Tag Archive | Leather Women

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

Advertisements

Philadelphia Women’s Leather Bar Night

WLBN PhillyI visited Philadelphia last night for a Women’s Leather Bar Night. It was my first time visiting Philly and a first chance to get some face time with very active leather women in my region. I haven’t been to a leather women’s bar night since back in Florida when Peggy O ran Dykes n Dolls maybe in the early 2000’s. There aren’t a whole lot of good events scheduled on Fridays, so I was very excited when I saw this posted. I always have Fridays off, so right away I blocked this date out on my calendar and began to plan on how t get there. It’s rather simple and inexpensive to hop on a bus and travel from NY to Philadelphia for a few hours and ride back the same night. So, I took advantage of this great opportunity to visit a different city, meet leather women, have a few drinks and be on the receiving end of the bootblack stand. Continue reading

WILL 2015: “A Happy Coincidence”

WILL banner

I recently ran for a Women’s Leather Contest and title and I want to record my experiences and thoughts. I want everyone to think about that simple sentence. How many of you are recording your experiences? It is upon each of us to do our due diligence and preserve our personal histories. I hope you will think about embarking on saving your mementos, images, and stories that have been part of your leather journey.

My running for this title was all a happy coincidence… I smile when I say that as I reflect on Ms. Diana telling me as I interviewed her,

“How I got involved in BDSM was all a happy coincidence.”

Sometimes, because I have held a title and now because I have run for second title, people ask me about what titles and contests are all about and how do they work? There are many ways to answer that. Each title has its own purpose and reason. Continue reading

Busy as a Bee

the_bee_and_the_flower_204010I’ve been busy and I’m happy to say it has not been all work. I’ve been busy in a good way going to a lot of fun places and events with new and old friends. I’ve been reconnecting with people. Or maybe it’s that I am finally connecting in a deeper and more sincere way to people who I was only able to be acquaintances with or friendly with in the past. I am filled up in the present and the past becomes more and more of just that – the past. It’s still an open wound, but each day it becomes more of a place through which light enters. My present is filled with a lot of goodness. For all this I am grateful. Continue reading

High Shine

On February 28 I am heading with a group of boot blacks, leather women, leather folk, and friends to see the US Premier of High Shine. It’s a movie documentary about the 15 years of International Ms. Boot Black title and female bodied boot blacks coming into their own in our leather, fetish, and BDSM communities. The movie is being shown by cinekink:nyc, our cities annual film festival that “recognizes and encourages the positive depiction of sexuality and kink in film and television.” Before the movie we will be meeting up to have brunch. I am going to get a chance to meet a lot of women face to face that until now I have only known of by name or images. I feel a little nervous to meet these women that broke the ground for me and paved the way. I’m appreciative of the invitation and grateful for the opportunity to meet women who have inspired me. This movie and gathering coming up has had me thinking about and remembering a lot of memories of how I found, wear, and owned my leather.

I received an email a couple of days ago from a women I am friendly with here in NYC that runs a group called NY female sub/slave forum, and that email has gotten me thinking more about boot blacking. This woman is in my former hometown, south Florida. She mentioned my name at some event and it seems she got a big response when people heard my name. I was on and off involved in my local community in south Florida since I was 28 and up until I left I was regularly attending a group called Women of Leather Florida (WOLF). The owner of the group is Ms. Rae and she runs it with the support of her partner and pet, chris. In the email I received the women from NYC said that chris told her to ask me about how we met. That made me laugh to myself and smile and so I told her the story…

