ceremony” is a new thing. Bravo! It’s nice to create new rituals that serve to commemorate significant milestones in our lives.”

Notable Quotes that might apply:

“Your kink is not my Kink”

“Your Protocol is not my Etiquette.”

and my own

“Your Cover only means something to you and yours”

For more information on this controversy read:

Either this exerts from the book “Heartbeat” by Thomas Smith or read the book.

https://earnedleather.wordpress.com/presenting-leather-and-covers/

Read Guy Baldwin’s book “Ties That Bind” is a compilation of articles written in the time of 2nd generation Gay leather or read his blog posts.

http://bannon.com/2015/03/29/honor-history-dont-copy-it/

http://www.leatherati.com/2011/09/the-old-guard-classical-leather-culture-revisited-2/

http://www.leatherati.com/2014/09/old-gods-die-hard/

http://www.leatherati.com/2014/07/the-curious-case-of-the-covering/

Larry Townsends “The Leatherman’s Handbook” written in 1973 is the definitive guide to what Gay Leather really was during the second generation of Gay Leather.

Safe Words in Vanilla Life

There are many tools from our S&M world that we can take back into our Vanilla life. Safe words come to mind first. My girlfriend is new to the S&M lifestyle so she has been educated in the use of safe words for sex and BDSM scenes. I was taking her home to my mother’s house for her first ever family holiday gathering. My girlfriend is an introvert and deals with some anxiety issues. She was asking what she should do if she becomes uncomfortable for any reason. I offered that we should have a secret signal, better yet a safe word only known to her and me. If she used yellow in a sentence it would be a request for me to get her out of the conversation of the room. If she used red in a sentence I would extract her from the room and look for a way for her to be alone even if it meant she left for a while.

We had a great holiday and she did not need to use her safe words at Thanksgiving nor Christmas but is healthy for us to have the options.

Safe words are boundaries and it is healthy to put boundaries in place in any aspect of your life not just S&M

Tips for New Dominants to Avoid Problem Submissives

Libida from FetLife posts about avoiding problem submissives

https://fetlife.com/users/110410/posts?page=2

A rogue’s gallery of problem characters

Note | 11 Comments · 15 Love It | about 1 year ago

I find that caricatures of problem people help me remember what to look out for in real life. You’ll find members of the rogue’s gallery below both in and out of the scene.

As a number people have commented, a person who is a problem for you might be a wonderful match for someone else. Joe dumped Mary because of “too much drama”; Michael finds her delightfully exciting. Julie hates quarreling; Claire loves it, and seeks quarrelsome partners to verbally wrestle with. I have tried to leave those sorts of items off my list, and only include issues that cause significant problems for a wide range of people.

Many especially problematic people display multiple problem behaviors or attitudes. Certain problems tend to occur with other problems, so if you find one of those issues, check for the others.

You’ll notice some repeating themes here, such as people that are destructive, don’t take responsibility for themselves, lack empathy, or feel entitled to your time and attention. I’ve written more about these general patterns in my post How to avoid problem people, also available off FetLife (where it is easier to read).

The list below omits some types of problem partners that other folks have described on this thread (and its sister threads herehere, and here), since I’m less familiar with them.

