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Leather/kink event highlights LGBTQ+ history, health
by Mackenzie Murtaugh and Julia Hale
2019-07-28

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"Leather and Kink in the LGBTQ+ Community: History and Clinical Considerations" was held at the Center on Halsted on July 26. The event focused on the history of leather and kink communities and served as an education seminar for healthcare providers who work in the LGBTQ+ community, so they can be more informed and culturally aware.

At the talk—which Center on Halsted and Howard Brown Health sponsored—five panelists spoke on their connection to the leather/kink community, and why education and stigmatization of the community are important to understanding it.

The panelists included Joey McDonald, president of the Chuck Renslow Charitable Corporation and manager of events and volunteers at Center on Halsted; and Butch Romero, co-founder of Women's Cruise Night at Chicago's leather bar Touché and founding board member for the Leather History Preservation Foundation. The rest of the panelists were sex-positive therapists and psychologists Danielle Carlson, the director of training and a staff psychotherapist at Lifeworks Psychotherapy Center; Carrie Jameson, a therapist in private practice who is becoming a sex therapist; and Braden Berkey, a psychologist and associate professor in the Clinical Psy.D. Program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Their collective work focuses on queer and trans couples and individuals, as well as alternative relationships such as kink and non-mongamy.

The panelists stressed the importance of clinical inclusion of the leather/kink community and how its stigmatization can endanger the queer and trans folk who participate. And the panelists also discussed basics; for example, McDonald described kink: "Simply put, it's the use of unconventional sexual practices, concepts and fantasies."

Following the panel talk was a question-and-answer session that let the audience inquiry about leather and kink, and their relation to the LGBTQ+ community. The program ended with a lunch and discussion.


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