I always like to joke and tell people something like, “I knew chris before she was kinky, when she was vanilla.” And actually that is kind of true. I say kind of, because I think like many of us she knew she was “kinky”, she just wasn’t sharing that information with other people out loud. Chris and I worked together and we pretty much hit off from the start. We had similar work ethics and odd humor. We became closer and were spending our lunch time inside and on occasion outside together. We became close enough that chris felt comfortable confiding to me about her relationship and some unhappiness and problems. I don’t go around calling everyone a “friend”, but chris was someone I definitely came to think of as a friend. One day chris asked me about my license plate on my car, it said, “NAWASHI”. I usually made jokes when vanilla folks asked about it, like, “It means, ‘Me no Washy My Car”. My car was often dirty and need of a wash and it usually got a laugh. Or as in this case with chris, I told her, “I would tell you, but then I would have to kill you after.” After I joked though I paused, and I took a chance and told her the truth. It means one who makes rope or a rope maker. Back in those times I was married, living poly, and owned a girl that I named bijin, who lived in our home. One thing I loved to do with my girl was rope and specifically rope suspension. Chris confided that she had often thought of wanted to experience some s/m in her relationship and had even asked her partner, but had not had any success in getting her to participate or show any interest. I invited chris with her partner to come to a party and the rest and they say is history. I went through some changes in my work and private life and I took time off from the scene.

A few years later, I emerged again and I was looking to reconnect with my south Florida leather community. The first thing I went looking for was a women’s group. Once upon a time a pretty infuckincredible women I met called PeggyO had a women’s group in south Florida called Dykes n’ Dolls. I couldn’t find it and it seemed Peggy had gone and taken off to Colorado, but I found another group, WOLF, on a website called Fetlife. I sent the owner of the group an introduction letter and asked about attending their meetings. What I got back was an email from chris saying something like, “Hey I knew someone like you that I worked with… and “Is that you?” I was shock and thought, “WTF its chris!” and I was so happy. I was home again. I was home at WOLF. I was home with chris and Ms. Rae and all the ladies that make WOLF.

Time went by, I stayed single, but I continued exploring and evolving. I kept hanging out with my WOLF sisters while holding out for someone more than “Mr/Ms Right now”. I mentioned on occasion to chris, a desire to learn new skills and specifically to learn about leather care. I just couldn’t get the motivation to do it based on solely caring for my leather. Then I met someone really cool in south Florida who owned a lot of leather and I thought, “Okay someone who will enjoy and appreciate these skills.” I called chris, who is a boot black title holder (Southeast Community Boot Black 2009) in Florida and had competed for IMsBB and asked her to teach me some basics. I sat in her house and she walked me through basic care and about the basic hard products needed. I started looking for places to ask questions online, I was reading all I could find to learn more about application and materials, and I was thrift shopping for used boots and shoes to practice, practice, practice!  I had the bug. What hooked me was listening to chris tell me stories about her experiences caring for leather. In particular the story she told me about when a certain Sir from our community requested she prepare his leather for a title he was competing for and the joy and tears she felt during that process. And I realize something that day and the many other days since then, about the interactions that happen between two leather people through bootblacking. Bootblacks are more than good listeners, more than story tellers, more than a provider of leather care. We preserve leather history. We connect in a way with people that is personal, intimate, and unlike anything else in leather. And fuck ya it can and often is damn hot too!

Women's Leather Photographic Documentary exhibit @Pleasure Chest NYC

Women’s Leather Photographic Documentary exhibit @Pleasure Chest NYC. That’s a little piece of jade standing beside one of the images of me.

There was a time that I did not allow myself to claim myself as part of the Leather Women pack, but bootblacking help me feel I belonged. A long time ago Sarah Humble was traveling through south Florida and offered to record the history of leather women in our community for the LA&M as part of the Women’s Leather History Project. I passed, because of my ideas, my standards, of what a leather women was. I felt I hadn’t done enough and given enough of myself to my community to be included or have somehow “earned” any right to proclaim myself as a notable leather women. I remember wishing I could be a part of that group that called themselves leather women.  I knew a lot of very incredible women who ran groups, munches, big events, and title holders. I hadn’t done anything like these women and so I didn’t ask to have my history recorded. It seemed wrong in my mind. I wonder how many other women have felt this way? I am sure many just like me. Last year a friend contacted me and said she knew a woman who was doing a Leather Women’s Photographic Documentary and that she had given her my name. There are a few things that happened here, the first was that I was embarrassed after seeing the faces and names of women so far included, and those old feelings of not being worthy to be included. I second thing happened though and that was related to the person saying to me that I should do this, and when someone you respect, admire. and look up to says, “You’re a leather woman. Do this.” You  do.

