Love Letters to the LGBTQ Community

If you haven’t read this yet – you absolutely should.

As part of Billboard’s 30 Days of Pride celebration this June, numerous pop culture luminaries were asked to write ‘love letters’ to the LGBTQ community. Read them below and share your love letter to the community using #30DaysPride this Gay Pride Month.

http://features.billboard.com/gay-pride-month-2017-love-letters-to-the-lgbtq-community/

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The Hook-up App guys…

Ran across an interesting article on Huffington Post titled “Notes From The Hook-Up Apps: 9 Guys Who Take All the Fun Out of Them.”

After all – the apps themselves aren’t necessarily the problem.  We’ve all been on them or some internet incarnation of them at some point in our lives.  The problem is certain people who use them… and ruin them for the rest of us.

As contributor Jeremy Helligar points out, it’s not the guys who ask the cliche questions like “Looking?” but the following nine guys that are the true problem

1. The Validation Seeker: He’s the app equivalent of the bar queen who brags about how many boys he kissed last night. Quantity over quality… or anything else. He leaves the distinct impression that he approaches guys/swipes right just to see how many of them will respond/swipe right, too. He’ll rarely actually talk to any of them. He’s like a social media addict who obsessively courts Facebook “likes” and Twitter/Instagram “followers” and uses them to measure his/her personal worth. The more, the merrier he might be, but everyone involved ends up sleeping alone.

2. Mean Boy: He’s the one most likely to list restrictions (No oldies, no fatties, no fems, no blacks, no whites, no Asians…), anything to make himself feel superior to everyone he’s rejecting. Even if you make it past his velvet rope, he’ll find ways to make you feel inferior, too.

About a year and a half ago, a work colleague introduced me to a guy who snubbed me to my face while gushing about me behind my back. He went on to have a one-and-a-half-night stand with a very good friend of mine, to whom he revealed his (and Mean Boy’s) dating mantra: “Treat ’em mean, keep ‘em keen.” Yep, he actually said that, and he eventually put those words into action with my poor pal.

Alas, I don’t play that dating game. “The more you ignore me, the closer I get,” Morrissey sang on his biggest U.S. solo hit. Great song, but I can’t relate. Neither pining nor stalking has ever been the best use of my time.

3. The “Polite” Responder: For some reason, some guys insist on being rejected outright. No response doesn’t send a clear enough message, so they follow up with question marks until you block them. Defeated but still defiant, they add a familiar request to their profiles: “If you’re not interested, just block or say so. It’s only courteous.”

Oh, the beasts these Mr. Manners have spawned. Personally, if a guy ignores me, unlike Morrissey in the aforementioned hit, I move on to one who doesn’t. But not so fast. Just because he responds, doesn’t mean he’s interested. A lot of them are just being “polite,” offering curt, blase responses to your follow-ups without making any discernible attempt to keep the conversation going.

I once called out someone on it and asked him why he responded if he wasn’t interested. He said it wasn’t me; it was his exhaustion from work. It apparently depleted his energy and ability to offer an online tone that couldn’t be interpreted as gruff and slightly annoyed. So why was he on Grindr and not in bed at 11pm then? I’d rather be ignored.

4. The Compulsive Chater: On the plus side, this one might be blessed with the gift of gab. It’s always nice to bypass sexual positions and penis size, but if smallish talk isn’t going to lead anywhere, shouldn’t you at least be near an open bar? Even though he’s probably the one who approached you and may actually live only blocks away, it’s near impossible to score a date or even a hook-up, because he’s all talk, no meet.

5. Bored/Boring Guy: Hey… How r u… What’s doin… Where you at… If communicating in three words or less is your thing, here comes your man. He’s not really looking for anything. He’s just here because he’s got a phone and functioning WiFi, and there’s nothing better to do. Good times, right?

6. The Pic Collector: Like I recently told one suitor requesting XXX pics, if you’re dying to see a big black c—k, Google “big black c—k.”

7. Mr. Catch Me If You Can: For me, this guy is the most frustratingly unattainable because he’s so good on paper. He’s typically handsome, quick to respond (and not in that detached “The ‘Polite’ Responder” way), engaging, and he’s often online, which would seem to indicate availability.

