I take a lot of pride in my city; my home; my leather. When I was part of some local clubs, it was always a moment of pride when my club got to work with a local organization to run an event weekend or raise funds for a cause. There were times, though, when Leather events happened in the area and my club was not asked to help for whatever reason. Often we were never contacted, so we never knew why.
Most often, the reaction by the club at large was shock that an outside organization would step foot into town and not reach out. Members would murmur words like “boycott”, and they would often speak ill of the event as if some offense had been committed by the organization because this olive branch was not extended.
I still see this behavior happen today, and it concerns me. Leather communities, organizations, and events serve a higher purpose than us all. I sometimes wish we could see these visions and support them even if contact wasn’t made. In the absence of communication, there is an entire myriad of possibilities that can explain it. I find that we often prejudice that act with negativity, and therefore deny the organization the opportunity to receive aid if aid is needed.
Not a week goes by when I don’t speak to someone in this community that struggles with their identity, body image, sexuality, fetish interests, or a myriad of other things. This is often what these events bring to the forefront: showing people that there is normalcy in whatever they’re interested in. Connecting new people together and bringing new opportunities to the surface.
I know that we do not have enough opportunity to feel our authentic selves in their full form. Pups need to work, and they probably can’t work at a place that lets them pup out at work. If you do, then awesome!! Keep it up! For the rest of the communities, these spaces and events are possibly the only time that one may have to feel like they are amongst friends. If we hear about an event happening in our area, organizations should step up and offer help even if they have not been asked. And if an event organizer doesn’t reach out to local groups for one reason or another, it does not give a group license to complain about a lack of being asked to help.
We do not own our towns. This is not some Leather version of West Side Story. We are all one community, and I hope that focus remains. This purpose is larger than us, and when we support that purpose, we become part of that bigger picture too.