  • Clueless: This person might simply have a bad case of newbie-itis, in which case a bit of coaching and experience will set them straight. The truly problem versions seem incapable of taking feedback, correcting course, or learning from their mistakes.
  • The Doormat: Unwilling or unable to say no when needed, set boundaries, or stand up for what they want. You end up doing stuff you think they’re okay with, but aren’t, while they seethe with resentment. Eventually becomes Passive-Aggressive or a Blamer.
  • Worthless: Suffers low self-esteem. Worried they are worthless and you’ll dump them, they may try to please you excessively, even at cost to themselves. Frequently won’t communicate or stand up for what they want (Doormat or Passive-Aggressive behavior).
  • Passive-Aggressive: Instead of communicating their needs, wants, and preferences clearly, this person tries to manipulate and guilt-trip you into doing or being what they want, even if it’s not what you prefer. Avoids taking direct responsibility for themselves. If something goes wrong, can transition into…
  • The Blamer: Looks for what’s wrong and when they find it, blames you. Takes no or minimal responsibility for what happens. Characteristic cries: “This is all your fault!” and “How could you be so stupid?”
  • The Perfectionist: Everything you do should be perfect, and if it’s not, they’ll make sure you know it. And punish you for it. A master at getting you to feel inadequate, even about things you’re competent at. Some of this breed have unreasonable expectations of themselves also. A more dangerous variant only expects other people to be perfect, while excusing any and all bad behavior in themselves.
  • The Critic: Feels superior by criticizing others. Remember, it’s easy to say “X is bad!”, a lot harder to create and implement a viable alternative. This person is often a Perfectionist, too.
  • The Dramatizer: Makes a big deal out of everything that happens, big or small. Fun when they delight in life’s little pleasures. Ugly when they turn every minor difficulty in everyday life into a drama or crisis. High-maintenance.
  • The Awfulizer: No matter how good things get, this person dwells on what is wrong or might go wrong. Capable of bringing any mood down. Often fixated on the past (which they can’t fix) or unlikely potential disasters they can’t control (and that won’t happen anyway).
  • The Control Freak: Wants to control everything you think, feel, and do — especially your contacts and relationships with others. The submissive version may use drama, tantrums, tears, depression, self-destructive behavior, suicide threats, drug or alcohol binges, etc. to bring out your white-knight rescuer tendencies (so you’ll behave as they want). Or this character may threaten or punish you (so you’ll behave as they want). Be especially wary if you find yourself becoming isolated from your social network and loved ones.
  • Entitled: Thinks you owe them the attention and stimulation they want, and should be grateful to give it to them. Mating cry: “What can you do for me?” You’ll quickly notice that they don’t ask what you want or how they can provide it.
  • Dominants/Submissives Are Fantasies, Not People: Regards you as their idealized fantasy partner, which can be heady stuff until you realize that they don’t regard you as a fellow human being who cares and suffers like they do. This type doesn’t want to know about your needs and vulnerabilities, since that might pop their fantasy bubble. The submissive version has little or no patience with Dominants who get hurt, traumatized, or broken-hearted, since “Dominants should be strong enough to deal with that.” The Dominant version has little or no patience with submissives who get express needs or get hurt, traumatized, or broken-hearted, since “submissives are here to serve Me.”
  • Doesn’t Have A Life (and wants yours): Bored, lonely, dependent, emotionally unstable — this sub or Dom wants to glom onto your life and energy. You are entertainment.
  • Dependent: Wants to lean on you till you hurt. May have major problems they can’t cope with (depression, low self-esteem, addictions), or they may simply avoid responsibility.
  • The Whiner: Avoids responsibility rather than fixing issues themselves. Would rather complain endlessly than change their behavior. Often skilled at shooting down any and all suggested ways of improving their situation.
  • The Victim: Horrible things happen to this person, over and over. They think the cause is “out there” in the bad circumstances and bad people that hurt them. This person often wants special accommodation for their hurts. The don’t take responsibility for repeat problems, or learn from their mistakes.
  • Rescue Me: Wants/needs rescuing over and over, or ongoingly, because they can’t or won’t take care of themselves. Helpless, inept, incompetent, fragile, the wounded bird. Hooks the white knight who wants to save the day — but is never really saved, and will always need to be rescued again.
  • Covertly Hostile: This person seems helpful and/or cheerful, yet acts angry and destructive in sneaky ways. A genius at giving “complements” that are really backhanded insults.
  • Spiteful: When someone does something this individual perceives as bad or wrong, they attack, often indirectly. Unfortunately, spiteful people are often primed to interpret even innocent behavior as a personal insult or assault. It may seem at first that when they attack others, they are defending you. But eventually they sow discord among the people you know, destroy your friendships, and damage your reputation or well-being.
  • The Troublemaker: Delights in stirring up trouble between other people, then watching it escalate. May try to split up D/s couples by offering “support” to the sub. A high percentage of Troublemakers are Borderlines (described below).
  • The Addict: Drugs and/or alcohol are ongoing problems. May require lots of rescuing, then fall off the wagon, repeatedly. Often high-drama. Expects you to put up with their problem behaviors and unreliability. May not want to change, or even see the need to change. May steal to support their drug habit.
  • The Splitter: Oscillates between idealizing and denigrating others (this behavior is called “splitting”). As long as they idealize you, you can do no wrong. But once they switch to denigration, you are scum of the earth — and they will treat you accordingly. May start a relationship by idealizing you, then want to go too deep too fast. Often recognizable by their long string of “horrible” ex-partners. Typical behavior for Borderlines.
  • Jealous/Possessive: Feels needy and/or entitled to you. Jealousy may be a sign the person isn’t getting something they want or need (and maybe can’t articulate). Or that your relationship preferences are incompatible. (You want poly; they want monogamy.) I’ve also seen people get jealous when their partner acted like an ass: breaking agreements, cheating, ignoring them at a party to play with an exciting new partner. But if you both agree on relationship parameters, you behave reasonably, and they still act unreasonably jealous or possessive, that’s a bad sign.
  • The Obsessive/Stalker: Thinks you’re wonderful — too wonderful. Or obsesses that you’re cheating or about to cheat. Makes you the center of their life even after you lose interest. May spread malicious rumors about you to your friends, follow or spy on you, even become violent.
  • Self-Destructive: Low self-esteem, filled with self-hatred or a desire to interrupt or end the awful emotional agony they live in, this person does things to punish themselves, wreck their life, and damage or destroy themselves. May self-mutilate, do heavy drugs, attempt or commit suicide. The submissive version may try to rope a Top into punishing or even killing them as they think they deserve (but are too weak to do themselves).
  • Unstable: Has significant emotional, addiction, or mental problems. May seem to have their life together, then crash, causing mayhem all around. Or they alternate between loving and cold or enraged.
  • The Rageaholic: Finds a lot to be angry about. How the world is. Other people’s behavior. Your behavior. May manifest as excessive criticism, nagging, yelling, property destruction, even physical violence.
  • The Narcissist: Everything is about them, their needs, and the ways others perceive them. They are so wonderful that you should be grateful to have them, on any terms. Needs to be the center of attention, and will sulk or create trouble if they’re not. This type often has a long string of estranged former partners with whom they are not friendly.
  • The Borderline: Unstable, high-drama, emotional, changeable, unreliable. These folks are typically much more disabled than they appear (to you or themselves). Their lives and relationships are often chaotic. Because of the pain, fear, and anger they feel, and traumas they suffered in childhood, Borderlines often act Destructive and/or Self-Destructive. Often charming and very seductive, they are usually Splitters and frequently Troublemakers. Many are also truly wonderful people… part of the time.
  • The Sociopath: Doesn’t care about anyone else’s well-being. Destructive behavior ranges from merely uncaring to malicious, even dangerous. Typically charming, seems unusually attractive. Warning sign: Their crazy-making behavior gets you wondering if you’re crazy.

Libida

© 2011 by Libida Morgasm. All rights reserved.

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