I’ve always operated on the fringes of the Leather community. I identify as “Leather,” but don’t behave the way the Leather community behaves. They are very active with Leather-related fundraisers and volunteer work; they dress Leather at conferences and have a good support network. Mostly, they’re gay, of either gender, but that doesn’t really affect their heart/spirit. I tend to do my own thing: I write books and have a magical home life with my Owner and slave.
Rather out of the blue, David Rhodes wrote to ask if I were going to be at the upcoming Pantheon of Leather conference in Chicago. “Well, I hadn’t thought about it.” I replied. “I think you may want to be here,” he said. In the end, he suggested strongly that if at all possible, I should attend. He wouldn’t really say why, but I got the idea.
Pantheon is David’s own personal conference and it is attended by a core group of serious Leatherfolk.
David produces The Leather Journal, a newspaper listing notable events in the Leather world (now replaced by Leatherati.com) and the winners of titles at gay bars across the US. He and his camera are fixtures at any M/s or gay leather conference. We’d been “chatting” for a number of years. By this point, I suppose I’ve been to 20+ conferences. As he generally attended both Beyond Vanilla and Southplains Leather Fest, I would have been seeing him twice a year since about 2003 or 4.
At any rate, I showed up and found most of the heavy-weight presenters from the Leather scene. They were “insiders,” I was an outsider. As it happens, I had been nominated and chosen as “Community Choice—man” for 2008. Completely unexpected, I guess I was getting known for the books.