Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Community vs The Personal

Here in Melbourne, we are trying to pull together a cohesive Leather community. Something that has come up and we are presently discussing is protocols - should we have community wide protocols and if so, what should they be. (Because honestly the Old Guard sort of things don't suit any of us around here.)

Opinions are flying all over the place and I find myself wondering: is the time of community-wide protocols a thing of the past?

We are trying to build a system, and that's a hard thing to do. It's even harder when you're trying to build a system that may override other people's systems that they currently have in place and do not want to part with. We are all coming to the table with our own protocols, our own ways of doing things. ANY system that we install in regards to protocol is going to step on someone's personal protocols. ANY system.

In other countries where the current system has grown out of the old system, it's a little easier. It's already there, just adjusting every so often. But there has been a hole in Melbourne in regards to Leather for some years, so any old system that existed here has fallen through the cracks, and we are left to start again.

Starting again can be a good thing. But... again, I find myself back to this question: has the moment passed? Because we have no foundation to build on, will we ever find ourselves in a position where we can build a system without ruining the personal systems of others?

As our society becomes more and more individualistic, and Leather does as well, is there even a place for community-wide protocols in our world now?

This is a vibrant and tumultuous time for the Melbourne Leather community. It will be interesting not only to watch events unfold, but to be a part of them.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


With some little rules the boy has, I don't feel like punishing every single time he breaks them would be productive. So we have a three strike system, for things like being in bed on time or starting to eat before I do.

He had his three strikes with the bed time rule recently, so he got ten strikes with the cane.

Normally I am against using play equipment for punishment within D/s relationships - after all, that stuff is the stuff we use for fun, it shouldn't be used as punishment, or it confuses everyone and can lead to breaking rules just for punishing.

But the thing is, that the boy is not a pain slut, and the boy does not like the cane already. So I don't feel that it's confusing to use the cane to punish him.

I tell you what though, it's hard to punish sometimes. Every stroke of the cane felt like I was thwacking my own heart. I am terribly soft hearted about the boy, I love him dearly and I don't like seeing him in pain or punished. Especially because he works so very hard to be the best boy he can be. So punishments for him end up being tests of my endurance as much as his.

Afterwards we had a cuddle and he sniffled that he doesn't like being punished, which REALLY DID NOT HELP MY BLEEDING HEART. But I then felt better we he continued, "made me hard though". :P

Saturday, February 19, 2011


In stark contrast to my recent entry, I've been shaking my head a little (in the good way!) at BDSM clubs and the BDSM scene.

You see, a lot of people think BDSM clubs are scary, intimidating places. I suppose there's good reason for that - I mean people do go there to get beaten up or to beat up others, and that's pretty intense for our lizard brains to handle, even if it is something we're interested in ourselves.

But you see... perverts are all huge nerds.

This is true. Absolute truth. Trufax.

We laugh and heckle each other's beatings with cries of "sorry, I didn't see that, could you do that again?". We do tickle torture scenes. We have people come in costumes that would be just as much at home at a geek convention (last month's Kinky best dressed prize went to a dark stormtrooper).

And, like I took part in last night, we occasionally spend an hour squealing memes at each other across the club.

Nothing quite like a bunch of perverts in a hardcore serious business BDSM club reciting lines from Charlie the Unicorn loudly.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Burden of Leather

Last night's Melbourne Leather Dinner was very good, lots of good discussion.

There was some heavy discussion, particularly about HIV and the current soaring rates among young women, and about how my age group was not alive during the AIDS crisis and did not go through the heart wrenching days of funeral after funeral while the world just shrugged and was glad your people were dying. We talked about how the drag queens and the Leather community were the ones to look after those with HIV and AIDS, nursing them and caring for them when no one else would - about how that sort of thing was the burden of Leather. Caring for our people and looking out for them, even when it's hard, especially when it's hard, is the burden of Leather.

A lot of the discussion was about how we don't want to push that burden onto people much anymore, as we want to bring new blood into Leather and we want to show people that it's here without scaring them off.

I was thinking about many of the young people I know, myself and my friends, and my friends of friends.

We weren't there for the AIDS crisis, but a lot of us know what it did, know what it meant. A lot of us are heavily invested in our history, we research our past and we listen to those that came before us. Yes, there are certainly (probably a majority of) young people who don't give a toss about the past, and those are the ones at the most risk. But there are a lot of us who are serious about remembering the mistakes of the past, and not repeating them. There are those of us who also turn our attention to the problems of today, without losing sight of what came before.

But I guess I want to reassure you, if you're older, that there are young people who care, we exist.

There are young people who don't mind the burden.

I am quite lucky (or perhaps just discerning) in that most of my friends are actively involved in caring for one another and trying to improve the world. We do everything we can.

Some things me and my young folk have been doing over the last year or two:

* Easing homelessness where we can by setting up new sharehouses and giving folks a couch or a spare room when they have nowhere to go.
* Setting up new social groups so people feel less isolated.
* Lobbying for changes in legislation.
* Helping each other move house, often out of toxic situations.
* Gentle, loving care to victims of hate crimes.
* Slowly reconfiguring what consent means and what we can do to make consent more meaningful and cut down on sexual assault and harassment.
* Choosing careers in nursing and aged care so that we can look after our own when no one else wants to.
* Choosing careers in law and medicine so that there are people with power who are sympathetic to our needs.
* Organized fundraisers for a variety of causes, all causes that no "respectable" organization wants to touch.

These are a small example of the things young people today are doing. All of these examples are coming from people I know, not just people I've heard about.

I know that the majority of young people aren't like this. Sure.

But I just want to promise you that there are young people who are willing, able, prepared to, and are already carrying the burden.