It was through my bootblacking that I came to own myself and feel myself as a leather woman. I thank chris and credit her often when I speak about “how I feel and wear my leather”. I put myself in the hands of a bootblack and I found myself. I am a leather woman. I am a bootblack.

What is Leather?

Reposted from Leatherati. Hardy Haberman’s GLUE Keynote Speech.

HardyOnI have a confession to make.

I never expected to speak in Houston for the GLUE (Gear, Leather, Uniforms, Etc.) weekend. I never expected to travel to cities across our country and in a few weeks, around the globe speaking. I never expected anyone would give a damn about anything I said, and quite frankly it still baffles me.

When I first started exploring leather, I was looking for the kind of hyper-masculinity Touko Laaksonen portrayed in his artwork. He was better known as Tom of Finland, and between him and the motorcycle gang movies of the 1950’s the image of masculinity I wanted to associate with wore leather jackets and liked their sex as rough as they were.

Well, I found those guys, and they indeed did like rough sex, though most were equally comfortable cooking a gourmet meal or carrying on a fascinating conversation over cocktails. Many of them looked every bit as sexy as the illustrations, albeit with realistic sized genitalia.

Since that time I have come to identify with them and often refer to my sexual orientation as “Leather”.
Since the time I first timidly walked into a leather bar back in the 1970’s the idea of that kind of sex has always been something I sought out.

It has taken on new meanings to me and I suspect it will always be something that will continue to change in subtle ways, but the underlying energy and erotic power of leather will always be at it’s heart, and in my heart.

It seems to be an obsession today to define this mysterious thing I call “leather”.

When I first discovered it, I was more concerned with participating in it than defining it.

I am often reminded of the old adage that

“those who can, do,
and those who can’t , teach.”

Well, as someone who teaches a lot, I can tell you that old saw is not always correct. I still “do”!
As often as I can.

That obsession with defining “leather” comes up almost on a daily basis.
At conferences, parties, events, online and even in a university setting I get the question “What is leather?” a lot. Sometimes it is even by an eager newcomer with a pad and pencil waiting to jot down my every word like a scribe.

Again, it baffles me!

But since the question comes up so often I thought this would be perhaps as good an opportunity as any to give you my definition, once and for all.

So here goes.

When you are pushing your way through a crowded dark bar, and the musk of a hundred half-naked men blends with the scent of their leather vests and harnesses.
When you feel a dozen hands “accidentally” brush up against your crotch or butt.
When you feel the arms of a big muscular man wrap around you as he whispers in your ear, “what are you into?”
When you slam that hot boy up against your car in the parking lot and invade his mouth with your tongue and his pants with your hand.

That’s leather.

When you find yourself facing a naked man, his feet in the stirrups of a sling as you grease your hand with Crisco.
When you see his eyes burn with erotic desire as you slowly invade his body.
When you hear the deep guttural primal growl as his body opens to your hand.
When you pant like an animal, every breath matching his as you move in and out of his ass.

That’s leather.

When you share a cigar with your buddies on a patio and laugh at the tales of their misadventures.
When you burn the chest hairs off that big bear one at a time using the glowing tip of your stogie.
When you carefully nurse your cigar ash until it seems to be defying gravity and then reward that hot guy on his knees with a mouthful of burned tobacco and he savors it like a fine wine.
When your cock gets hard just watching him do it.

That’s leather.

