Community Comment: Back to the Basics of Leather – The Importance of Levi Leather Clubs

This picture actually was from Menamore’s run in 1999 and was the year they held the fundraiser “Shave the Bear” during their run. The fundraiser that weekend had Russ Brannen shaving Joseph Bean, Chris Zimmerman Law and Frank from the Keywest Wreckers. I have no idea what we were laughing at, but we WERE laughing our asses off!

Community Comment is an occasional column written by community members on various topics of living a leather, bear and kink lifestyle.

Earlier JP Garner III had posted a picture from the Trident Knight Levi Leather Club Millennium run in 1999 and was talking about what a close bond that we all had. These were amazing times. It was a testament to brotherhood of how we all came together and supported one other. You could always find leathermen and leatherwomen gathered from the Charlotte Tradesmen, Panther L/L, Coastal Empire Sentinels, Menamore, Tarheel Leather Club, Keywest Wreckers, Trident International South Florida, Carolina Bear Lodge, Blue Max, Rogues Leather, Conductors L/L, Knighthawks of Virginia, clubs from Columbia, Kentucky, New Orleans and Florida. We all knew each other and had a blast at the runs. We would participate in the games in hopes to win an award to take home to place in our club’s display case. You could only hope that your club would win an award for most club members in attendance or for who traveled the furthest. We competed and fought hard for those awards. The weekend culminated with the announcement of the weekend pig award! I think that the best part of the run often was Sunday afternoon when the awards were given out before we all prepared to return home, knowing that time would pass quickly until we were able to gather once again.

These were times with tons of laughter, an immense amount of drinking, hot play and debauchery! Just as important too, there was a lot of love and respect exchanged between clubs and people involved in our community. This was time that real life lessons were taught, stories were exchanged in order to uphold our history as leathermen and leatherwomen and the history of our clubs were shared throughout the weekend. This was an essential time for new leathermen and women to be cultivated. THIS is where leather was learned!…not in books, not online, not at a contest, but in real situations and experiences.

We need to share this experience and these lessons with he next generation of leathermen and women. We need to lead by example. It’s important for us to support our clubs, to work at cultivating new people and to pass on our history, a history that is becoming lost as people no longer know the history of leather, the history of our clubs and where this all started.

I challenge you all to make this a year of devotion to the cultivation of Leather, to commit to demonstrating WHO and WHAT we are… To what we love!

I’m an out and proud leatherdyke. I love my brothers and sisters no matter what we come up against. It’s not always easy. It is imperative though to commit to being there for one another though. You don’t turn your back on each other or be fly by night. This is not a passing fad. It is ingrained into us, a part of who we are, not the whole, but a portion. Our clubs are being pushed further and further out of what we call the “leather community.”

My goal for 2016 is to see our clubs work at solidifying as a community, supporting one another and to get back to enjoying time together, laughing our asses off and having good play and debauchery once again in our lives. No more politics, no more stand and model and, no imaginary hierarchy. Many of us are not on a mission to be a part of mainstream society; our leather and kink is fed by being on the outside fray, relishing in the dark side of life. It’s not just about sex and hooking up. It really is much akin to a fraternal organization, the connections, the bond and the values and ethics that we lend to our clubs.

Heading into 2016, Low Country Leather in Charleston, SC will be celebrating our second anniversary as we prepare to host our inaugural run themed, Low Country Leather – Down the Rabbit Hole the weekend of February 26-28. It’s our hope that we will be able to provide a run that is in the lines of runs of the past. We’re hoping to see leathermen and leatherwomen from not only here in the Southeast, but from across the nation join us for this momentous occasion for our club! We will be having themed cocktail parties held by neighboring clubs. There will be clubs sponsoring male and female play parties all weekend long. In addition, we are excited to be showcasing our first ever “Fantasy Fight” http://www.lowcountryleather.com/fantasy-fight.html. The plan is to have clubs create entertaining fantasies in order to battle one another for the soon to be coveted Low Country Leather Fantasy Fight Champion award. We are pitting club against club, brothers and sisters against brothers and sisters all in hopes of creating a fun and competitive atmosphere for everyone attending. No holds bar as each group brings their best to battle it out. Hopefully this will be an on going competition for clubs to return each year and defend their title! It’s all about a lot of laughter, love, and freedom to express who we are.

It’s time to return to the simplicity of having fun and sharing the love of who we are as leathermen and leatherwomen as we pass on our traditions. Let’s work at getting back to basics. Help to put the fun back into our leather and kink.


Paula Smith is a founder of Low Country Leather in South Carolina.