Identifying as a leatherman

black-72926_640Understanding my background is my best way of explaining what leather is for me and why I call myself a Leatherman. My history is one of not feeling like I was “entitled” to call myself Master SuchandSuch, but to earn that right. One of looking at the various people and admiring the leatherfolks and learning from them, emulating them, reaching out to them and serving the community as I could. Whether that’s with money, support or sweat equity.

I call myself a Leatherman because I identify with the sex that comes with leather. I feel more of a connection with how leatherfolks cruise and play than anywhere else. In this respect, though, I probably come up a bit short with my shyness and my other aspects that make socializing difficult for me.

I feel that my service and dedication to my leather club (my tribe, my family) makes me a leatherman. It’s been my experience and observation that most of the general kink/BDSM community will gladly come together for munches or the play parties, but that seems to be the limit. Most of the leatherfolk I emulate give back a lot to the community, including sexual activism, sweat equity and the sense of community that comes from that.

I feel a sense of safety and connection with those who “earn their way” into the scene. Starting at the bottom may be the most-oft quoted way, but it wasn’t the only way and isn’t to this day. That being said, “earning” your way, accepting that you’re “junior” until those you respect and learn from tell you otherwise makes a lot of sense to me. It requires for me to be humble that even after 10 years, 15 years, I still have a lot to learn, to earn and to give back. I contrast this to those that seem to feel entitled to call themselves “Master/Mistress SuchAndSuch” just because they can, and form “Leather families” because it’s newest fad to look cool.

This topic is so difficult to explain in a post. Learning what my leather is has taken me 16 years and continues. Identifying one’s self as a leatherman or not I think depends on what someone has learned, HOW they have learned, where they want to go. If leather calls to you, then you’ll find it. It’s one of those things that a person doesn’t *have* to be leather to have fun or be authentic. If someone doesn’t identify with leather, that’s awesome! Go forth, be your kinky-bad-self and enjoy the space you have and the people you share it with.

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Master Michael S

International Master 2014. Member of: Chicago Leather Club, Chicago Leathermen Group, MAsT: Greater Chicago. Longtime leatherman. One of the Four Horsemen.

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