When you spend an hour carefully wrapping a man old enough to be your grandfather in plastic and duct tape creating a cocoon around his body.
When you stand watch over him as he experiences the out-of-body floating that mummification induces.
When you tease and taunt his nipples and cock through the covering, controlling the sensations that you deprived him of.
When you cut open the covering around his hardening dick and after suitable torture, stroke him to an earthshaking orgasm.
When you cut him out of the tape and plastic and hold his still shaking body close as he returns from that magical place he was in.

That’s leather.

When you sit through the hundredth drag show and carry dollars up to the glittered performers like bringing an offering to the queen…and you are.
When you pimp your friends for raffle tickets to raise funds for those brothers and sisters medications and health care.
When you stand on stage and endure the taunts and cat calls as you raffle yourself off for a charity.

That’s leather.

When you answer the late night phone call from a friend who needs to talk.
When they bend your ear about a relationship that has soured and they just don’t know what to do.
When you listen patiently because you know that simple act is exactly what they are really seeking, and you refrain from giving advice.
Just listen.
When they thank you and apologize for waking you at 3:00am and before they hang up, say “thanks for being there for me”.

That’s leather.

When you help your friends clean out the house of a leatherman who died before his family arrives and discovers his personal dungeon.
When you pack up years of memorabilia and move it to storage and unkink an apartment before relatives who never really knew him throw it all away.
When you attend a memorial service and sit with a leatherman’s extended family, and endure the nervous stares of his blood relatives to pay your last respects.

That’s leather.

When you take in a timid newcomer and show her the proper way to tie a person’s wrists so the circulation still flows to their hands.
When you explain how to hold a flogger and use it like an instrument to elicit moans and whimpers from a willing bottom.
When you guide her through a scene step by step and then watch her grow and bloom on her own.

That’s leather.

When you are approached respectfully by a man with a shy smile and bright eyes.
When he asks you if the flippant remark you made in your speech about “not having a date” was true.
When he follows you to a late night cafe riding his Harley and you both spend the rest of the evening talking and laughing.
When you end up taking him home and end up sleeping together, actually sleeping together and don’t get to sex or SM until the morning.
When you end up spending the next 19 years together and he still calls you Sir.

That’s leather.

When you think you have done it all and still find something new and exciting to try.
When you find that you still have something to offer even if you never looked like a Tom of Finland illustration and you will never fit into those sexy chaps again.
When you find yourself being asked to speak at events, month after month and though you say you are going to finally say “no” you say “yes” instead.
When you feel so much gratitude to your brothers and sisters in leather that it almost brings you to tears.

That my friends, is leather.

Leather & Unity

Sir Raven and jade with an image of Sir Raven avec leather chaps in the background (flagging black on the left!)

Sir Raven and jade with an image of Sir Raven avec leather chaps in the background (flagging black on the left!)

The words leather and community and their meaning are a source of constant conversation in our subculture. Yesterday, in NYC there were many BDSM events happening throughout the day. Sometimes in a city as big, fast, and kinky as NYC it is difficult to choose. With very little pushing and pleading I managed to get Sir Raven and my leather sister jade to come to CCreaneImages, one night only exhibit of her work, Leather Women’s Photographic Documentary; and then to take a quick jaunt over to the annual Unity Munch. When I think about what leather and community mean to me it made it obvious where my priorities had to be and I wake up this morning knowing I made the right choices. There have been recent times when I thought to go off and move away from my leather roots and thankfully moments like last night with C. Creane and my leather family brings me back and reminds me I am right where I belong.

Jade with "Karida, New York 2014, Leather girl, Bootblack" in background,

Jade with “Karida, New York 2014, Leather girl, Bootblack” in background,

Last night at the Leather Women’s exhibit, on the lower right corner, next to an image was a small tag that said,

Karida

New York 2014

Leather girl

Bootblack

Too many times to count people have asked me what it means to be leather. There is always the disclaimer about “you will get as many different answered as the number of people you ask.” How I feel my leather, how I show my leather, how I share my leather is as unique as I am. Continue reading