Posted on June 23, 2020
|What is Your Scene Name?||Daddy Ron|
|City and State of residence?||Cincinnati, Ohio|
|Region of Residence?||Tri-State Region ( Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky )|
|What are your pronouns?||He/him/His|
|What is your gender Identity?||Male|
|What is your sexual identity?||Queer, Gay|
|What is are your racial identities?||African American|
|What is/are your ethnicities? (Culture, nationality, ancestry, language)||African American|
|How did you first get into Leather and/or Kink?||Offline|
|Give a Brief Description of your entrance into Leather and/or Kink||Hindsight says I’ve been Kink/Leather adjacent since first coming out. While I was not involved with the clubs at the time, I felt a draw to that particular crowd. While I had the occasional play opportunities, I did not get immersed in it. After caring for friends who died of AIDS in the ’80s and ’90s, I decided it was time to pursue those desires. I actively pursued attending Leather Club runs so I guess that would be my intro. I also attended many events in my region as a volunteer photographer, which helped open the door(s) for me.|
|What was your local scene like when you were starting? How is it now, by comparison?||There was one local Leather Club, CINCITY that was active when I first came out. It was all men and membership was by invite only and membership appeared to be dictated by *fuckablity* as it seemed to be geared more towards sex than community. Other clubs were created but they were pretty much operated under the same guidelines of sex appeal and
*fuckablity*. In 2009, Brian Mincey started SCORPIUS of Cincinnati and it was an open membership club that included women. We had close to 50 members initially and when the reality of women could be members wasn’t going to change, membership dropped to about 12. Brian moved away a few months after starting Scorpius. I was Vice President so I became the President upon Brian’s move. Even with open membership, we still didn’t see many women, POC, or Trans people at our events or meetings. As more kink events developed, we did see more variety in attendees but decision making positions were still and currently predominantly male and white. Tri-State Leather is the exception
|Who’s the most influential Black person. In your life and why?||This is a hard question in that different people influenced my life at different stages. But If I had to choose the MOST influential, it would be my Maternal Grandmother. She was a successful businesswoman who ran a beauty shop initially but then branched out into Real Estate where she saw even more success. For a Black Woman, in the late ’50s and early ’60s to start a business, navigate the tricky waters of sexism and racism, travel the world, provide opportunities for other Blacks, especially women, at the time was an anomaly. She was a very light-skinned black woman who used that to her advantage to enable others to have opportunities that would have otherwise been denied to them. She also exposed us to different world cultures in that while we did not travel with her, she invited and entertained people that she met on her travels to her home in Mansfield, Ohio. We were able to interact with people from Africa, France, Tahiti, etc which helped me appreciate how much diversity there is in the world.|
|What book have you read that influenced your life and why?||The one book that stands out as an influence in my life is: If You Meet The Buddha on the Road, KILL HIM!. The cliff note version is it’s a book about in our search for our own “True North”, do not get distracted by or start following those who say they have all of the right answers or the true way to enlightenment. It is your own soul, journey, and experiences that need to be your compass and guide.|
|Talk about one of your favorite experiences in your local Kink and/or Leather Community.||Every Year, Tri-State ventures out into the surrounding counties for a Kink Camping Weekend. I like those in that there are fewer restraints and restrictions than when such events are held in public spaces. A few years ago, we had finished up the demos and classes and there were a few stragglers hanging around, asking questions, and wanting to know a little more and have an experience outside of a structured class. One of our members decided to flog one of the attendees ( consent was given ). He had the guy hold onto one of the support beams of the lodge and proceeded to flog him. It was a clear, warm night and except for the few voyeurs, everyone else had gone to bed so it was very quiet As the flogging intensified, the sound of the flogger hitting flesh, the bottom letting out sounds from deep within his soul, echoed in the darkness and shadows of the campfire. Couple that with the smell of the phenomes drifting off of the men involved, it was a perfect ending to the weekend and also reminded me that Leather isn’t about events, sashes, brands, and awards, it’s about sexual, emotional and spiritual connections.|
|Do you have a favorite mantra or quote? If so, please share.||I have two quotes/mantras that I made up to help keep me centered and somewhat sane.
The first one is; “Jesus was a Carpenter”. For me, it reminds me to work to build things that last and can be used for the greater good for a long time and that simplicity is very powerful.The other quote is ” Old Fags Know Things”. As I witness and experience dismissal from others due to my age, I have to remind myself that all of my life experiences have added to my value and that value only increases with time. I chuckle when I see the Bommer Bashing taking place in our community. I have to remind folks that as a Black Boomer, my experiences are vastly different than those of my white counterparts. Maybe I’ll add Black to this Mantra.
