(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #160, July 13, 2001)
I started writing this column in 1995. Back then if I was publicizing an event and wanted to include a “for further information” contact I gave a phone number, and sometimes a mailing address. The first column I ever wrote that included a web address (in case you’re curious, it was for the Atons of Minneapolis website) was in Lavender’s June 21, 1996 issue.
That was five short years ago, and look what’s happened to leather communications since then. If the leather community is a tribe, the jungle drums we use to communicate have gotten a lot more efficient in the last few years thanks to the internet. Some days it seems as if everything in the leather world has a website or e-mail address attached to it. To fully participate in the leather community, in addition to needing boots, chaps, jackets, vests, harnesses and toys we need computers, modems and internet service providers.
In reality, you don’t have to be internet-savvy to be a member of the leather community. But having access to an internet-equipped computer—and knowing how to use it effectively—means a richer leather experience. Chatrooms and webcams, e-mail and e-mail lists, websites and search engines bring an entire world of people, groups, events and ideas to your computer screen.
Use this short list of local and national leather internet resources as your starting point. Most of the websites contain links to other leather or fetish websites, so your journey can go on and on and on.
Local Leather Clubs and Organizations
Atons of Minneapolis (gay leathermen): www.atons.com
Black Guard of Minneapolis (gay leathermen): www.blackguardmpls.com
Knights of Leather (pansexual): www.knightsofleather.org
TIES (pansexual): www.goldengate.net/~mdon/TIESMN
MSDB (pansexual): www.msdb-mn.org
Queer Youth Exist: www.angelfire.com/mn2/queeryouthexist. For young people (under age 21) interested in BDSM or other alternative sexualities.
Local E-Mail Lists
At the Atons website you can sign up for their Flashmail service and receive a weekly e-mail full of timely local leather information. TIES maintains the TIES-list mailing list (listserv), an e-mail discussion group and a place for BDSM-oriented announcements; sign up at the TIES website.
National and Worldwide
The Leather Journal: www.theleatherjournal.com. Web version of their leather newspaper. News and information about clubs, contests, events and titleholders.
LeatherPage: www.leatherpage.com. Leather commentary from many different columnists, as well as club and event news and a wide assortment of links.
Leather Archives & Museum: www.leatherarchives.org. Can’t make it to Chicago to visit them? Their website is the next best thing.
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom: www.ncsfreedom.org.
You might also try www.leatherweb.com (“the global leather village”—they even have a leather internet radio station), www.leatherquest.com, and www.leathercares.com.
Leather Contests and Titleholders
International Mr. Leather: www.imrl.com
International Ms. Leather: www.imsl.org
International Mr. Drummer: www.drummer.com. Also features the on-line edition of Drummer Magazine.
As For The Rest . . .
Search engines (my favorite these days is google.com) are another good way to see what’s out there on the leather internet that might be of interest. Try searching on your favorite fetish, or something you think is really obscure, and see what comes up—you may be surprised to find that there are websites devoted to it. I am indebted to my readers for the following examples of sites they find interesting.
For rubber lovers: www.latexpajamas.com
For uniform lovers: www.inuniform.net (subscription required for most content, but not all)
Bodybuilders—a century ago: www.sandowmuseum.com
For jockstrap enthusiasts: www.allkink.com
Gladiators: www.gladiatorsarena.com (Adult Verification Service required)
Local erotic artist Mark Debauch: www.scc.net/~debauch/ (Adult Verification Service required)
Local diva Miss Richfield 1981: www.missrichfield.com. Three good reasons why Miss R. is on the list: 1) To see if you’re paying attention. 2) I’ve always loved her, and her new website is a scream. 3) She doesn’t require an Adult Verification Service.
Cinco de Mayo Correction
In my recent column about High Holy Days I made the statement that “Mexican Independence Day is Cinco de Mayo (May 5).” It isn’t, and I regret the error. A reader informed me that Mexican Independence Day is actually September 16. So what does Cinco de Mayo commemorate? To find out, visit home.earthlink.net/~topnach/Cinco.html and read about “The Significance of Cinco de Mayo.”