Archive | June 2016

An Ocean of Love; NYC Dyke March

 

2leatherwomeninthecity.jpgWe were two leather women in Bryant Park, NYC, waiting to see who would come walk beside us under the banner of Lesbian Sex Mafia, in the NYC Dyke March. A dear friend was co-chairing this get together with me for our club LSM and we wanted a decent turn out. I believe it’s easy to allow ourselves to fall into the trap of high numbers=success and the same is true in the reverse, low numbers=failure. A few days ago I told my friend, forget about quantity, relax and let’s enjoy the company of those beside us. Let’s go for quality.  It turns out in the end we had the best of both worlds, quality and quantity.

A small group of women turned up from an assortment of places to walk beside us. They were women we met at the Lesbian Sex Mafia Pizza Munch, Uncle Red’s SUBMIT Party, LSM monthly educational classes, LSM members, and a fancy leather woman international title holder with her lovely half. Turns out we didn’t have a banner, so we were a group of women marching in organized chaos, and it damn… was amazing.

The march starts on in front of one of my favorite places in NYC, the main branch of the NYPL in Manhattan. Our small band of women gather in between Patience and Fortitude, the two lions in front of the library entrance. One man rushes forward to take a photo of a person marching in our little 2016-06-25 17.41.20organized chaos and when the person states their displeasure in the manner which the man took the image, the man come within 6’’ of our friends body and face to say some crap about being press and not just a random photographer. I don’t believe he was press, but regardless of his press or non-press status is beyond me his behavior was not acceptable. I stepped forward and let the man know he was too close to this person and in this person’s personal space. There was some back and forth, but eventually he left. There is always that one person who has to be a dick. We got past that moment and we didn’t let it affect our day.

The Dyke March is a non-permitted protest. We depend on and love our march Marshalls. They hold hands and block the cross roads and keep us safe. There are protesters who bring signs with words of 2016-06-25 17.43.57condemnation and shouting their hate speech. These detractors are peacefully blocked with by organizers and supporters own banners or drummers/musicians/noise makers who follow along making sure we receive positive messages of love and support. My favorite is a girl holding a sign saying, ‘’You’re Making Ellen Proud’’ What can I say, I am an Ellen fan. This morning I was wondering where is the, ‘’You’re Making Porshe Proud’’ poster. Maybe next year. Another favorite of mine was The Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Crops. We all stopped to dance, because their energy and love was just that much that it required attention. So much goodness, so much, it was …amazing.

 

We started as a small group of 13 women in Bryant Park united by some association through the Lesbian Sex Mafia, we became several hundred in front the NYPL on 40th Street and 5th Avenue, and I turned around and somehow we had become thousands. Unlike permitted protests, in this march the only barricades are our march Marshalls. People can step in from the sidewalk at any time along the route and join us. And they did.  The march came to a halt and we create a moment of silence for Orlando. I turned around in 360 degrees and I start to feel tears welling up. We were an ocean of love and this ocean extended far beyond what my eyes could see.2016-06-25 19.12.52

The Bootblack Daddy

LeslieBootblackingI am a leather woman. I am a bootblack. I refuse to put the word ”and” in front anymore. I believe in calling people in vs. calling people out… That leather brings us together, it does not divide us.

I’ve seen a lot of hurtful things said in the leather and bootblack circles on social media in the days after IML38. It not only saddened me, but I was left confused. So I privately messaged a person who has experience in front and behind the scenes of the IML and IMBB contest to ask for time to answer questions that weighed on my mind. I am so grateful I did that and that my request for information was received well. We met and it was no easy conversation. There was frustration, there were voices raised at times, even occasional tears on both side, but there was also a genuine desire to understand the other. There was good communication.

I was left thinking, am I doing enough for this our leather community… Am I being a big enough part of calling people in… And how am I creating the change I want to see… Am I doing the work or just paying it lip service… I think about Actions and Deeds.

I don’t want to be part of the problem. I want to be part of working for the solutions and to do that in a way that calls people in, not calls people out.

In the long list of unkind comments made in recent days I saw a note that there were very few bootblacks speaking out for Leslie J. Anderson, The Bootblack Daddy. If people want to unfriend me it’s okay, but as a leather woman, as a bootblack, I stand beside The Bootblack Daddy.  She calls people in and if you do not see that, or know that, then maybe talk to people with experience at IML and IMBB to understand how it is run and why things are as we see them. Then you might do as I did and ask yourself how you are helping create the change you want to see.

Leslie J. Anderson I want you to know I SEE YOU. And you know it’s funny to me, because even though we have not spoken in months, I know you see me too.