I just want to promise and reassure you that I, as a young person, am willing, able, prepared to, and am already carrying the burden. I have no plans to stop any time soon, and I doubt those I know do either. One day I won't be a young person anymore, but I'll still be happy to carry the burden.

We are your next generation, and we know that. There are those of us who are willing to not only live up to what you've left before us, but we will strive to improve the world even further.

Friday, February 11, 2011

MAsT and Communities and Events

MAsT is coming to Melbourne! I am so dreadfully excited. I've often read about MAsT on Fetlife and was rather sad there wasn't a Melbourne chapter. Fortunately, Master Joe and kim will be setting up one here, after coming back from their trip to the USA and chatting with the MAsT people.

I'm really pleased about this news. There's some discussion on Fetlife about whether this is something that Melbourne needs... really now, I don't think needs are what we should always look at when it comes to communities. We should look at wants. We should look at "what can we do to make it better"s. And I think that MAsT will be an asset to our community.

There seems to be a scarcity model of thinking by a lot of kinksters in Melbourne - we can't have too many events, or no one will go to any. We can't have too many groups, because there will be too much cross pollination. But I think that's ridiculous. I'm very much an abundance-model thinker, and I think that if you build it, they will come. So what if there's some overlap of memberships? That doesn't stop different groups performing their different duties, just with the same people.

We now have a club event on every weekend of every month in Melbourne. The scene is not dying. It is thriving. The only way I can think to make it better at this point is that if more clubs start up, they should have a focus - ie, women only events, young people's events, rubber events, etc.

Who knows, maybe I'll even start up that transgender/genderqueer/intersex BDSM night again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I've been thinking about covers a lot over the last few months. Even more so now that they've been buzzing about as both a topic and in a material sense in my local scene. First a few basics so you know what I'm talking about when I get to my actual thoughts.

A cover, in Leather, refers to a head covering, usually a cap. In some circles cover seems synonymous with a Muir cap, but it can really be any type of cap or hat I imagine. I can't see why not.

Muir caps are the type used as Master covers, or Master caps. What this means is that when a Master is granted the right to use that title by their community, a muir cap is usually the style presented.

So about that - cover ceremonies. It doesn't appear to be that common anymore (that I can see, at least around here) for Masters to have cover ceremonies, or even for Masters to not take on that title until their community gives it to them.

In theory, "Master" is a title that either a) your slave calls you and no one else does, or b) you are given the right to use by your community, for great service to the community and for being a good example (and are presented with a Master's cap, at a cover ceremony... you see how this all fits together?). In practise, it seems to be a lot more loosely wound than that - and that's probably a good thing.

Anyway, I know that's a little disjointed, but honestly I don't feel I'm any authority on the subject so I don't want to get into details because I don't really know any.

As I was saying, I've been thinking about covers a lot over the past few months. I've been thinking about them and thinking about my vest. I bought my vest myself, as a symbol of who I am and who I can become. It was deliberately something I wanted to come into my care to me from me, an act of autonomy and responsibility towards what it represents.

I do not feel the same about covers. I doubt I will ever buy my own Muir cap.

Call me a little old fashioned perhaps, but there's something about what a Master's cover can mean when it is gifted by one's peers, that is lacking should one buy it oneself. There is some connection to the rich history of Leather in that idea, and while I am generally against meritocracies for the overall population, in subcultures like Leather I think they can be valuable things.

I want to know, deep in my soul, that if I ever wear a Master's cap, it is because I am worthy, and am accepted as such.

It is very connected to the reasons why I felt I needed to design myself a coming of age rite in my adult years. I want to know that I have what it takes. I want to know that I can be the best I can be. I want to know that I deserve every moment of my various enlightenments and achievements.

A little wanky? Sure. But why shouldn't Leather be a little wanky, if it gets us hot? That's why we're here, isn't it? And I find deep, great joy in being a little wanky and taking some things just that little bit too seriously.

I do hope to one day be worthy of a cover ceremony - but I am not in any hurry. I have plenty of time to work slowly and carefully at who I am, to slowly grow into the person who may be given such a gift.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Anniversaries & Sex & Tumblrs

Yesterday was my fourth anniversary with the boy, which makes this officially the longest relationship either of us has had. Probably doesn't sound like that long, but I am only 25 and boy is only 26, so the ratio of relationship to life lived is pretty good, I think. :)

I have pretty poor luck with anniversaries; it started with my first relationship, where my first anniversary ever was spent in tears as my boyfriend dumped me on that day (poor timing on his part, much?). Since then all kinds of disasters have occurred on anniversaries. But I keep celebrating them stubbornly.

Yesterday wasn't much of an exception; first I forgot my ID, which you kind of need in casinos. Then later in the evening, we got evacuated from Crown cinemas and didn't get to see our trashy gay ass film because there was flood damage!! Flash floods in Melbourne were determined to make a farce of our anniversary. But that's okay. Farces do tend to be funny after all :)

The two really good bits of our anniversary was first, the sushi train we went to (which has now lead to boy calling me Sushi Cat, because I am blue (true) and fat (true) and defy physics (less true). Secondly, the great sex we had before bed. Which was good, because we haven't had a lot of time or energy for sex recently. Something we should probably both work on.

Sex is a tricky issue - in the last few years I've been discovering that I can feel completely fulfilled without sex. Which is actually kind of a problem because it lowers the priority of sex in my life, and that's not what I want to happen. But, I have plans in place for improving my sex drive and finding the time to spend plenty of sexytime with the boy in the coming months.

Finally, just a quick note about tumblr (a service that really needs to buy a vowel) - I've started a tumblr to act as a sort of portfolio for my ropework. If you're interested it's over here: