Recently I was challenged by a seasoned leatherman about why it is I want to be a part of the Leather Community. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t just some punk who is in it only to strut around in gear and look hot (which is of course partially true). After a bit of thought I came up with this:
My number one reason for being and investing in the Leather Community is for community. People need people and having folks to support and teach you, laugh and cry with, and just hang out with day-to-day is incredibly significant. New York City can be a daunting place and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. I floated around for a while before meeting the men of the Eagle and now that I’ve gotten to know some of them, I’m very content and happy to be in their company.
I realize I’m still a pup in this leatherman world…a boy with a lot of eagerness and a lot to learn. Some might say my blog is a bit impudent and brash with its claim on the Mr. Eagle title, but I say it shows my dedication and enthusiasm to a group of men who inspire and thrill me. I’m very open to any comments, suggestions, or criticisms anyone has…because I’m here to learn and grow. While the strict structure of the L.C. has mostly faded away, I’m still keen on following the rites of passage that boys and men once had to follow. I think of myself as a boy who looks to his elders* for knowledge and guidance (and by “elders” I don’t mean “old”) and I’m open to whatever they will teach me. The mentoring relationship is a powerful one and something all men need.
Boys get into trouble and they need–and I dare say want–to be taught. Having peers who will listen and guide you on issues like career, love, family or what kind of jockstrap to buy is what shapes men into stronger individuals. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months asking questions and just listening to the stories and advice of my brothers and I’ve found I gain a lot by hearing their perspective.
Gay culture has developed and changed so much over the recent decades and I feel it’s important to know the stories of the previous generations. Since queer isn’t something that necessarily passes down through family blood lines, the history of what we’ve done and where we’ve come from can get lost in the passage of time. By having connections to men in the L.C., I’m able to learn and preserve this knowledge…and thus pass it on myself.
Brotherhood is important to me…it’s something I lacked growing up in a straight world dominated by homophobia. Now that I’ve found a group of men who welcome and understand me, I’m eager to learn from them and become a contributing member to their community.
Becoming Mr. Eagle is an idea…a driving force that encourages me to press onward and be the best man I can be. The end result is still very much unknown, but the journey is sure to be a fun one with a lot of personal growth. I feel more content now in the L.C. than I’ve felt in years. This is where I choose to call home. This is who I want to be.