Friday, September 15, 1995

Play Safe? Live Safe

(Published in Lavender Lifestyles Magazine, Issue #8, September 15, 1995)

One of the leather community’s mottos is “Safe, Sane, and Consensual.” Those are good words to live by, and not just within the confines of a scene. Let’s ponder how we can apply them to life in general.

Safety can mean taking precautions so you don’t get hurt and you don’t hurt others. Sanity can refer our community’s high regard for personal integrity and honesty in ourselves and others. (That sounds pretty sane to me.) Unfortunately, we sometimes find that even in the leather community people can be dishonest. What can we, as individuals and as a community, do about that?

I’m going to save the “community” part of this discussion for another column and write here about individual personal safety. While this certainly includes safe sex, it also includes much more. AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases are good things to avoid, but we would also, I’m sure, like to avoid other unpleasantries like property theft, muggings, etc. Unfortunately, the precautions given below can’t guarantee totally smooth sailing. Whether it’s a one-night trick, an occasional sex partner, or a dating situation, there are risks involved. Short of becoming a hermit those risks can’t be completely eliminated, but here are some ways of reducing them.

Our local leather community is a pretty tight group; to say that “everybody knows everybody” is an exaggeration, but not too far from the truth. Use this fact to your advantage! News travels fast, and if certain people have a tendency to act in a less-than-honorable fashion, they tend to develop a reputation. So . . . let’s say you just saw someone across a crowded room who has your hormones in a frenzy. You’ve never noticed them before, but right now you’re not noticing much of anything else. First tip: Before you jump, check them out. Ask around and you’ll probably find someone who knows them, or at least has seen them before. You don’t have to let other people make your decisions for you, but it couldn’t hurt to ask. (When I was first getting into the leather scene, I only half-jokingly formulated a rule: “If you’re going to play with me, you gotta have references.”)

Suppose you ask around and nobody raises any red flags. Assuming you are successful in setting up a rendezvous with the other person, here’s tip #2: Introduce the other person to your friends. Make sure somebody knows where you will be, and with whom.

Tip #3: When you finally get physical, do it safely and sanely. Know the facts about what is considered safe and unsafe, and know what risks you are willing or unwilling to take—and stick by your decisions. If you see a rash or a sore that doesn’t look right, don’t be afraid to ask about it, and don’t be afraid to bring the action to a halt if you think the situation demands it. You have the right to do that (that’s what “consensual” is all about). And even if you see no obvious problems, don’t assume it’s okay to be unsafe “just this once” because the other person “looks okay.” Being safe “some of the time” is another name for being unsafe.

One more way to keep yourself safe: keep your judgment unclouded. It’s difficult to make good determinations about a prospective partner’s character when you’re out of control because you’re too drunk or high to care. If you have an alcohol or drug problem, the rest of the community may be more aware of it than you; be honest with yourself and get the help you need.


The Black Guard presents Tits & Buns

Sunday, September 17, 4-9 pm
Gay 90’s Dance Annex
Satisfy your voyeuristic urges. Come look at the best chests and butts in the Twin Cities—which might include yours. (That could also satisfy your exhibitionistic urges.) $5.00 at the door gets you beer, food, wonderful people-watching and four separate contests: best chest male, best chest female, best buns male and best buns female. All this and door prizes too!

Mr. Minnesota Leather Contest
October 6 and 7
Yes, the cycle begins anew. Prospective contestants should call (612) 522-4771 and inform the organizers of their desire to compete. (The rest of us can just put it on our calendars so we don’t miss it.) Contestants will be judged on interview, speech, fantasy and “presence.” I’ll have more details on this event next issue.

No comments:

Post a Comment