Don’t get it twisted, though. He may be seemingly free and presumably “looking,” but he’s not available. He’s never available. So busy, he keeps reminding you, though he’s rarely too busy to be on the grid. Grindr may very well be the only place in the world where someone who’s working part-time at a backpackers hostel while looking for a full-time job has a more jam-packed schedule than someone who runs a Fortune 500 company.

8. The Ghosting Gay: He’s the one who actually meets up with you, maybe even goes on a date with you. He might even call out your name during sex. He acts like he’d love to see you again and might even tell you to stay in touch, breaking the unspoken “NSA” rule. But after his clothes are back on, he disappears from your life as abruptly as he entered it, possibly blocking you once he’s safely out of sight.

On the rare occasion that you do hear from him again, he’s probably only seeing if you’ll respond (see “The Validation Seeker” above) before the ghosting begins. And if you reach out to him first, he might respond once, maybe even twice (see “The ‘Polite’ Responder” above), before the ghosting begins.

You may see him weeks, months, a year later. If he doesn’t pretend he’s never met you, he might actually go home with you, beginning the ghosting cycle all over again. An accidental hook-up is as good as it’ll get after the first one. He’ll never be a dependable f—k buddy, much less a friend with benefits, because that would require him to stay in touch, and he’s just not that into you.

9. “Wired” Guy: While he’s typically a nocturnal animal, this one lurks during daylight, too, particularly if you live in a tourist-heavy city. He’s drunk on life, love, whatever controlled substance he can get his sweaty, shaky hands on. He’s pretty easy to spot because he mangles simple words and sentences in ways Autocorrect/Predictive text could never dream of, and his profile is typically suspiciously bare.

The good news is that if you’re too busy sleeping or living your offline life to catch your window of opportunity, you’ll probably never hear from him again.

50 First Dates

To be fair, I don’t know that it was 50 dates, but Kevin Atkinson, one of our amazing contributors, talks about starting back into the dating scene – particularly with online dating.  The snippet below is from his post “I wanna love somebody (Go find me somebody to love)” – and honestly, how many of us have felt the EXACT same way at some point in our LGBT dating lives?

About two months ago, I threw myself head first into the on-line dating world. I’m happy to report that in those two months I’ve gone on multiple dates, met many new people, questioned everything about my self worth and value as a human being. I’ve compared myself to every person’s body as not quite good enough, not quite thin enough, not quite strong enough, and not maintained enough for someone to really date. My personality was still genuine but consciously groomed to make sure the weird pet peeves I have didn’t surface, or how my long-term expectations were something that mattered to me. Remember, though, having expectation conversations early with someone is really forward and too serious. Because God damn it, I just wanted to make we’re on the same page for 5 year plans but I can’t ask that because THEN I’M FUCKING DESPERATE AREN’T I?!

Dancing in the Dark

Given recent events in North Carolina and Mississippi, the post below may be more relevant than ever.  By Hardy Haberman, the post comes from Leatherati – a site dedicated to the leather community – but provides amazing insight into the trans community as well.  I think the best line is probably “Most of the trans folk I know don’t set themselves apart as ‘trans’, they identify as the gender they present.”  It would seem that the only people these days who suggest that the trans community should be set apart are politicians.  Enjoy the read, and share your thoughts.

I enjoy the dance, the sometimes subtle and sometimes brazen choreography of cruising.

He was about 5’4” tall, and slim, but still had enough muscle on him to be interesting. Dressed in jeans with heavy wear on the knees, a leather vest with no insignia and a leather ball cap pulled low over his eyes. His boots shined like glass, military polish. He was a tempting target.

I no longer drink, so I don’t hang out in bars very much, but I do attend a lot of leather events and this one had just become more promising. In the decidedly non-cruisy foyer of the hotel, he and I had already made contact. We hadn’t spoken, but by the way he stayed just far enough away from me to be polite, but close enough wherever I went, I knew I had him hooked.

