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  BLACKLINES

Leatherlife
Preserving the Party
by Cain Berlinger
2003-03-01

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Mid Atlantic Leather contest continues to be an event that is essentially about the people, the community, the novice and the veterans alike, to the hot young studs with their libidos, butts and pectorals in full view who loiter in/around/about the lobby of the Washington Plaza Hotel. The endless cocktail parties, the dances, the vendors, the 'private' play parties, deals all add up to the Mid Atlantic experience that kicks off the race to International Mr. Leather in May! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves (www.mrcain.com).

With February being Black history month, there is the timely release of PBS's Brother: Outsider: The life of Bayard Rustin. 'This long-overdue tribute vividly brings back to life a man who deeply and brilliantly influenced the course of the civil-rights and peace movements' (Village Voice). As a brief member of the communist party and an openly gay man, the movement tried to dis-avow any knowledge of him, but times have fortunately changed. Weeks before the March on Washington Strom Thurmond denounced Bayard on the senate floor as a homosexual draft evader and former member of the communist party. Despite this Bayard continued to work diligently behind the scenes.

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The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is proud to announce that Robyn Friedman has been appointed the Director of NCSF's Law Enforcement Outreach Program (LEOP).

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What is important about these two news items is that 'individual' activism is essential to the survival of our communities. It is not enough to just support our leather events by attendance but by deeds, deeds done in your local areas, deeds to check and balance our existing leaders and organizations and clubs and the funds that go to organizations that claim to support our goals, and our lifestyles, and prove to the world at large that we are a force. We are a united force that is not embittered, backstabbers whose bottom line is how much can we make, how much can we get out of the community, our community.

Donation: noun, the act or an instance of donating: as a: the making of a gift especially to a charity or public institution b: a free contribution: GIFT

Personal activism is what is going to keep us relatively safe. We can party, but there is a time when we need to be there, to support, to speak out, to check our egos at the door before we can seriously don our leathers and get back to the dance, assuming our/your efforts have been appreciated. The next time you are asked for a 'donation' don't always think in terms of money or your mere appearance. You are the gift to our community.

Awarded the 'Unsung hero' award is former Mr. Deaf Leather, Patrick Richardson, for his overtures to the deaf community. And to Newton Treadway for his incredible behind-the-scenes fundraising efforts. It is for these 'quiet activists' that the Jill Carter's Unsung hero award was created.

Got something to say? Write me. Meanwhile visit my Web site at www.mrcain.com


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