An Open Letter to the Guy Who Came into the Store and Told Me He’s Going to “Revitalize” the Leather Community

Dear Guy,

First off, let me just say how much I admire your ambition. You’ve got pluck and moxie, and you are going to go far in this world. In fact, the further you go away from me, the better! Ha ha!

Seriously, though, you’re kind of a jerk, and here’s why: When people announce that they’re going to “revitalize” or “unify” a given subcultural community, what they really mean is that they want to be in charge of it. And I say this, because over the past couple of years I’ve met at least three other High Cow Messiahs who were going to “bring the community together” under their personal, benevolent dictatorship, regardless of whether the members of said community wanted or needed it. (Spoiler: We didn’t and don’t.)

I tried telling you about some of the nationally-recognized leather events in the Houston area that attract attendees from across the country (GLUE, LUEY, Spring Iniquity, etc.), but you were dismissive of all of them. “Nobody goes out anymore,” you said. “I want to change that.” Thing is, the most effective way for you to encourage people to go out would be to get involved in one of the events listed above, and use your drive as momentum for the function’s continued, exponential success. But I don’t think that’s going to fly with you. After all, every one of these wingdings has a captain firmly situated at the helm, and I suspect taking direction from higher-ups isn’t really your strong suit.

I’m sorry you find the Houston leather scene so lacking when compared to those of Dallas and Washington, D.C., but you’d probably be less aggravated about it if you, y’know, didn’t compare them. I’m not sure why you think Houston fails to “present a united front” like Dallas apparently does, unless by “present a united front,” you meant “hang out at the same bar.” Which is weird, because Dallas leatherfolk hang out at the Eagle and the Hidden Door, whereas Houston peeps only hang out at Ripcord. Ergo, we are much more unified in our choice of venue. No vote-splitting in H-Town, I’ll tell you what!

Speaking of votes, you mentioned that you’re planning on running for a title, so I assume this whole “revitalization” thing is part of your platform. Here’s the problem with that: It’s been done. Relentlessly. To the point where we literally made up a game about it and played it on the radio. And the fact that you’re unaware of such a long-standing joke suggests you might be just a wee bit out of touch with the community you’ve decided to save. I know the Wide World of Leather isn’t the same as it was when you were active in it however many years ago, and in another however many years it will look completely different than it does today. That’s because a community is an organism, not an organization: It expands, contracts, changes, adapts, and evolves. But if you don’t understand that, if you barge in going, “No no no, this is all wrong, let me fix it,” all you’re really doing is insulting the individuals and groups that did some amazing things while you weren’t around.

For the time being, maybe you could attend some events, hit up the weekly bartending nights, work on re-establishing old connections, and be on the lookout for ways you can serve your community, instead of blindsiding everyone with a futile attempt at a hostile takeover. Just as you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar, you’ll get more people psyched about leather by leading through example versus being a dick.

Regardless of the path you choose, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. I’m sure you’ll ultimately do what’s right for you, and that’s all anyone can really ask.

But trust me on the platform.

Hugs and air-kisses,


PS: Don’t be a dick.

5 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Guy Who Came into the Store and Told Me He’s Going to “Revitalize” the Leather Community

  1. Thomas, I particularly loved your comment, “{the leather} community is an organism, not an organization: It expands, contracts, changes, adapts, and evolves.”
    This contest queen needs to do some googling of the gay leather scene to learn about. it’s evolution, history and culture. I share yours and others who predict that this guy’s flirtation with pursuing a title sash won’t end well for him.

    Liked by 1 person

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