Or maybe he had me. That’s the thing about cruising, predator and prey are mutually amenable to the whole experience, so it sometimes becomes hard to tell who is pursuing who.

Finally I made eye contact and nodded toward him. He approached and stood at a respectful distance. I knew his name, thank God for events that have name tags, and I asked him if he had plans for the evening. He responded with a wonderfully military, “Sir, no Sir.”

After a little negotiation which involved the usual “what are you into” conversation as well as talk about health issues, limits and intimate details I won’t go into here, we agreed that having a scene together was what we both wanted.

The event had three dungeons set up for the nightly parties. One was “pansexual”, one was for men only and one for women only. At this event the pansexual dungeon was pretty much the venue of heterosexual folks and he was uncomfortable with that energy, so we entered the men’s space. It was dark, and mostly abandoned, but it would do well for what we had in mind.

The boy removed his boots while I got my set floggers near a suitable St. Andrew’s Cross. He put his boots and socks aside and presented himself to me. I removed his leather vest and unbuttoned his jeans. In moments I had undressed him to his leather jock and had him against the cross. His muscular back was a perfect playground for me and he responded well to my work. Before long he had bright raised welts in a herring bone pattern across the pale expanse of his shoulders and his ass was glowing pink. I could tell by his body language he was having a good time, as was I.

After a very exciting and exhausting 45 minutes, I hugged him and pulled him away from the cross. As he sat squirming on my knee, I felt the energy flowing off him. He was in that blissful afterglow and it was intoxicating.

We decided to adjourn to somewhere more private, since the room had become more busy than when we started. As he was dressing, I was approached by one of the men who had watched our scene.

“Damn that boy is hot!” he said.

I had to agree, and he nodded at me as we left the dungeon.

I tell this story not as a tale of conquest, but as a testimony to the delights of male energy in a space for men. The scene wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting or as intense in the pansexual space. I much prefer having a scene with a man in the company of other men. Playing in “men’s space” eliminates the curiosity element which often intrudes on a gay scene in a pansexual space. There it can feel like a show, and though I sometimes enjoy my exhibitionistic streak, I like a sexually intense scene with another man in “men’s space”. We get it! There is an understanding among brothers that transcends the play and makes the whole scene feel more intimate.

Anyone who saw that scene would agree, the male energy of that boy and I was palpable, and that was the point.

Now, time for full disclosure. Though I considered the boy every bit the man I enjoyed playing with had he removed his jock things might have been different. He was a transman, and the jock was one of his hard limits. We negotiated that and it didn’t make our scene any less hot or less intimate or less infused with male energy. We also discussed where he would feel most comfortable playing. He was hesitant about the men’s dungeon, but the pansexual space was a non-starter. In the end we agreed to “go for it” and also understood that we might be asked to leave.

That is something we were willing to accept.

I know that this might anger some men who feel the sanctity of the men’s space was violated, but I would note that the only comments we got were from men who thought the scene was indeed hot, and from men who thought the boy was worthy of lusting after. I have never told the organizers about this, and I don’t feel a need to. The boy I played with identified as male, and to me he was every bit a man with the exception of his genitalia and as per our negotiation that wasn’t going to be a factor anyway.

The point of this whole story is this, I feel strongly that we as a community need to understand our transsexual brothers and sisters. Most of the trans folk I know don’t set themselves apart as “trans”, they identify as the gender they present. Who am I to disagree?

In the leather/fetish realm we need to be clear about the distinction between “fetish” and gender identity. Since we play in both areas, we should be even more aware of the distinctions. The transmen and transwomen I know do not fetishize their gender identity. That is a totally different issue and since it is not my fetish, I can’t speak to it.

I sincerely hope I am not stepping on anyone’s toes, but I am expressing my opinion. As leatherfolk, I feel we should recognize people who identify as men as men and who identify as women as women. It’s a simple thing, and unless I plan on getting more intimate which would be subject to negotiation anyway, why not take things at face value? Besides, I know more than a few leathermen who seem much more feminine than many of the transmen I know. I suspect the reverse is true as well.

For me, I fully embrace my friends who are transgender as whatever gender they present. And my gender-queer friends, I embrace them as the rebellious and wonderfully non-gender binary.

