Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"There's no place like home"... right Dorothy?

I went to the heart of America Kansas city...

My dear friend, my brother and the last Mr. Dixie Belle, a panel of judges and I, had the chance to work together choosing the new Mr. Bootleggers; a title that replaces the "OLD" Mr. Dixie Belle.
I was really surprise with the city, nice vibe, cool people, even better Drag Queens, and young people all over. Friday night Mr.DB, NYC, and I went to the meet and greet where I had a chance to sense the leather scene in KC, I was delighted, there was some tension because the contest was going to be cancel due to no entries or received applications, but 2 guys save the party at the very last minute... here is where my concern is.

Are we in desperate need of people willing to step into the plate to rescue our title system? Are we going to continue to let party savers rule the future of it? Who is it to blame? Me? You? All of us? Maybe it’s the over done leather contest system hurting us. I am trying to understand what's going on; and I am really confused. Can anyone explain why there are less and less contestants and more and more contests? Is it so important to have a title? Is it vital to the community to have yet another title holder? Is it important to our egos to hold a title? Are we looking for recognition or are we afraid of not having what others have? I am sure you are just as confused... but the reality is that the title system is hurting right now; and anyone who wants to create a contest jumps in without taking into consideration how this new title may hurt the system even more. Introducing the new
Mr. S.E. Leather Popcorn” (along with the Ms, the boy, and the dog).

Let’s look at the big picture here, most new contests strive to embody the functions of: representing the community, raising money, bringing awareness to the community, looking impeccable, speaking like the Dalai Lama (and to practicing his philosophy), helping, recruiting, educating, sharing the leather experience, having fun, supporting, being part of a family, loving, caring, traveling around and outside of his/her hometown… then all we’ll end up having is pretty much the same leather people I already know, who are out there wearing or not wearing a sash. And shouldn’t we all be doing this anyway? So if we already have what we need, why is it so important to have another title? It this is still so important for us, why is it so difficult to support the title-holders we already have?

My point is that even though we are living in a community with an over-done leather-title system, we still can rescue and make what we have work. We can start promoting, and unifying the system, we can pause the creation of new titles and work with what we have, making it stronger and more powerful by coming together, and forgetting the senseless expectations and demands of the title holder/s. Why? Because at the end a title is all of us, (isn't it?) supporting the Mr./Mrs (whatever); (this is a big part of it); we title holders need you as much as you seem to need us. Thorn (a brother who is close to me) says, “Strive to create win/win situations. Win-lose ones are easy – it’s why they happen all the time. If you’re stuck, try creating a WIN/WIN/WIN scenario – those are by far the best.” I help you, you help him… he helps me. Easy right?

The title system is important to me. I am very passionate about it. I don't want to see it die. I can't let it die. That’s why I need your help. I want you sit back and think; do some good for what is already part of our community; our title system is vital part of our community! But the creation of yet another contest, just lessens the impact and potential for finding those rare leaders of tomorrow.

PLEASE… let’s stop the proliferation of unnecessary titles...

The rest of the weekend in KC was great I even drove around an area with the most amazing mansions and I was like:

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore"


FLS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FLS said...

Gary, you have made some good points here. These are my two cents on the subject:

I have seen that happening everywhere. "People" (not even mentioning leathermen exclusively here) do not want to participate on leather contests anymore and these are my thoughts about why this is happening:
1) Part of the problem is our busy lives and schedules, which are crowded enough and do not need more commitments to take. Don't get me wrong, I understand the value of volunteer work and I support it a great deal, but sometimes being a title holder will commit you to travel and spend time and money that probably you don't have. Let's face it, your sponsors should try to help you most of the times but what about when they can't or when it is not even enough for the hotel??? not without mentioning several vacation time requests from your regular job, you know, the one that gives you an income to live...

2) Contests sometimes select "Mr. The-Beautiful-Bitch-in-Leather" instead of "Mr. Leather-who-really-cares". I've seen this happening many times and I think it is wrong. The most amazing fact to me is that judges should be well "aware" of this and not let themselves get influenced by popularity and looks, but for what it is inside each contestant running for the title. We are gay men and women and I know how vain we can be with a hot man or woman wearing our favorite fetish, but we should see beyond that and select the one contestant who represents the best balance between his or her fetish orientation and looks. Unfortunately, I think we have lost many chances of choosing our title holders wisely, because it is them at the end the ones that could show to the gay community in general all the positive things you can do as a title holder and as a result it will inspire guys to follow the path and sign up for next year's contest.

and 3) "Leather Bars" are using title holders as publicity and that's why they get so desperate trying to find party savers one hour before the contest instead of postponing the event or even canceling it until next year... which brings me again to point #2 because sometimes these party savers care more about looking great wearing a sash than rather doing something with it.

It would be interesting to hear some other opinions about this on your BLOG.