I’m writing this blog post partly as a means of coming up for air while in the middle of writing some smut for MsLT 2013’s Erotica Anthology, a charity fundraiser anthology that will benefit the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.
I’ve got the first draft done (YAY!) and now just need to edit the thing and pass it by a couple of handy leather dykes who, hopefully, will enjoy it and also be able to give me some good concrit at the same time.  (It’s a cross between “memory lane porn” and “leather Woo” featuring a nine-year c-girl/t-girl O/p relationship, a naming ritual, and a hell of a lot of biting, and written from – unusual for me – the sadist’s perspective.  Here’s hoping it goes over well).
But, yeah.  Leather.  When I say “leather”, I don’t just mean a particular type of sturdy, used-to-be-alive fabric (athough I love that, too). What I mean is the community – or, more accurately, the communities that make up the tribe called “Leather” by the people who are in it.
Through my wife’s (hee!) work as Bootblack Ottawa 2013, I’m starting to get to know members of the local men’s leather community… and they remind me – in the way they talk to each other, show affection with each other, look out for each other – very much of our own leather dyke community that I’ve come to know through Harvest and Spring Fling, through HOWL, and through the friendships that have developed because of those events and groups.
I once wrote a post about What Makes a Leather Dyke, in-which I asked what it was that actually made someone a leatherdyke rather than, say, a kinky dyke who wore a lot of leather.
I think I’m starting to get an idea of what that is.
Some of it is the tough-assed swagger, and sometimes I wonder if an experience of poverty isn’t woven into that as well. But a lot of it, by the looks of things, is community involvement. Not the just the title-holder’s duty of picking a charity-of-choice to fundraise for during their title year[1], or the toy drives that Mama’s Family or the various leather bars put on every year, but the way people rally around each other when things get rough. It’s casseroles and moving help; dinner invitations when you know someone can’t quite afford to buy groceries or a hand up when someone has unexpected medical expences; it’s checking in with people who are having a hard time.
I know it’s not just leather people who do this – far, far from it – but I think that’s what makes someone Leather as opposed to just Kinky. When it moves beyond the bedroom (or the laundry room, as the case may be) and becomes a significant part of how, and with-whom, you live your life.
Lee Harrington has quite a lot of posts on Leather Tribe – like these ones right here – and being part of it. Likewise, Andrea Zanin has a couple of posts on leather culture and traditions here and here. I invite you to check them out.
Ms Syren.

[1] My Ghost has chosen YSB for hers, fyi, and she’s also doing a women’s winter boot drive to help out local adults who are badly in need of warm winter footwear. If you’ve got some, do get in touch with her to donate them.