Community Comment: Walk your path

When Adam gave me his first harness, I didn’t think anything of it. It was a mere trinket that I couldn’t understand why it had such meaning to him. Time went on and it was tossed in my closet like a forgotten piece of time. Eventually it became a relic of my past and my relationship.

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

He used to tell me “you should do something in the community, I think you’d find a home here…” I ignored him telling him it was a delusional idea that didn’t fit me. He just snickered like he knew a secret and wouldn’t tell me. Time moved forward, occasionally we’d talk about ‘tradition’, ‘honor’, ‘integrity’ and really? What made him happy to call this community a ‘home’.

Ren Rushold

He was never known, someone in the background with never a picture taken of him. Someone who just loved to see people, and watch them interact. He was a loving, caring person who never judged anyone in the world for what they did or said. Even when walking through the bars in a small town and people calling him a “Dirty faggot” because he was HIV Positive. I’d be ready to fight and he’d calm me down telling me that they aren’t his friends so what they say shouldn’t hurt. But I could tell it did, he had the patience of a God and the heart of a child.

Then on Halloween of 2008 he died, and with it everything I knew of the world at the time. A part of me died with him that night, and while it was a part of me that died, it was the part of me that hated people, it was the part of me that always wanted to be right, to be bad, to do stupid things, to have an ego, to bring negativity into the world… That part of me died with him there in the car… But from that tragedy something was given to me. The love that he had, the strength that he had, the hope that he had, the warmth that he had…. He passed that on to me.

So I went home and months later I found that harness. I put it on, I felt him. Around me, in me, I felt proud… And without him ever telling me the importance for his first harness being passed down to me? I knew what it meant to me. I wore it for a few years, and recently I passed it on to someone I loved very much. Again, without explaining its meaning I gave it to a friend. But the meaning it has is now unique to myself and my friend….

My point for this story, it doesn’t matter where the gear came from. It doesn’t matter how new you are here, or how long you’ve been here. It doesn’t matter how much involvement you’ve done, or how little. It doesn’t matter what traditions you follow or if your an anarchist.

I walk my path as a Fucking PROUD Leatherman, a Sir, a pup, a friend, a lover, a brother, and a punk…. Adam was an unknown, and just as was said this past weekend… That pebble, that man… Helped shape me into the man I am today.

I am done with the judgments, I am done with the looks, I am done worrying about what this world thinks of what I’ve earned or what I haven’t. I don’t just speak for myself I speak for the countless people who have told me they haven’t earned a place here. This is my home too, and I say you’ve all earned a place to call home. Be done with the hate, be done with the war on one another. Be the family we claim to be, and sure that doesn’t mean getting along with everyone all the time but we’re family… You grow up and move forward.

Stand the fuck up for yourself and what you believe in, never falter to anyone, most importantly…. FIGHT.


Ren Rushold is Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2016.