Leather 2018: The Age of the Littles

If you haven’t noticed, Littles are taking over the Leather community…and I am here for every single moment of it. Why? I ask you…why not?

As I age through my mid-thirties, I’m seeing a surge in those around my age that are finding the need to regress back to a time when they were younger and more carefree, because they were robbed of that time. During the 80’s and 90’s, it was not a great time to be openly gay. Even as we grew into the 2000’s, it was still not fully accepted, though much better than the prior decades. I feel that this desire has some of an influence on the behavior that has been demonstrated by the Littles that I have interacted with. Many of them describe their age and personality as a second chance at a time in their life that they weren’t given because of a denial of opportunity to be their authentic self. This may not be the case 100% of the time, but rarely is anything within the Leather community.

Littles have always had a special place in my heart because I have seen them ever since I started in the Leather community 12 years ago. They were present at my first campout at Sawmill in Dade City, Florida. I got to talk to someone who I saw walking around in a diaper under a pair of chaps, and we shared a great conversation at length about his perspective on life and what he enjoyed about his particular way of expressing his identity. Through the years, I have seen the numbers grow in how many are willing to be open in public, even if I have seen some of my peers gawk or make fun of them for their appearance. I realize that it is sometimes human nature to make fun of something we don’t understand, but it does not excuse the behavior.

This community deserves our respect, though they are continuing to grow and thrive regardless of whether we give it. As they continue to grow, we can serve as good stewards of the community and provide space for them to feel welcomed and loved. It’s quite simple and requires little (see what I did there?) of us. I think that it takes a lot to show up to a bar in some of the crazy outfits that we as Leathermen decide to wear. Littles have just as much of a variety in their decision, and they need our support when they choose to show up however they want to present. Love our Littles, because they represent what each of us might need right now: a reminder that we all once were vibrant, youthful, and carefree.