Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ways of Serving the Community

Do you know what a community is?

A community is a group of people. Individuals, with individual desires, dreams, hopes, aspirations and problems.

There is a Leather community, a kink community, a queer community, a gay community... there are a lot of communities, all made up of individual people who have some things in common with each other.

In Leather, people often speak of "serving the community". This type of service is not restricted to bottoms - it is something that all people, regardless of orientation, are encouraged to do. The community in question, usually, is the Leather community. Service? Well, that can be anything.

I choose to believe this attitude in Leather is based on Golden Rule principles - let's care for other people and be good people (whatever that might mean individually). This is a large idea that many communities make use of; the idea of taking care of each other. In Australia, we even have a cultural idea behind this, that we call "mateship". In short, "one must look out for one's mates", and in Australia, in the idea of "mateship" when used as a cultural idea, means that most of us are all mates. Mate, in case you're not familiar with the slang, means dear friend. So, mateship is looking after each other.

In Leather, service, while not exclusively this, can be seen to be looking out for others in the community.

So let's get back to what a community is. It's a person.

So to apply "service to the community"... we can apply this to the idea of "looking out for someone" as an act of service.

Now that might seem a little obvious, but I wanted to talk around it a little, so you could see where I am coming from.

The boy's 36 hours in the cage had to be broken. I received a phone call at 2am that night (why are these types of phone calls always between 2-4am?). Someone dear to me needed help. They were in a bad situation and while they were in a safe place in that moment, they had to move out of home as soon as possible.

I told them to relax for the night, and the boy and I would be there tomorrow. I woke the boy up and told him that I needed him to move to the bed so he could get a good night's sleep - I summarized the situation.

He woke up fully immediately and asked if we had to go then and there. I told him no, but we would have to go tomorrow, so I needed him to sleep well. He ended up staying in the cage after all (apparently he sleeps very well in there), but I left the door unlocked.

The next day, I called another friend for extra manpower, and together we all moved someone out of home in about an hour.

It got me thinking about what an act of service can be, and to whom it can be given.

Yesterday, we did a very good thing. We helped remove someone from a toxic situation. That act, in of itself, was looking out for someone. Taking care of them.

Aside from helping them specifically, they will now be in a better place to help others in future, and to perform their own services for the community.

Yesterday, we committed an act of service for the community. It may not have looked that way, perhaps... but what is a community? A community is made up of people.

Yesterday, we helped a person. This is a revolutionary act. An act of kindness, an act of care, and yes, even an act of service to the community.

Yesterday, we performed an act that was completely and utterly an important piece of what Leather is all about.

The idea of committing to serving the community can be a daunting aspect of Leather life. But it can be as simple as small acts of kindness, or as large as operating a community space. Leather doesn't care how much you give - only that you give it.


  1. That was an awesome entry, I'm really digging the way you're writing these, even while lacking anything particularly insightful to add!

  2. Service comes in many forms, thankfully. One of the most important for me is that of having each others' back, keeping 6. And as you've said here, mateship. Empowerment, trust, solidarity. That's how a community sustains itself: many acts either one-time or ongoing in the service of creating and maintaining healthy loving communities. Whether it's volunteering at events or moving someone out of a shitty situation. This one act will create opportunities for this person to engage in many more, and that is a fabulous thing :)