Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

The Chicago Hellfire Club: A closer look
by Ross Forman
2010-07-14

This article shared 25383 times since Wed Jul 14, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The Chicago Hellfire Club is one of the most mysterious organizations within the LGBT community, but, as the private gay men's club prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary starting this November, club president Roger Scheid sat down for an exclusive interview. He spoke with the Windy City Times' Ross Forman about the Hellfire 13's members, memberships, practices and attitude toward transgender people, among other topics.

The Chicago Hellfire Club is one of the oldest, and certainly one of the leading, BDSM ( bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism ) leather organizations in the United States.

There are about 400 members, including 70 who live in the Chicagoland area. Members are as young as 21 and some are in their 70s. The group is commonly referred to as Hellfire 13 after its 13 original founding members—and one of the 13 is still alive and active in the organization.

"It's a safe place to come and play, a great place to learn," said Roger Scheid, in his fourth year as president of the club. "We are a private gay men's club that believes in practices of a leather lifestyle, including BDSM; that's the common bond that brings the group together."

Typical Hellfire activities include flogging, bondage, wrestling, rubber gear, water sports, master-slave, daddy-boy, role-playing and more. Scheid said many club activities are fetish-driven.

"When the club started, the BDSM aspect was a very buried subset of the gay community, probably even more closeted than the gay lifestyle [ as a whole ] ," Scheid said. "Many in the Chicago area didn't think [ the club ] would succeed when it started, but the club has prospered and done well.

"Like any group or organization, we've had our trials and tribulations over the years, our ups and downs, but we've always persevered. And the common bond has made it successful."

Plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary are now being finalized, Scheid said. But they plan to start celebrating this November with Associate Applicant Weekend, an in-town get-together with events at its private Chicago clubhouse, along with a banquet and more.

Membership is limited. New members must be sponsored and each must be approved to join. Annually, they bring 10-40 new members into the club.

"Everyone has different interests. Not everyone is into everything. It's what you feel comfortable doing, or what you're expertise is in, or what they enjoy as a recipient or the giver," Scheid said. "Bondage is always very popular, including rope and metal restraints. I haven't yet seen the current hot trend.

"The biggest misconception is the whole concept of BDSM; people don't understand it. Some people might consider it to be abuse or perceive it as hurtful, but, there's a huge bonding between people [ who participate ] . People don't understand the energy exchange and the love that can be exchanged between those [ participating ] people; I think it's at a different level of connection, and a lot of people don't understand that; they only look at it from the outside or at a very surface level. I think people pre-judge people in the club."

And yes, the public "absolutely" would be surprised by the Hellfire Club's membership, which includes professional, along with others who work in retail, government, education and factory jobs, among other areas.

However, the Chicago Hellfire Club employs a controversial policy of not including transgender people.

"They are not [ allowed ] ," he said. "We are a private club and have the ability to set our memberships, and they are currently not accepted in our club."

Do you foresee the membership expanding and inclusion of transgender people?

"It has been discussed in the past, and is reviewed annually," Scheid said.

"I think everyone in the leather community [ across America ] knows about the Chicago Hellfire Club," Scheid said. "We're very proud to have reached our 40th year."

The club's website is hellfire13.org/ .


This article shared 25383 times since Wed Jul 14, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

PASSAGES Writer, attorney, activist Takeia R. Johnson 2021-07-25
- The local organization Affinity Community Services announced the recent passing of Takeia R. Johnson. According to Johnson's LinkedIn profile, she was editor-in-chief and lead writer at Inclusion at Work as well as a Ph.D. student focusing ...


Gay News

SAVOR Talking with new Travelle Chef de Cuisine Qi Ai; Profile of Travelle's breakfast 2021-06-09
- Travelle Chef de Cuisine Qi Ai Travelle at the Langham (330 N Wabash Ave.; https://www.travellechicago.com/) has undergone a major change during the COVID pandemic: New Chef de Cuisine Qi (pronounced "tee") Ai was promoted from sous ...


Gay News

MOVIES Dutch journalist talks about making 'My Friend, the Mayor' 2021-02-17
- In the Amazon Prime Video documentary My Friend, the Mayor: Small-town Democracy in the Age of Trump, Dutch journalist Max Westerman profiles friend Sean Strub, an openly gay activist, activist, long-term AIDS survivor and POZ magazine ...


Gay News

Booksellers launch "Boxed Out" campaign, a look at consumer choices 2020-10-22
--From a press release - (New York, New York) 20% of independent bookstores across the country are in danger of closing. Today, theAmerican Booksellers Association launched the "Boxed Out" campaign to draw attention to the high stakes indie bookstores face this ...


Gay News

Author/academic John D'Emilio on new book, future endeavors 2020-10-01
- Queer Legacies: Stories from Chicago's LGBTQ Archives is a new book by Gerber/Hart Library and Archives President and University of Illinois at Chicago History and Women's and Gender Studies Professor Emeritus John ...


Gay News

Out Illinois State coach dives into new position 2020-09-16
- Logan Pearsall, an accomplished college diver who has since transitioned into master's level diving, was competing at the 2017 FINA World Masters Championships in Budapest, Hungary. He was doing a challenging inward dive from a one-meter ...


Gay News

Joseph Baar Topinka preserves legacy of mother: Pro-gay Republican Judy 2020-09-02
- Riverside resident Joseph Baar Topinka is still impressed with the resolve and stamina with which his late mother, longtime GOP politician Judy Baar Topinka, was able to "slug it out" in the political arena. "She got ...


Gay News

'Making Sweet Tea': Out NU dean talks about new documentary 2020-08-18
- Performer and Northwestern University Dean E. Patrick Johnson discussed his new film and the importance of reclaiming storytelling agency in a virtual Q&A Lambda Legal hosted Aug. 9. Johnson, dean of Northwestern University's School of Communication, ...


Gay News

Asha Ransby-Sporn talks building on the anti-racism movement's legacy 2020-08-05
- With anti-racism protests happening around the United States, in what some media outlets are saying is the largest movement in this country's history, demands to abolish the police have increasingly been a part of the rallying ...


Gay News

Local lesbian couple celebrate 50 years together 2020-08-05
- When Alice Cozad and Linda Young met each other as freshmen at the University of Iowa they knew almost instantly that they would be together as a couple for the rest of their lives. "The electricity ...


Gay News

Teen LGBTQ+ activist aims to inspire with Be You Tiful Initiative 2020-07-31
- Allison Frank is a 16-year-old lesbian activist from Lincolnshire's Stevenson High School who found her passion for activism and began the Be You Tiful Initiative. It all started when Frank was feeling overwhelmed in a makeup ...


Gay News

Cicero student finds his voice 2020-07-29
- When Jorge Martinez-Arevalo was in eighth grade, he was elected president of an LGBTQ+ after-school club at Unity Junior High School, in Cicero. During his eighth-grade year, the club, which is known as NJAW (short for ...


Gay News

Chicago man takes face masks into luxury 2020-07-10
- During COVID-19 David Altman is encouraging people to wear their heart on their face with masks that his brand Vintage Luxe Up is currently making out of vintage luxury designer silk scarves. Altman grew up on ...


Gay News

E. Patrick Johnson, a man of firsts 2020-07-08
- E. Patrick Johnson is a man often associated with the word "first." He was the first in his family to go to college, and the first Black native of Hickory, North Carolina, to receive a Ph.D., ...


Gay News

Gay sign-language interpreter on press conferences, LGBTQs 2020-04-01
- As a child, Michael Spencer Albert never knew how important his hands would be one day as an interpreter for the deaf community. He was born in Edgewater Hospital and grew up in Skokie. In college, ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.