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Wednesday, June 28 2017 @ 01:52 PM MST

Kinky Kollege Keynote

CommentaryThe Grand Daddy of Leather In America, & Kinky Kollege 2006 Keynote Speaker:
Master Chuck Renslow

For literally decades, Chuck Renslow has been living leather. There's no wonder that he has been called The Leatherman of the Century.

Following his passion and pleasure, Chuck founded Kris Studios and began publishing Physique Beefcake in 1950. Eight years later he and lover Dom Orejudos (Etienne) opened their legendary Gold Coast Leather Bar. The Gold Coast established both Chuck and Dom firmly in the leather community and allowed them to expand. Other businesses have included GayLife Newspaper, Man's Country baths, and lots and lots of bars. Among the many, Pyramid, Zolar, Center Stage, Bistro Too and the Chicago Eagle stand out.

In 1979 they founded International Mr. Leather (IML) which quickly grew to institutional proportions. Following Dom's death, Chuck combined his huge collection of Etienne's art with his own personal archives from his businesses and his life. These were the foundation of the Leather Archives and Museum, which Chuck co-created with Tony DeBlase in 1991. Mr. Renslow has served on the Board of Directors and as President of the Leather Archives and Museum since it's creation.

Chuck has always been an active member of the gay and leather communities. His dedication has earned him a number of recognitions:

Charter Member of the City of Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame
Pantheon of Leather Lifetime Achievement Award
Pantheon of Leather Forebearer Award
Gay Chicago Magazine's Hall of Fame and Humanitarian Awards
Centurion Leatherman of the Century 2000 Award.
He is also a Past District Deputy Grand Master of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

Kinky Kollege is proud to have the Grand Daddy of Leather in America present the 2006 Kinky Kollege Keynote Address.

Master Renslow's Keynote Address:
Good Evening Brothers and Sisters in Kink. I am honored and pleased to stand here before you as your 2006 Kinky Kollege Keynote speaker.

I am honored by you for having been selected to address this assembly. Let’s face it, there are a lot of kinky people out there, and surely you could have asked someone else. But you selected me, and that is an honor. It goes without saying, and I am very, very pleased to be here.

I said I was honored and pleased to stand HERE before you. Lets look at where HERE is. We’re in Chicago, Illinois. Heartland of the Midwest – heart of the nation – the conservative Midwest, as you might have heard testament to the determination and commitment of the fetish community.

I am president of the Leather Archives and Museum Founded in 1990 in my basement today the L.A.M is a non profit 501 c3 corporation our continual growing collection now contains over 10 thousand books over 1000 pieces of kinky art and many oral histories. The leather Archives is a sucess, But I think one of the prime reasons we’ve so easily have become established and accepted... one of the main reasons that the Leather Archives and Museum IS a success, is that we are inclusive.

From it’s inception, the Leather Archives and Museum has been committed to documenting and preserving the whole history of the whole BD/SM Leather communities and to include materials related to ALL leather communities regardless of gender, orientation or time period. We specifically incorporated outreach efforts to leather communities in under-represented parts of the country and to poorly represented segments of the community. We strove for UNITY.

Unity – it comes from Harmony – and it is the strength and support of all institutions.

Without unity, resources are wasted, efforts are thwarted, actions are duplicated. WITH unity comes added energy, increased resources and doubled – not duplicated – efforts.

It doesn’t seem possible that today – six years into the new millennium – we’d still be stressing the need for unity but that’s the topic of my speech.

Unity --- --- We need it. --- We won’t succeed without it. --- And we’d better build it now, because tomorrow may be too late.

Unity… it is necessary for success [pause] and ladies and gentlemen it does NOT exist in the Fetish communities. Not really… not yet.

Oh, to be sure, there are a few organizations, like Leather SINS, the Leather Archives and Museum, International Mr. and Ms. Leathers, and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom who encourage and include a diverse membership, but those organizations are few and far between.

For the most part, the BD/SM Leather Fetish people of the world stay firmly entrenched in their own little communities…. Oblivious to each other, often almost oblivious to themselves. Historically, one’s appetite for kink, kinky behavior, fetishes and desires were held close to the belt. We didn’t advertise our fantasies, we hid them… they were private. Even our privates were private.

So now that’s changed… well, not really, not for the vast majority of kinky people. But for many of us, that’s changed. We’re no longer afraid, no longer hidden. When the sexual revolution of the 60’s kicked open the closet door it couldn’t help but reveal the all the things we’d been hiding in there. Turns out there were a lot of homosexuals out there… lots of swingers too… and there were a whole lot of people doing things that scared the hell out of Mr. and Mrs. Average American.

Kink isn’t new. The Museum has archives and evidence and implements of the fetish lifestyle that date back to the turn of the last century. We’d like to have an exhibit evidencing the fetishes of Victorian Europe or Ancient Rome. History tells us they exist. A few of those relics rest in major museums. But they aren’t identified for what they really are in THOSE museums, so we’d like a few here.

No… kink isn’t new… and it wasn’t new in the 1960’s when those closet doors were opened and the rest of the population got an eye full. Kink wasn’t new, just newly discovered by the mainstream, white bread, Pollyanna population.

Despite popular myth, it really isn’t easy to spot a homosexual… swingers pretty much blend in with everyone else… but a man… much more, a woman in leather?

