Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Stonewall Intention

As we near the Northwest's Pride Celeberations, I encourage you to remember the original intention of those who rioted at Stonewall in 1969. That night, patrons rebelled against police, forcing them out of the bar and into the streets. To borrow the words from The Who's anthem, "We ain't gonna take it!" That was the cry that was heard that night. Patrons wanted to be left alone to mourn the passing of Judy Garland without disturbance from New York city's "finest."

As we struggle for marriage equality and civil rights throughout the United States, let us not forget the original intent that night. "Leave us alone" is a far different sentiment than "Accept us." I would suggest that as Leatherfolk, we do not give a fuck about acceptance. With the patrons of Stonewall, we only want to be left alone to celebrate our sexuality as consensual adults.

Many years ago when I came out as a Leatherboy, I was told by Mr. Guy Baldwin that I should show respect for others not in the Life. I learned to wear my Leather only when it was appropriate. And while some took the phrase "Living in Leather" quite literally, I chose to follow the older tradition, reserving it for evenings, Runs, and Pride events.

"We want acceptance as part of society." While this may be the sentiment of some, personally I do not want to see Leatherfolk in Gear shopping in Safeway on a Saturday morning. I, also, do not want to bring my grandchildren to public places in broad daylight where F/folk flaunt their toys off their hips and shoulders. My grandchildren do not need to know about flogging techniques or cock rings until they are sexually active and exhibit curiousity. This coincides with my interpretation of consensual behavior.

Acceptance is a two-edged sword for Leatherfolk. We define ourselves as rule breakers. We delight in being bad boys and girls pushing the confines of accepted social behavior. Thus, by our very nature, acceptance into the maintstream is the antithesis of who we are. In short, techniques do not define us as Leatherfolk.

During Pride, let us march together with our brothers and sisters in solidarity. We do not ask that people like us. We do not ask that people approve of us. We demand the right to be left alone to celebrate our radical sexuality as we define it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Self-anointed Daddies and Other Fairytales

As I celebrate my twenty-first year since coming out in Leather, I sadly note the loss of core values within the Tribe. As ego eclipses experience, the terms "sir" and "daddy" become commonplace, assumed labels with little or no foundation.

I would suggest that those men who decide to annoint themselves with a dominant title totally miss the boat. "Sir" is a title bestowed on someone, either by a mentor or by a submissive. It is a recognition for training. Because being a sir entails mentorship, a dominant must have an understanding of the art of SM. The development of a boy must be understood. The moniker is ultimately a gift.

Nor does one automatically decide to be a "daddy." I am a biological father and grandfather, and I feel a great deal of paternal feelings for my boys. they know that "Daddy" or "Daddy Sir" are terms reserved solely for them. This distinguishes them as different from the other boys in the community. If I were to invite all boys to call me "Daddy" the term would lose its unique meaning for them.

One of the most experienced Sirs in the Northwest is Aubrey Sparks. When meeting him, he does not introduce himself as "Sir" or "Daddy" Aubrey. Rather, he introduces himself simply. "Hello, I am Aubrey." Two weeks ago as I watched him play with my boys, I noticed how quickly "Aubrey" became "Sir" to them. Not once did I hear him say to them during play, "Call me 'Sir.'" They understood instinctively what to call him without any prompt.

I suggest that those who introduce themselves using a descriptive, dominant label usually lack the confidence to be what they claim. With few exceptions, these men lack the training that has been the foundation of Leather culture.

A true Sir learns His craft. After years of service, He assumes His true role as a dominant. Finally, He earns the respect to be called "Sir" by the submissives with whom He plays.

One of the questions asked during my interview at the Northwest LeatherSir contest. "Can a man be a sir without a boy?" My answer, "No!" A man can feel he is a sir, and he can even be honored by other sirs. But without boys to acknowledge his ultimate place as a dominant and a mentor, he is not a sir. Like everything else in life, true meaning is defined by the operation of that person or thing.

