by drake HigginbothamNEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Hello and welcome to "Leather Tribe," a column dedicated to the exploration of the Leather, S/m, and Fetish lifestyles. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is drake, I am 28 years old, a six year resident of New Orleans, and a former Mr. Louisiana Leather. I came into the Leather lifestyle by way of S/m, under contract, and under collar. Which means I was owned. A slave. My journey through this lifestyle was a rite of passage for me into manhood. Unlike most Gay men into this lifestyle, I was first introduced into S/m, by way of a woman. It was a strange but exciting experience for me considering that I am not attracted to women. For me, S/m was not a sexual turn on, at the time, but a complete mental turn on. Through this Mistress I was introduced to my former Master and trainer who took me to many different levels and beyond. Soon after that I discovered what made me tick physically, mentally, and emotionally. I discovered the things that enhanced the whole sexual experience and heightened the amount of pleasure I derived from sex and S/m as they intertwined-a complete exchange of power between me and those with whom I play.
I was introduced to a whole tribe of people who believe in brotherhood, tradition, and freedom of sexual expression, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or kink. I do not use the word "tribe" loosely. We are a tribe of individuals who understand, learn from, and relate to, our primal desires and passions. Some are mental kinks; others, physical. There is a broad spectrum of S/m, kink, and Leather. Webster's Dictionary defines Tribe as a social group comprised of numerous families, clans, or generations, together with slaves, dependents, or adopted strangers. I have found that within this "Leather Tribe" there is a history that many Gay men and women know nothing about. The first form of a Gay organization can be found within our leather community, where Leather clad Gay bikers came together to hold fund raisers in order to help those within our community who were in need. I am so amazed at the people I meet, the history I am learning, the feeling that I belong, and so overwhelmed that I have chosen this as a lifestyle for myself.
Through this column I hope to share some of this history and personal experiences so that I may be able to help bridge some of the gaps in understanding while dispelling some of the stigmas attached to Leather, S/m, and Fetish folk and hope to build stronger ties within our community so the real issue can be focused. We as human beings and adults have the right to be who we are, regardless of what we do privately, and consensually, together.
These lifestyles are different for everyone. There are some that wear leather as a second skin, one that shows to others who they are, what they're into, or maybe what they are or have been a part of. There are some that enjoy being controlled 24 hours a day, seven days a week and others that just like to be paddled every other weekend. Some like to wear Leather when they have sex, while others because it just makes them feel really hot. There are many reasons people like leather. Everyone is different and have their own kinks. There is a common thread for many people from all walks of life who all share the same goals - tolerance, acceptance, and the right to be who we are. Leather, S/m, and Fetish folk are not terribly different from anyone else, they have simply tuned into what they like. We are a community rich in diversity, strong in our pride, and we build understanding through tolerance.
I would also like to share some of the upcoming events occurring here and around the country. Leather events are the times to see a large portion of the Leather community at its best. One such event is The International Mister Leather contest which is in its 21st year and is held May 29-30 in Chicago. It is the place to be for a hot weekend! They have a vendors' market where anything and everything can be found, nightly play parties, and of course the contest which is where the hottest Leathermen from around the world compete for the title International Mr. Leather 1999, and become the community's year long representative. Then in July we have International Ms. Leather held this year in Las Vegas. Ladies, this is definitely a hot weekend you do not want to miss out on because the I. Ms.L. contest is growing stronger every year. The newest addition to I. Ms. L this year is the first women's Boot Black competition and will prove to be an entertaining event.
Until next time, Leather hugs. For questions and comments E-mail LALTHR98@aol.com.
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