As International Ms Leather 2010, I weathered my own share of controversy. The IMsL 2015 has already weathered quite a bit of controversy. Those of you who have been following along on FaceBook and FetLife don’t need a rehash, but suffice to say that we’ve been waging wars on many fronts, starting with this image, which was to be the 2015 t-shirt.
I saw it as problematic FIRST and FOREMOST because your main job as IMsL / IMsBB is outreach. Kiiiinda hard to do that with a dickgun shirt. Secondly, in this climate of terrible gun violence, I thought it was insensitive to have a sexually violent image on the shirt for a women’s Leather event. This isn’t a handshake-image.
Many people thought this was true. Still others thought it a “politically-correct over-reaction.” In the ensuing debate, some really busted shit happened. People I trusted violated my trust and insulted me. Lines were drawn and the conversation got real ugly. I was accused of being a hypocrite, because I have done some edgy scenes. As if engaging in consensual BDSM role-play means I cannot stand against non-consensual violence? How that makes any sense is beyond me. But I digress…
But in spite of the flamewars, some folks stayed productive. And tried to make shit happen. Some folks got together and drafted a letter to explain what we were looking for, and what the Producers of IMsL could do to help heal these wounds. And the Producing team listened.
I want to thank Angel Adeyoha and Koja Adeyoha for doing so much heavy lifting with drafts of the letter. I need to thank Sharrin and Pat for actually listening and doing the work. I must thank Kona Katranya for being my Mahalia. And I gotta shout out Ms. South Africa Leather, Selogadi Mampane, for reminding me how fierceness can stand even when others tell you to stand down.
And no – NOW I feel like I can attend with an open heart.
Through the generosity of Herr Meister, I’ve been granted permission and the time to go to IMsL/IMsBB next month. I need to figure out the finances, but I have faith a way will be made. I know, I know, who the fuck cares if I go to a Leather Contest? But I know some do. And I feel now that so much has been sacrificed and so many good people have worked so hard that my body in the room does matter. So, I’m-a try to make it, y’all. Plus I hear that Dixie De La Tour is doing a Bawdy Storytelling event there on Sunday night. Y’all know I can tell some stories….