Don’t kink shame (by Andrew Goldberg)

I’ve been on both sides of this issue, being both the kink shamer and the person receiving the negative comments. When I first came onto the LGBIT scene, I discovered that we define each other by what we look like – twinks, muscle marys, bears, lipstick lesbians, drag queens, drag kings – this list goes on forever. I would only hang out with people who looked like me, because I felt safe with that group and I wouldn’t associate with anyone else. Most of the time we would get drunk and talk about how wrong and disgusting it was if you were different from us – especially if you liked unusual forms of kink.

That is a part of my life I wish never happened. To this day, that person I was makes me sick inside. Looking back, I was a little shit of a person. I know I hurt people and for that I’m sorry.

Now fast forward a few years and I was lucky enough to get a job at The Sportsman Hotel where regular LGBIT events take place. Working there has changed my life. I have experienced the good and bad of what our community offers. I have made friends whom I know in the past I would have never spoken with.

I learned that some of my new friends enjoyed some kink and fetishes that I at the time I knew nothing about. I didn’t know how to respond. But I was interested to learn more. I was invited to a Boot Youth meeting so I could learn and ask questions about anything and everything I wanted to know about this lifestyle.

Coming out of my first Boot Youth meeting I was on such a happy high – until I received a message from someone whom I had thought was a friend, saying that I was a sick, messed up in the head, disgusting person. I had lost a friend who I thought meant a lot to me. I was devastated.

And it didn’t stop there. As people outside of the kink community learned what kinks and fetishes I enjoy, I’ve been shamed, bullied and made fun of. Although I had done it myself in the past, I could not understand how people could try to shame someone over something they knew nothing about? Something I truly enjoy and which makes me happy. I just wanted to run away, live under a rock and be forgotten about.

I remember thinking I was doing something wrong and I should stop. At one point I withdrew from the kink scene completely, hoping that the people around me would stop making fun of me. I let them get to me.

I’m now at a point in my life where I am still learning about different kinks and fetishes that I enjoy. It is my journey and no one is going to make me feel bad about it. It’s really none of their business. I shouldn’t feel bad about something that makes me happy. I have grown up a lot and wish that I had given some people more of a chance before making judgements about them based on what I heard from other people.

I have already shared this story on Facebook and am grateful for all the supportive comments it has generated. I hope it will make people – from within and outside the kink community – think twice about kink shaming, and encourage anyone who witnesses this behaviour to call it out, and support the victim if they are able to do so.

BootCo Presents Industrial Tinsel 2016

Have you been naughty or nice? BootCo. is celebrating Christmas in 2016 in it’s traditional twisted style with Industrial Tinsel – a night of candy canes, leather and jockstraps.

This year we have an Ipad Air to raffle off and all proceeds will be donated to QuAC’s initiative Happy Hampers for Happy Campers. As well as having a chance to sit on Santa’s knee and see what’s in his full sack. Haslam Consulting and Accounting is our sponsor with the donation of the Ipad… https://www.haslam.com.au/

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President’s message

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Greetings Men!

It is hard to believe that our upcoming pub night Wrestle will mark six months (give or take a day or two) since the current management committee was elected and a notional half-way point in the committee’s term.  I have been extremely impressed with how quickly the committee has knuckled down and got on with the job of delivering great events for you – particularly considering several committee members are relatively new to Boot Co. and have relatively limited experience of being part of a management committee.  Rest assured that we have not run out of steam and have more great events planned for you over summer.

Your committee is also keen to have a fresh look at what we might be doing during 2017 and we will be getting together for half a day on 19 November to do some strategic planning.  A key input to that day will be the results of a survey that you will soon be invited to participate in, seeking your feedback on our monthly pub nights.  I strongly encourage you all to participate in this so that your committee can have a clear idea of what you would like to hear, watch and participate in at these events.  In a diverse community such as ours it is unlikely that we can please everyone all the time but hopefully, armed with some facts relating to what our members like and want, we can please most of you, most of the time.

We recently received the exciting news that the May 2016 Boot Co.mmunity Car Wash has been nominated for the Community Initiative of the Year Award in the Australian LGBTI Awards 2017. This is wonderful honour for the club and a well-deserved pat on the back for the organiser and Boot Co. member Torren Adelle.  The final judging will take place early next year and the winners announced at a black-tie event at the Sydney Opera House.  In the meantime, Torren has another car wash coming up this Saturday, 29 October at Number 29 and Boot Co. will be running a BBQ on the day.  At $35 for a full clean inside and out it is fantastic value – and there is the added bonus of having the job done by some very fit men and women in sexy swimwear. Please take your car along and support this fantastic initiative.

As this is my first message to you since the 2016 Mister Queensland Leather and Queensland Leather Boy titles were announced at the end of August, I’ll conclude by congratulating the title winners Ben Bullivant and David Allen on their well-deserved wins, and also thank the other contestants and judges for the courtesy, dedication and community spirit with which they approached the competition.  Ben and David have really hit the ground running and already achieved some great local and interstate media exposure for us, including a fantastic write-up in the October edition of Queensland Pride.  I have also been impressed with the contribution that our Leather Daddy 2016 winner Bruce Jones has been making to the club since picking up the title at Tom’s Bar.  If Bruce hasn’t yet sold you a raffle ticket then it’s only a matter of time!

I look forward to catching up with as many of you as possible at our events over the coming months.

Joshua

Mister Queensland Leather – Then and Now

The Boot Co. - Corium

Mister Queensland Leather – Then and Now

– by Frank Croucher

Thinking back over the years since I won the title of Mr Queensland Leather back in 1999, it’s gratifying to see firstly, that the competition is still going strong, and secondly, how it has developed and matured in those intervening years.

For starters, I think it is fair to say that the comp is a bit more raunchy now than it was then, and this is to be expected as Boot Co. moves with the times.  The basic spirit of MQL however still lives on – that is to say, MQL is not a beauty contest; never has been and never will be.  This by no means implies that MQL contestants are not attractive men, it’s just that MQL is so much more than just pulling on some leather and strutting your stuff.

MQL is still the main means of promoting the leather community within Brisbane’s gay (I hate the word “queer”) arena, along with the general community supportive work that BootCo undertakes.  This latter aspect takes the form of the community grants given out by BootCo each year to support various not-for-profit groups within the wider gay community.

Contestants vying for the title of Mr Queensland Leather therefore need to have a sound general knowledge of the many aspects of community life – this will enable the winner to represent BootCo and what it stands for in the many facets of our diverse community.

As to the competition itself – all the basic aspects are still there, from “formal” type wear to expressing one’s “kink” and through to minimal (this being completely open to the individual’s own interpretation).  In addition, panel interviews and the ability to speak publicly are taken into account.  It is important that a title holder be able to easily communicate with both media and community groups.

MQL is a great competition, and I would commend it to anyone who might be even remotely thinking of entering.  It is a character-building experience, and enables the winner to be an ambassador for the club to the wider gay community.

So, at the end of the day, there is little overall change to the competition itself.  What has changed is for a more diverse representation of BootCo membership to compete for the title. Oh, and the prizes are great too, just in case you need a little more incentive!

I look forward to attending MQL 2017, and urge you all to get behind your club and support this most worthy cause.  Let’s face it, if I can win it, then anybody can!  And in case you can’t place who I am, I’m the old fart who used to spend quite a bit of time on the door with Nathan, OK?