In 2013 I attended Beyond Leather and had my first experience with people who identified as “leather. With the structure, etiquette, and sense of community I wanted to learn more. So I started to talk to people who identified as leather and reading up on any sources I could. I attended a number of events, large and small, to gain a broader sense of what “being leather” could mean.
After about 6 months of investigating what a leather path may look like I knew it was a journey I wanted to take. I appreciated the emphasis on community. Of sharing the knowledge you have been given with those that are seeking. Dedication to service to your partners, family, and community. Commitment to personal growth. The way families and leather houses were structured. The process of earning of leather as one progressed.
The next year and a half saw a lot of major events for me. Some were exciting (finishing my Master’s degree) and some were rough (the end of my relationship and service to my Sir). Throughout the ups and downs though I tried to stick with my path. I continued to give back when ever I could through educational opportunities and volunteering.
Last weekend at Beyond Leather 2015 a small group of people, whom consider family and dear friends, honored me with my first earned leather: a vest. It was their way of recognizing my perseverance and dedication to my leather journey regardless of what life has thrown my way. I was overwhelmed by the gesture and hope that this will be one of many steps along my journey where those I respect and admire will be proud of me.