The Path to Leather is that Way —>

I by no means am a Leather expert nor have I been presented anything aside from gifted pieces. These are my experiences and thoughts and have them here as an aid to help others learn as I was fortunate enough to have people in my journey to help me learn as well.

I first really became interested in Leather culture at my first educational event called a “Bootcamp” at a local beginner’s group after hearing a local (at the time) capped Leather Master speak about the history, the community, the ideals that Leather is about and stands for. A lot of what was said seemed very familiar due to vanilla affiliations of mine and immediately became something I wanted to hold myself to and be involved with, but how? I began asking questions and researching everything I could on my own because of course Google is the answer. I found an immense about of information online from articles to books to videos to forums and websites but at the same time found absolutely nothing to tell me how to get started. Where are the blazes to mark the trail, the signs pointing this way, a tour guide maybe. Where is the fucking trailhead on this path?!

I was lucky enough to have someone in the community with his own Leather lineage that was willing to help me discover my own path by answering my questions, helping me learn just about anything I could be curious about, and pointing me toward others to talk to for different perspectives. Poor bastard probably had no idea that I was going to pester the shit out of him with my questions and curiosity. With everything I had learned so far, it just solidified my desire to continue toward this goal. In other organizations that I am and had been involved in, there is a clear path, a petition or application, rites of passage, lessons to be learned and dues to be paid, etc; all I have to do is find that path of enlightenment and I’m golden. I just knew that I’d find that heavily trafficked path to the land of Leather and would be rocking boots and a vest… but wtf, where are the foot prints? All these damn Leatherfolk that I see, read about, and hear about there has to be some common starting point but I’ll be damned if I could find it.

I went through a period of bordering frustration and disappointment trying to figure out how to get started, how to “become Leather”, earn the leather I’ve heard and read about, and find the ever elusive “path into Leather”. Well, I’m gonna hopefully save some of yall some of the same internal dialog I had and tell you exactly where that highway of Hide is that leads you on the straight path to the land of Leatherfolk. Ready? There isn’t one. So of you’re looking for it the real secret is you have to change what you are looking for. In my research and study of Leather culture I kept seeing all of these mnemonics such as THIRD, LEATHER, HILT, etc. and interpreted them as ways of remembering the values of the Leather culture. Cool, good shit to remember right? Well here’s another reason why they seem to ring out across the Leather culture whether as mnemonics or individually noted values. They are the path markers I had been searching for. They are the white blaze of the AT that keeps you on the path and from wandering into the woods to get lost at night or from crashing off a cliff that you cannot return from.

Why hadn’t I seen this earlier? Simple, because it wasn’t what I thought I was looking for. What seems to get mistaken as the path into Leather, or atleast was for me, isn’t the path into Leather but a path into a group be it a Leather family, house, etc. So screw the focus on patches, the presentation of leathers, the inclusion into a group, the validation or perception of value of being a recognized community member. What it’s about is that personal journey, growing and discovering your authentic self with ethics and integrity. If you end up in a group of like minds and shared mentalities then cool, but know that Leather is how you live not what you wear or what group you’re a part of. Chances are, if you found yourself here then you likely are well on your way without realizing it. The trailhead to Leather is in your heart.

So to those that are searching for the Leather path, here are some of the blazes that identify the heading. Sometimes we may wander off our path but remember it’s never too late to be the person you should have been and get back on track.

Trustworthy
Honor and humility
Integrity
Respect
Discipline

Learning constantly
Evolving always
Accepting
Trained traditionally
Honest
Ethical
Respectful

Honor and Humility

I
ntegrity

L
oyalty

T
rustworthy
 

~EastBound

(adopted from an old writing on another social media account of mine)

So you think you might want to be a Cavalier…

Hi there, have you come to the place where you are asking yourself if joining the club is for you? Here are a few questions to ask yourself that might help you decide.

The first question to ask yourself is “Why do you want to join?”. If you are interested in the leather lifestyle, serving your community, and the fellowship of like-minded people we just might be a good fit.

Second, have you attended any of our business meetings? Come to one and let us introduce ourselves. We meet at 8:00 pm at the LGBT Life Center (formerly The LGBT Center of Hampton Roads) and the great majority of our meetings are open to the public. This is the place where we decide what we want to do, where we want to do it, and how we can improve our community. We collect dues from our members, decide on fundraisers, what to do with the funds, and more.

The third question is “Have you been to a Bar Night?” We head to our home bar, MJ’s Tavern, on Granby Street in Norfolk and head over immediately after the business meeting, roughly at 9 p.m. It is the social center of the club and the place to get to know the membership. Sometimes we have themes. Most of the time the theme is to hang out and have fun together. The members and pledges will take turns with fundraisers ranging from Jell-O shots to drawings to sales and auctions. Since you never know what is going to be happening, it’s best to just come to all of our Bar Nights. For even more fun, come to the bar nights of our brother club, the Knight Hawks, on the second Saturday of the month too!

Once you get to know us and you decide you want to be a part of the club, the next step is to ask one of us for a membership application. You will need to get three members to sign the application and then get it to the Club’s Vice President. The VP will review the application for completeness before presenting it to the membership committee, who will assign you a sponsor, typically one of the three people who signed your application. This person will be your representative to the club during the pledge process and the pledge Master will be the club’s. When the next pledge class forms, you will embark on a four to eight month process intended to let the club get to know you and you to know the club.

We have two scheduled pledge classes a year, one in March and in September and your pledge term will most likely begin in one of those classes. You must submit your completed application and application fee to the Vice President prior to the February meeting to be in the March Pledge class, and the August meeting to be in the September class. While a Pledge, you will attend all club functions, participate in fundraisers, organize and participate in a community service project, work on your pledge book, and do other projects assigned by the Pledge Master. At the end of the pledge period, the club votes. If at least two thirds of the membership votes for you, you are a Full Member.

Your’s in Leather,

Master Wes

The Cavaliers’ Blog

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