Unless we are going to start having genital exams at the door of every dungeon, (which might be fun but that is another issue), it’s time we stopped balkanizing and started enlightening ourselves. And as to those toes I might have stepped on. Well, I hope you don’t carry that limp too long, but you will recover.

What is a leather boy?

I promised that on this blog we would get into the different labels we use in the community.  I ran across a piece in the Great Lakes Den by Paul Brown titled “What is a Leather Boy?” and thought this would be the perfect intro piece for talking about labels – and should give some good insight into the leather community and Sir/Boy relationships.

As i go through life and attend Leather events, i see lots of Doms/subs and how they act. i see subs not acting very “sub like” . i get worried that “Old Guard” is forgotten and as my Sir has said and many others, you need to have a good foundation to have a good D/s relationship.

Definition: leather boy — a submissive man wanting a Leather Daddy/Sir/Master to serve. Leather boys are also boys who serve the community in service without a Sir. The word “boy” in this sense has nothing to do with biological age. It is a mindset. Also there are Leather bois who are female; hence the word “boi” is often used.

When a boy starts his journey under the direction of his Sir, the Sir passes down the attitudes that He has learned since His own journey started. A boy who is new to leather culture earns his own leather as he demonstrates his learning, and the bond between Sir and boy grows. There are no concrete ways to go about earning leather, nor is there a definitive set of leather that needs to be earned; it is unique to the individual. Regardless of how this tradition is integrated into a relationship, earned pieces of leather represent learning and experience.

Of course, not all boys “grow up” to become Doms. Plenty of boys are quite happy fulfilling the submissive role of a relationship, but they are not exempt from these growing experiences or from passing on their knowledge to others. The dynamic between them and their Dom may eventually evolve into roles where teaching and learning are not a focal point of the relationship, but as previously mentioned, the dynamics of the Sir/boy relationship can shift freely as the situation calls.

How a boy should act: When a Leather boy is with his Sir, he will make sure his Sir’s needs are met, something as simple as fetching Him a drink, light His cigar, and other needs as they arise. Now if you are a boy and you are in a public setting, you always take care of your Sir first but don’t forget there are other Doms around and if your Sir allow, show them the same respect as you show your own Sir provided They do not already have a boy in service.

As for approaching a Master/Sir/Dom, first if you are collared, you need to ask permission from your Sir. If you are an un-collared boy, make sure to make good eye contact with a Sir and see if He is receptive to your advances. If you are interested in a Sir and He has not approached you, you might consider approaching Him and simply stand in His presence awaiting him to acknowledge you, especially if you have made eye contact with Him and He is receptive to you. If the Sir is busy and you notice He needs a light, or a drink, offer a light or to fetch His drink (Note to Doms reading this: do not expect a boy to pay for your drink if he does not offer, if a boy offers to fetch you a cocktail, give him the money for it, boys won’t ask You for money, but be courteous). More aggressive Sirs will approach you and make their intentions known, if the feelings are mutual, enjoy, if not, and you are collared, 1. The Dom should know better and inquire as to your Sir, if you’re uncollared, but the feeling is not mutual, you are still an individual, and can respectfully decline His advances.

As my Sir tells me from his time in the Marine Corps, an enlisted man would never order an Officer around, the same holds true in our Leather lifestyle, a boy should never order his Sir or any other Sir around at all! Different Sirs have different ways in which a boy may express his opinion, there is no set in stone protocol here other than to be respectful particularly in public. (see “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie or “Creating Magic” by Lee Cockerell)

The thirst is real…

Curious what people think about this post on Cocktails and Cock Talk, There Isn’t a Sea Big Enough to Drown Out the Modern Epidemic of Thirsty Gay Men.

A little excerpt…

Listen, if you’ve got a good body and you put the hours in at the gym, then fair play to you, you should be proud of anything that you worked hard for. Nobody is crucifying anybody for a shameless selfie once in a Blue Moon. But it’s the endless rotisserie of near-naked desperation. Don’t you have anything to say? Where’s your voice?

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