Speaking out against racism in Leather. A post by Mollena.

Mollena is a community leader, educator and is a vocal POC activist. Her writing style is passionate and bluntly honest, I recommend you check it out here.

If you’re just catching up on the issue of the Portland Eagle Blackface Problem, please read my original post here.

(Thanks to  Sprinkles McGillicuddy for making a captioned version available!)

Some people have stepped up to the place and stepped up as allies.

Being an ally means fighting alongside. It is about taking a stand, in front of everyone. Vocally. Holding people accountable. Not “agreeing to disagree” when people support racism. About saying “privilege is real.” and talking about ways to mitigate racism, ways to educate so that it is a shared responsibility.

Some folks are tired of fighting this fight. I had several People Of Color who fight these fights respond to me privately and say “I support you and i am too tired and to bruised to fight this today.” Because you know what? For a Person of Color? To walk down the street is to make a political statement. To call out racism is a revolutionary act. And we can’t battle this without great personal cost.

I approached Leathati to ask if I could  write an editorial. I was advised that it would be better to have a “Town Hall” style meeting to discuss it as it is a “larger issue.” No response was made to my request to speak on the topic, and then they found someone else. Originally listed as the “Calendar Editor” for Leatherati, Ms. Best’s byline was, subsequent to posting, changed to “contributing editor.” The Leatherati editor then stated that I was unresponsive to his invitation to the “Town Hall” and that he “welcomed” different opinions. I’m not sure how welcoming it is to not answer when one offers to write on an issue, but shit happens and so it goes. He since corrected his error. I invite Leatherati to post my video entry, linked at the top of this blog, as a response.

Almost all of the people responding to Ms. Best’s column defending the racist blackface act were clear: there is no place for this in our Leather community. I want to personally acknowledge, call attention, and give my deepest, humblest gratitude to the people who have, thus far spoken up on that page. Lady !Kona, Patrick Mulcahey, Janet Hardy, Dana Pellebon, Lane Campbell, Sailor, Sé Shay Sullivan, Shannon. I want to call attention to the titleholder who is representing Washington State who commented, most puzzingly, that a drag act where a white man dresses in blackface and mocks the worst stereotypes of Black women is “social commentary that gently pushes us to challenge our own preconceived ideas or propriety and acceptance.”

Thankfully, there are people who are titleholders who are taking a stand against racist performance.

These are Leatherfolks…leaders in the Leather Community…who took a stand.

Master Obsidian’s post http://www.powerandsurrender.com/?p=457

Slave Namaste’s Post http://www.powerandsurrender.com/?p=457

There are people who are leaders in their own right who are taking a strong stand.

Andrea Zanin’s Post http://sexgeek.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/some-dos-and-donts-for-white-perverts-in-our-efforts-to-not-be-racist

Elaine Miller’s Post http://elainemiller.com/blog/2013/blackface-racist-stereotyping-and-other-sophisticated-humour

Sé Shay Sullivan’s post http://twistedqueer.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/here-is-my-response-to-the-leatherati-post-on-defending-racism-for-pay

Leland Carina’s Post http://lelandcarina.com/updates/2013/02/06/empathy

Roxy’s Post http://uncommoncuriosity.com/2013/02/07/outrage/

Zak Greanty’s Post http://zak.greant.com/2013/02/why-is-blackface-harmful.html

Blythe Baldwin’s Post https://www.facebook.com/notes/blythe-baldwin/sounding-off-about-shirley-q-liquors-act-being-cancelled-at-the-eagle-portland/10151512864452265

Karol Collymore’s Post http://bitchmagazine.org/post/im-tired-of-explaining-why-im-offended-by-a-racist-drag-queen

If you are moved to action, please use the contact button to your right, let me know where you are writing and fighting against racism in the Leather community, and I will add you to this post.

I also want to send a particular shout out to the Black Leatherwomen who have walked this path and fought these battled for decades. Your support and your example gives me hope and fortifies my resolve. Thank you, Sisters.

Those of you who have decided that you:

…don’t have time.

…aren’t interested in getting involved.

…don’t see how it impacts you.

…are just gonna let it die down.

…are going to wait until it blows over.

…don’t want to “take sides.”

…will chalk it up to a difference of opinion.

…are not allies.

It is increasingly becoming very difficult for me to even think of you as my friends.

I’m having to do some pretty serious gymnastics to understand how people I love can take a stand to support, or refuse to take a stand against  something that is injurious to people they purport to love.

I beseech you to add your voice. Write a blog post. Link to this one. Comment on the blogs above. Call people out on their shit. Don’t make excuses for your friends when they are taking a stand you know to be wrong. Do not agree to disagree. KNOW THAT YOU ARE RIGHT to call out racism.

In the same way I DO NOT associate with people who are homophobic, sexist, transphobic, anti-choice, etc, I DO NOT associate with people who support racism.

How about you?

2 thoughts on “Speaking out against racism in Leather. A post by Mollena.

  1. This is excellent. Especially the subsequent posts by all the allies continuing the conversation in their own blogs. I love this kind of stuff. I haven’t read them all yet, but I’ll try to get to them when I can. Even if Andrea Zanin’s 5 dos and don’ts were acknowledge more often I believe that would be a big first step.

  2. Awesome! This is something I have often wondered about, as sex, and certainly the BDSM world, seems to get off on the taboo. And taboo includes all kinds of offensive, non politically correct things like incest, racism, unequal power dynamics, slavery (master -slave relationships, anyone?). There’s even a post in here I think about how kink needs to push the boundaries of the acceptable. I get this…sexually. But as a person who identifies as a feminist, and who is all too aware of her white privilege, and works to fight instances of racism, sexism, capitalism, and so on, I have to admit a certain discomfort in some of the themes in the BDSM world. I’d really like to hear what you all think on this one. I know that many have spoken and written about their “choice” to be submissive, or to be a slave, and that as long as it is consensual and brings please to all involved, it’s okay. I suppose so. But is there really no way that some of these acts in some way are racist and sexist? How do we know? What is the boundary? I mean, clearly, in the vanilla world, tying someone up, spanking them, and or/locking them in a cage is so not okay. In fact, it can get you put in jail. So…in some ways the BDSM world has different rules. What are they? And what does it mean to be a kinky feminist (add your own -ist here)?

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