Leather Life: More Pride, Less Fear
For both the GLBT and the leather/BDSM/fetish communities, Pride season again is here. But what a difference between this year and last. Last year I used “Plenty To Be Proud Of” as the headline of my Pride column. And I remember that the celebration last year seemed jubilant.
This year, with the political landscape so shifted by last November’s election, many of this year’s Pride celebrations are expected to include some #Resist elements.
In the current political landscape, many members of the GLBT and leather/BDSM/fetish communities fear gains made in recent years will be rolled back. But, by the same token, many people in other communities fear us, the members of the GLBT and/or leather/BDSM/fetish communities, and that fear prompts their discrimination against us.
With the United States of America currently divided into two factions, and each faction acting like it’s scared of the other faction — well, no good has come, or will come, of this situation.
So let’s not give in to the urge to use our Pride celebrations, here and elsewhere, as ammunition in this fear fight. Instead, let’s make our Pride celebrations declarations of pride in ourselves, in others, and in our communities. The best statements of pride are first-person: “I’m proud of myself for living authentically”; “I’m proud of you, members of my family, for accepting and supporting me”; or “I’m proud of my community and what we have accomplished.”
Our own pride does not have to come at the expense of someone else. Pride is about equality, not superiority. We’re not celebrating GLBT Supremacy or Kink Supremacy. Misusing our pride to denigrate someone else, or their community, is no more effective than apologizing to someone by saying, “I’m sorry you’re such an idiot.” It might feel good at the time, but it won’t be productive in the long run.
So, as we march and as we celebrate, let’s keep in mind that Pride is not our excuse to disrespect others, even if they have first disrespected us or other members of our community. Pride is not about them; it’s about us.
Minnesota Leather Pride 2017: “Walk in Her Boots: Celebrating Women in Leather”
The theme of the 2017 Minnesota Leather Pride celebration is “Walk in Her Boots: Celebrating Women in Leather.” Andrew Bertke, of Everett Allen Photography, is again the designer of this year’s dog tag. Get your dog tag, while supplies last, at any Minnesota Leather Pride event or at the Minnesota Leather Pride booth at the Twin Cities Festival of Pride in Loring Park (Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25).
Minnesota Leather Pride Events for 2017
Minnesota Leather Pride’s recent shift toward having leather pride events throughout the year means that there are fewer events scheduled to coincide with the Twin Cities Pride Festival. Here are the Minnesota Leather Pride events on the schedule at the time of this writing; see Minnesota Leather Pride’s Facebook page or MNLeatherPride.org for the most up-to-date information on these events and any others that might be scheduled.
Tuesday, June 13: Twin Cities girls of Leather social at Twin Cities Leather & Latte, 6–9 p.m. Come hang out with the girls and find out more about their organization. Open to everyone regardless of gender, orientation, or which side of the whip you fall on.
Friday, June 16: Floggapalooza at The Saloon, 8 p.m. Presented by Knights of Leather. No admission charge. Come and see demonstrations for the community of flogging techniques from a variety of delightful implements on a variety of delightful demo bottoms eager to share a practice they enjoy.
Thursday, June 22: Atons’ Pride Smoker on the patio at eagleBOLTbar, 7–10 p.m. No admission charge. Atons of Minneapolis members will serve you a cigar and a shot for $10. Whether you enjoy a fine cigar or not, this is always a fun social event.
Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25: Stop by the Minnesota Leather Pride booth at the Twin Cities Pride Festival. An information table at the booth will be staffed by Minnesota Leather Pride’s sponsor groups. Everyone is welcome, whether you are just curious about leather or have years of experience under your belt. Get your 2017 “Walk in Her Boots” collectible dog tag if you don’t already have one. Loring Park, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sunday, June 25: March with the kink and leather community in the Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade and help carry Minnesota’s giant leather pride flag. Meet at the corner of 3rd St. S and Hennepin Ave. by 10:40 a.m.; parade begins at 11 a.m. The giant flags are among the units leading the parade. After marching, stick around for a group photo on the hill near the corner of Yale and Willow, at the edge of Loring Park, facing the Whitney Fine Arts building.