Lets face it. Kink stands out. It makes an easy target. And because it is seen as a fringe element within a fringe element, it is often the easiest to attack.

Local prosecutors and small time politicians found it easy to hi-jack headlines and produce publicity by prosecuting --- BY PERSEQUITING --- those deemed least likely to fight back. Because we were outside the mainstream, who was going to come to our defense?

Just a minute ago I said that Kink wasn’t new. Well, persecuting kink isn’t new either… but with the rise of the right wing here in America and across the Atlantic the persecution rose to a new level. Conservative State and even Federal officials began to legislate “Family Values”. The thing is, they used THEIR definition of the terms “Family” and “Values”.

Things came to a boil in the 1990’s, with a series of high profile prosecutions which included a new and frightening twist. Despite the gains in civil rights and privacy, despite the decriminalization of consensual sex, despite the efforts of gay lib, women’s lib and all the other libs…. The State was still prosecuting S&M only now they were saying that consent was not a defense. And… as un-believable as this is… they were winning.

In 1990 sixteen men were arrested in England after a lengthy and expensive investigation into the BD/SM underground. Despite the fact that everyone of them were adults – consenting adults – they were convicted of assault. And though the case would eventually reach the equivalent of our Supreme Court… their ruling upheld the convictions and declared that consent was not a defense to assault and that S&M constituted assault.

Oh, but that was in England… not here. Europe might as well be the moon.

In 1996 Oliver Jovanovic was arrested in New York for assault and kidnapping. Despite the fact that his girlfriend testified to her consent, he was convicted because consent is not a defense.

How ridiculous. How ridiculous that six years after it happened in England it was happening here and we still weren’t paying attention.

Fortunately, in 1997 the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom was founded in the United States and began to spearhead the political, legal and social efforts on behalf of safe, sane and consensual sex.

To date, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has done a lot… so I don’t want to sound like I’m saying that we’re not successful --- still --- clearly, we haven’t succeeded, not yet.

In order to succeed… … in order for ALL of our alternative sexual organizations to succeed … … we need UNITY and as I’ve already stated, I don’t think it exists… not yet… not really.

What do I mean by that?

Go out and take a poll. Go out and poll all the different kinky people you can find. Talk to the bondage people, the S and M group, in all its categories. Go ask the swingers and the swappers and just every kinky person you can find and the vast majority – the OVERWHELMINGLY vast majority will not know who Oliver Jovanovic is. They will not know what the Spanner Trust is. They will not know what the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is, what they do or why they are necessary.

Disregard all of those results. They just tells us that the Coalition has not yet succeeded.

I want to consider the rest of the polling results. Some of the people DID know who Jovanovic and Spanner are. They probably also know who or what The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is. These people are the socially and politically active members of the BD/SM Fetish Communities… these are the movers and shakers, our leaders. These are the people who support our individual fetish organizations. .. the ones who attend our conventions and events… these are the kinky people in the know…. Look at their responses to your questions and my money says the Gay people recognized the Spanner Trust and the Straight people heard of Jovanovic. There is very little unity between ANY factions of the Straight and Gay communities. And it’s not just Straight / Gay…. There’s very little unity between men and women, especially when it comes to sex and alternative sex.

Now, in the LBGT community it has always been the leather men and women, the Fetish community that was the most organized. We’ve been at the forefront of the HIV/AIDS efforts, we’ve been at the forefront of the fights for civil rights and the right to privacy. When I was talking about the movers and shakers of the Fetish community, those active and educated…. I was talking about you… right here in this room.

WE ARE the people we need to reach and WE ARE the people who are going to bring unity to the table. We represent the organizations who, for the most part, are already promoting unity. Now it’s time to work harder. You need to go back to your communities and you need to let everybody know that kink transcends sexuality, kink transcends sex and race and nationality. You need to encourage your partner organizations to reach across the boundaries. Gay clubs…. Reach out to the straight clubs back home. Plan a group event… a joint party. Exchange speakers or educational programs…. Make sure those other groups know about the existence of the Leather Archives & Museum… their museum. And make sure that their organizations become members of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. And do stop at the straight kinky groups. Men’s groups need to approach women’s groups. One fetish has to reach out to the next. YOU… each of you…. MUST WORK TO UNIFY….

Do not stop with kinky people. The truth is that ALL of our issues are Gay issues. ALL of our issues are Straight issues… their the same issues as face the Blacks and Asians and Male and Female communities. Freedom is Freedom and the rights of consenting adults are the rights of all consenting adults. We’ve been fighting for the rights of consenting adults to consent…. Our victories are their victories.

Remember that old quote about the Nazi’s… you know, when they came for the homosexuals I didn’t stand up because I wasn’t a homosexual… and when they came For the trade unionists I didn’t stand up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.. and finally, when they came for me there wasn’t anyone left to stand up and fight….. well I want you to stand up right now!

I’m serious – stand up… everybody just stand up.

Now look around the room… look around. THIS is what Unity looks like. And THIS is what you have to make it look like back home… you need to go back and mix colors and genders… you need to mix sexuality and different forms of kink … each of your organizations can reach out to another. The Fetish community needs to UNIFY and YOU are the only people who can see that it happens …. YOU can do it. You can go back home and make sure that your organizations do it. YOU can cause unification.

Thank you

You are my species. I love you all

Chuck Renslow


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