Friday, May 9, 1997

Respectful Rebellion

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #51, May 9, 1997)

The recent Lavender Forum session dealing with SM attracted people from many different, and often overlapping, communities: leather and non-leather, BD/SM and non-BD/SM, transsexual, bisexual, feminist. Such a diverse group representing so many points of view could have made for a contentious evening, but for the most part the atmosphere around the table was respectful and educational instead of confrontational.

Consciousness was raised on several BD/SM community issues, one of which had to do with consensuality and boundaries. Negotiating a scene is more than the bottom telling the top, “I want you to do this, and you may do this, but you may not do that.” Sometimes it’s assumed that the top will do anything the bottom wants done; if not, s/he is a bad top. The point was made (and I think it bears repeating in this space) that tops are also allowed to set boundaries of their own. If a top doesn’t feel comfortable doing something, it is perfectly within his/her rights to speak up about it.

The discussion also took the concept of consent and boundaries to a society-wide level: specifically, what issues are involved when BD/SM and non-BD/SM people share public spaces? The assertion was made that some people outside the BD/SM community are offended by representations of BD/SM culture, and that a few people in the BD/SM community seem to take delight in offending people outside the community. On the other hand, leather/BD/SM is by definition a rebellion against some aspects of “normal” society’s sexual codes. When are members of the BD/SM community just being themselves, and when do they cross the line and become inappropriate? Who has the privilege of defining what “inappropriate” means?

The response of several people in leather was that our community is for the most part self-policing; if a community member is acting inappropriately, other community members will generally take them aside and tell them to clean up their act. The respect around which SM revolves should extend to the larger non/SM community (even if that respect is sometimes not reciprocated).

In closing, here’s a very respectful “thank-you” to everyone who attended the forum.

* * * * *

Larry Everett suffers burns in house fire

PHOTO: Larry Everett, International Mr. Leather ’95

International Mr. Leather ’95 Larry Everett, of Oklahoma City, recently suffered second- and third-degree burns in a recent early-morning electrical fire that also destroyed most of his home and personal possessions. At this writing I have been unable to contact him personally for more information, but according to The Leather Journal he will be unable to work for a considerable period of time. At the time of the fire he had no home or medical insurance.

In true leather-community fashion, across the country a massive ad hoc fundraising campaign started almost overnight; to date, several thousand dollars have been raised. (Contributions—of whatever size—can be sent to Larry.) To Larry Everett, who did a great job as IML ’95 and continues to be active in the community: best wishes from this columnist for a speedy recovery!

Upcoming Leather Events

May 30-June 1:
The Knights of Leather present Knights Tournament Nine. This year’s theme: uniforms! The site, a private camp within a 16,000 acre wooded state park, includes cabins with military bunks. Weekend events include opening ceremonies, presentation of colors, workshops, demonstrations, fantasies and a “uniform banquet fit for officers.” Dungeon space is available all weekend. For more information: write Knights of Leather, Minneapolis MN.

July 18-19: Mr. Minnesota Drummer and Drummerboy Contest at the Club Metro Underground. Current International Mr. Drummer Kyle Brandon will be here as well as management from Drummer Magazine in San Francisco. If you want to compete, call, Colin Spriestersbach.

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