"Sir" and "Daddy" are not titles with which we annoint ourselves. They are gifts given.

Hugh B Russell
Northwest LeatherSir 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More about the upcoming Northwest Sash Bash 2010 Weekend

With only weeks ahead, the events for Northwest Sash Bash 2010 begin to take shape. I am especially excited by the most recent development, a reading by author David May.

About David - Starting out in life as a nice boy from a good family looking desperately for the wrong crowd, David May started writing as a child. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, he moved to San Francisco where he initially gained notoriety in 1984 when his first story, Cutting Threads, which was published in Drummer, sparking both controversy and praise from readers. A regular contributor to Drummer until its demise, May’s work has also appeared in Honcho, Mach, Advocate Men, Unzipped, Inches, Frontiers, Lambda Book Report, Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Cat Fancy, International Leatherman and Manifest Review. David May’s work, both fiction and nonfiction, can also be found in Kosher Meat, Best of Gay Erotica 2003, Best of Gay Erotica 2007, Afterwords: Real Sex From Gay Men’s Diaries, Bar Stories, Queer View Mirror, Flesh and the Word 3, The Mammoth Book of New Gay Erotica, Bears and many other anthologies. In 2002 he moved to Seattle where he lives with, and is owned by, his Sir and two cats. (From the Nazca Plains website)

For more information about Northwest Sash Bash 2010, see the website at:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Northwest Sash Bash 2010 Press Release

Set against the magnificent backdrop of the Cascade mountains and the Puget Sound, Leather titleholders from across North America will converge in Seattle, Washington on March 5 - 7 for Northwest Sash Bash 2010. Produced by Generic Leather Productions of Washington, the weekend will offer a variety of events including workshops and discussion groups, play parties, an evening of Leather fantasy performances, and a kinky pajama party co-hosted by Seattle's Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Northwest Sash Bash will give titleholders and their friends an opportunity to enjoy themselves without the frantic pace of contests and the stress of titleholder responsibilities.

Cost for the Northwest Sash Bash weekend is $40, with all proceeds to benefit the Tony Deblase Scholarship. Admission per event will also be offered during the weekend. Lodging for all current titleholders will be supplied by members of Seattle's Leather community.

If you are a current titleholder and would like to attend this year's Northwest Sash Bash, please send your request via e-mail to Also see us on Northwest Sash Bash 2010 on Facebook.

Northwest Sash Bash was first produced in 2004 by Andy Mangels, Mr. Oregon State Leather 2004, and Teresa "Darklady" Reed, Ms. Oregon State Leather 2004. They invited current Leather titleholders from around the United States to visit Portland, Oregon for a weekend of events not centered around a title contest. The first Northwest Sash Bash was such a success that attendees decided to make it a Northwest tradition, trading hosting responsibilities between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Since its inauguration, Blackout Productions of Portland has supported the event.

Northwest Sash Bash 2010 is produced this year by Generic Leather Productions of Washington. codirectors of the weekend are Hugh B Russell, Northwest Leathersir 2010, and Mercea Strecker, American Leatherwoman 1998.

The Tony Deblase Scholarship supports students entering the fields of sex education, sex therapy, research, or furthering the understanding of human sexuality, especially alternative sexuality. All donations go directly to the Tony DeBlase scholarship at the Pride Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and may be tax-deductible.

For a complete schedule, see Weekend Events.

Photo by Travis Hughes. Rights reserved by artist.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Northwest Sash Bash 2010, March 5 - 7

Northwest Sash Bash 2010 will give titleholders and their friends an opportunity to enjoy themselves without the hubbub of contests and the stress of titleholder responsibilities.

Come and enjoy the beautiful city of Seattle and the array of exciting activities including:

- workshops and discussion groups led by Leather leaders in the Northwest
- a kinky pajama party co-hosted with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
- an evening of performance and Leather fantasies
- a play party co-hosted with Seattle's Center for Sex Positive Culture.

All present titleholders will enjoy the hospitality of a local member of Seattle's community.

To attend, send an email to