I recently had another opportunity to help teach about kink and fetish at MBLGTACC. This is my first time attending this conference, and this year it was being hosted in Chicago! Along with enjoying one of my favorite cities to visit, my partner and I shared a presentation with a couple others on a number of kinky topics. Immediately after, we had an additional presentation, with two pups, on a couple more topics. Both presentations went very well.
Later that evening, we had what must have been 100 people show up back in our presentation room to take part in hands-on demonstrations of various activities, like flogging, impact play, and bondage. It was an incredible weekend. I’m really starting to get used to being in front of larger crowds of people.
This was my second CLAW. I had a great time at my first, but putting the weekend in my rear-view mirror hurt more this time. This one had more meaning. This event is different from many of the other, more ‘high-profile’ events, such as IML and MAL. This event feels like it’s less about flaunting your kinks and gear, and more about celebrating our community.
Contests are replaced with a large series of educational sessions that span topics such as pup play, rubber, bondage, and many others. While the ‘L’ in the anagram stands for leather, it doesn’t matter what material you wear, or what flag you fly. You’re welcome there. The event is growing rapidly, and I suspect that it’s the sense of comradery that is to blame. I won’t complain about that for a second.
That weekend also saw the first weekend of sale of a certain neoprene pup hood… Something I had been wanting to exist for quite some time. Well, I couldn’t resist, so I went for it and the pup in me was born. I’m still experimenting with that particular part of my identity, but I was able to get a considerable amount of exploration done recently, at Capital Pride, which I will post about soon.
10 months ago, I moved to Washington, DC to start a new life with my Sir. 10 months ago, I lived with a loving family. 10 months ago, I lived in Orlando.
In fact, I was born and raised in Orlando. Aside from a few years in Tampa for school, Orlando was the only home I knew. As you are already well aware, this past Saturday played host to a terrible tragedy in Orlando that saw the pointless deaths of 49 LGBT humans. This is something that I never expected to see from the relatively small city of Orlando; known almost solely for its tourist industry. I know none of the victims, but that hasn’t made this event any easier. I have never struggled with my emotions the way I have these past couple days.
This same weekend was Capitol Pride here in DC. Saturday went off without a hitch. We marched in the parade with the DC Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence; Sir making a statement in his heels, and myself testing the waters as Pup Kuff. We didn’t care what people thought, and strutted with pride down the streets. At one point, the parade ahead and behind us grew in distance. Hundreds of feet separated the entire parade from my Sir and three pups. The roar of the applause remained just as loud. We shared the crowds attention with no other group in the parade, but the community was still as loud as it was when it was cheering for the entire visible parade. That moment stuck with me the next day. That moment proves the acceptance that our community has for its members. That moment helped get me through the next day, as we again donned our pup hoods and walked the Pride Festival. As the sun set, we attended vigils at both the Capitol Building and the White House. These are moments that I will never forget. Here is a candid picture of myself (red) and Pup Nano (blue) during a moment of reflection in front of the Capitol Building as the chorus sings.
I’m reminded of that age old nursery rhyme; “Sticks and stones may break my bones, by words will never hurt me”. We may be hurt. We may be in pain. But we will never be broken. We will never fade from existence. We sure as hell will fight for ourselves, as well as the ones that we love and the ones we have lost. This tragedy has left us battered, but I truly believe that we will come out of this stronger than we have ever been. We are proud of who we are, and that is something that those who stand against us don’t even understand the meaning of.