I also like this phrase because it fucks with people’s heads and is very satisfying to the Sadistic part of me.
|Name of Clubs you have been a part of? (Please also notate duration, leadership positions if any, and membership levels)||Scorpius Of Cincinnati ( Now Scorpius of SW Ohio ) Vice President for 1yr than became President after the first President moved to Chicago, Then President for another two years.|
|Are you a founding member of any club(s)?||Yes|
|If you answered yes to previous question please list club(s), or write n/a.||Scorpius of Cincinnati|
|Are you a founding member of any organization?||Yes|
|If you answered yes to previous question please list organization(s), or write n/a.||in addition to Scorpius, I was a founding member of the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus|
|Were there any other Black leather folks around in the leather scene when you came into the scene/community?||Yes|
|If so, did you find that you gravitated more towards each other? If not, how did this affect your experience? Did you build your own community? Say more about your experience.||I’m a ” Let’s go on an adventure” type of person so there were times, I took my black friends to leather bars, etc. Some of it was for the safety of a known entity and having that OASIS in a strange and unfamiliar environment. They had expressed curiosity about leather but as time went on, it became apparent that for them, it was more about the sexiness and look of leather much more than the experience of leather so as time went on, I attended leather functions on my own. I can’t say at those events, I gravitated towards other Blacks. However, there was always a sense of comfort when there were other black attendees at those events. Then, there was that moment of room scanning, looking for other brown skin people when our eyes would meet and there were the subtle smile and nod of recognition between us. Sometimes, that would happen as we walked past each other but there was typically some sort of comforting recognition.
As I sit and review my experiences, I realize that 99% of my early gay identity was informed by white gayness. At the time ( the 70’s ), my experiences with black gays weren’t affirming or positive. The black people I ran into seemed to be ashamed of their gayness. I didn’t want any part of that. Additionally, black gays ostracized me for hanging out and talking to white men. On the flip side of that, hanging out mostly with white gay men, I was exposed to racial comments and attitudes that diminished black people. So I spent a significant amount of time and energy challenging assumptions with both groups but I clung to my gay identity, not realizing how it was eroding my black identity. To give an example, I attended IML in the late ’90s and stumbled across what at the time was the Mr. Ebony Leather Contest. I actually had planned on competing but back out at the last minute as I felt as though I wasn’t Black Enough and if I won, I’d lose my white friends because I was too Black identified. It wasn’t until 16 years later all that changed when I was loading up my car to return home from IML and Doc Hoskins came up to me and acknowledged and thanked me for my work in the community. That encounter changed my perspective on many things.
|Do you think being Black has hampered your experience in the leather/kink community at all?||Yes|
|If it has, what kind of things did you do to try and remedy those issues? If it hasn’t, please describe.||I think that community attitudes about blackness hampered my experience in the leather/kink community. The result was creating a persona that was less threatening to them and not an authentic version of who I actually was/am. I was operating in a fairly tight box.|
|Is there a specific instance where you feel your Blackness enhanced your experience in Leather?||Maybe|
|If you answered “yes” or “maybe” please explain.||It got me laid. I say maybe because while I did get sex, being a sexual fetish is fraught with its own set of issues. Additionally, it helped me to navigate some of the discrimination from the larger LGBTQI+ towards Leather Folx and Kinksters.|
|What is a specific challenge you had coming up in Leather that was unrelated to race/ethnicity?||Personal space and boundary violations. I’ve never been a fan of random groping and crotch-grabbing.|
|How do you find you’re treated in the Leather community vs. the greater LGBT community?||Pretty much the same. While the leather community espouses virtues such as honesty and integrity, underneath all of the gear and at the core are LGBTQI values and attitudes.|
|Do you feel that the leather community and embracing blackness has a positive outlook?||Yes|
|Please explain your previous response.||Instead of having to navigate the world as a fractured individual, blending them together has the potential to create some pretty powerful magic for the individual and also the community.|
|What advice would you give to newcomers in the Leather scene who are Black?||Two things come to mind. 1) PAY ATTENTION: not just to what is happening around you but more importantly, what is happening inside of you. 2) Have to courage to question your assumptions and beliefs, especially when it comes to race. It isn’t just white people who group/grew up under the umbrella of white supremacy. We have to look at the ways in which those dynamics influence how we see ourselves in relation to others. I saw a FB post from darKqwolf last week that really hit the nail on the head. Are you the Torch or are you the Token? I’d take it one step further and say to make sure you know the difference.|
I am an older white guy just beginning my leather experience and I just happened upon this interview and I’m impressed with Daddy Ron’s introspection and integrity. My first relationships were mostly with black men decades ago and all those guys are gone due to aids but they were extraordinary men. As I look back I can see the “leather” in those relationships and I wish I had been exposed to this community earlier…I think it would have made me a more mature and circumspect gay man.