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The ABCs of sexual orientation

CommentaryThe ABCs of sexual orientation
By Hardy Haberman - Contributing Columnist
Apr 17, 2008 - 3:42:36 PM

From LGBT to BDSM, sexual identity is about a life, not a lifestyle

Sometimes I think we could drown in the alphabet soup in which we live.

First there was GL, or LG for Lesbian-Gay. Then it was expanded to LGBT, a term I often have to explain is not a sandwich, but means Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender.

Then comes the whole world of leather and fetish, to which I belong as well, and you have BDSM, or SMBD as some folks prefer. Either way it stands for Bondage-Dominance-Sadomasochism, or as some prefer, Bondage Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadomasochism and Master-slave.

Itís all very confusing and for an old fossil like me; I just like to abbreviate it to kinky.

Now, I understand that kink is not everyoneís cup of tea, and you can take that however you wish. But it raises an important question: What is and what is not ďsexual orientationĒ?

For me, I believe my kink is a big part of my sexuality, and as such, itís part of who I am. In fact, most of the books I have written dwell at length on that issue since it is the one that always prompts the most questions when I am speaking to various groups.
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Do You Belong in the BDSM Community?

CommentaryDo You Belong in the BDSM Community?
By Sensuous Sadie

A while back, my dear friend Graham bestowed upon me his entire collection of kinky toys. Some of it I already had such as the crops and cuffs, but a few items were wonderfully new: a horsehair flogger and a round passing chain, so heavy yet cool against my skin. I was surprised that he would give all this away, after all you never know when the need might arise. And then, I wonder how it is that anyone can come into the scene and go back out. My BDSM orientation is like being lesbian; itís hard wired in. I figure by the time you actually have a locked chest in your livingr oom filled with leather accouterments, you pretty much have committed yourself to the lifestyle.

Graham has often said that he felt a bit false in the scene, maybe didnít belong there, a belief which he bases on the behavior he observed at public events. The Dominants who clearly couldnít control themselves, much less anyone else; the emotional dramas played out from weekend to weekend; and of course the usual smarmy politicking and gossiping. Unfortunately, I canít really disagree with any of that.
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The Code of the Master

Commentary This was posted to the South Plains Leather Fest yahoo group as something given when the poster was given his first leather. It is posted here as a tool for people to use.
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Kinky Demographics of SL BDSM Community

Commentary The following is extracted from the Second Life Herald, a publication devoted to the online game Second Life. It is posted here to reflect one person's opinion with regard to the differences between cyber BDSM and what they see as the "material" world of BDSM. It is provided solely as the opinion of one person with regard to this topic

Kinky Demographics of SL BDSM Community

Why do virtual Doms accumulate a fleet of subs?

by Victorria Paine

To the consternation of some residents, alternative lifestyles featuring some element of what falls under the umbrella term "BDSM" are very common in SL, and much more "in the open" than in the material world. While the presence of this community, and its visibility in particular, has created controversies among SL participants, as someone who has had experiences in the material world community as well as the virtual one, it's been very interesting to note some of the differences and distinctions between the two communities. It's helped me to understand some of the real benefits of the virtual alternative community, as well as some of its serious dysfunctionalities.
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There seems to be a feeling by some, that "love" lessens dominance.
That tenderness equates somehow with a lessened sense of "Mastery".
Rubbish. Dominance and submission are emotional states, constantly in
flux within a relationship. They may be aided by physical play such
as SM, but I need never lift a hand to be dominant.
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The gift of submission

CommentaryBeing someoneís submissive is a gift, gifts are given freely, therefore when I give myself to the one whom I chose to follow, and it is freely and willingly. In return for my gift, the one to whom I pledge my gift will protect, nurture and cherish me.
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Domination/submission...what it means to me

CommentaryDomination/submission...what it means to me

After visiting sites that have to do with the Dominant/submissive relationship, and comparing them with my life experience, I have found the following. If ďvanillaĒ relationships followed the example of this lifestyle there would be less dishonesty, less unhappiness and fewer breakups. To me, this lifestyle demonstrates those most important attributes that keep a relationship strong; it is safe, sane and consensual.
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Old Guard? If You say so. by Joseph W. Bean

CommentaryOld Guard versus New Guard. Itís all become so much more complicated than it used to be, and so very much more complicated than it ever needed to be. I canít for a moment claim to "know it all" on this question. I can hopeóby sharing what I know to be true and laying out what I believe to be trueóto shed some light on the subjects involved.

First, let me point out that there is nothing at all new about this question. The famous Brando movie, The Wild One, is a (presumably all-hetero) version of the conflict. Ten years after the movie swept through the lives of leathermen and bikers, I saw the same us-versus-them model working itself out in the gay leather communities of Southern California. I am not trying to be mysterious.

For those unfamiliar with The Wild One, the plot is something else altogether, but the point that matters to us here is that Johnny, the Brando character, has dropped out of the rough, street club with the loose-morals and unkempt, rebel appearance to join (or form) another group in which, under his leadership, the guys are a touch less rebellious in action, a touch less disrespectful and a great deal neater and more concerned with their appearance. The older way of being a biker is the way of Lee Marvinís club, the one Johnny left. The new way looks weak by comparison, in the perspective of the bikers. Marvinís gang could hardly have day jobs, Brandoís may have. Marvinís men are hard, sex-crazed and fully comfortable with their outsider status. Brandoís menóhimself first and foremost, againóare more concerned with the people and institutions around them; still rebels, but not at ease with being disconnected outsiders. The 1954 movie was intended to recreate a real event that took place in 1947 in Holister, California.

I suspect the writers of the movie script found their cues for the internal action that formed and distinguished the two primary characters and their followers in what was happening in the gay community at the time they were writing rather than in what had happened on the open road in 1947. Thatís a guess. I didnít see anything like this until 1965 among people I knew, and I didnít begin to understand it until some years later.
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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.

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Commentary This is a piece which appeared in the GLLA run book and is shared with the community as something to read, discuss and perhaps even learn from.