What is Your Scene Name? Mdm. Nicole Noir
City and State of residence? Los Angeles, CA
Region of Residence? Southwest
What are your pronouns? She/her/hers, They/them/theirs
What is your gender Identity? Gender Non-Conforming, Genderqueer
What is your sexual identity? Queer, Lesbian, Femme
What is are your racial identities? African American
What is/are your ethnicities? (Culture, nationality, ancestry, language) Black, Southern, English/AAVE
How did you first get into Leather and/or Kink? Offline
Give a Brief Description of your entrance into Leather and/or Kink I incorporated kink into my sexual practices before I had the language for it. I also had power exchange relationships before I knew that terminology. That was around 2007.
What was your local scene like when you were starting? How is it now, by comparison? My local scene was Atlanta at the time, and it was thriving. Once I found it, there was never a shortage of events to get involved in. I’ve since moved to Los Angeles; there’s a thriving Leather scene here as well but it’s a lot whiter than Atlanta.
Who’s the most influential Black person. In your life and why? I actually want to mention two people. In a vanilla sense, definitely my mother. She instilled the penchant for activism that is a hallmark of my life in general and my Leather journey. In Leather, my mentor Choc Trei. She introduced me to a framework that helped me bring my goals to fruition in a structured way.
What book have you read that influenced your life and why? Too many! But I’ll say Zami by Audre Lorde. I was a baby queer when I became aware of her and I saw myself reflected in someone who came before me. It was very affirming.
Talk about one of your favorite experiences in your local Kink and/or Leather Community. Hanging out at Cruise LA bar nights has been a bright spot. It’s refreshing to be in a Leather/ kinky space that doesn’t revolve around men. And there’s a large POC presence as well.
Do you have a favorite mantra or quote? If so, please share. “We have nothing to lose but our chains.” – Assata Shakur
Name of Clubs you have been a part of? (Please also notate duration, leadership positions if any, and membership levels) Black FemDom Atlanta Social Media Coordinator, October 2014- December 2015
Onyx Pearls South East, member in good standing March 2016-present
Onyx Pearls South East, Health and Wellness Chair July 2016-August 2018
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom Regional Advocate, December 2017-present (there’s no text box to put this in the organization section)
ONYX Pearls Southeast Sergeant At Arms, August 2019 – present
ONYX Pearls SoCal Chapter in Formation, October 2019 – present
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. ONYX Pearls SoCal Chapter in Formation, October 2019 – present
Are you a founding member of any organization? No
If you answered yes to previous question please list organization(s), or write n/a. N/A
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 gravitated toward the Black FemDom Atlanta group because I saw myself reflected there. When my interest in Leather grew I joined a Black Leather house. Now that I’ve relocated, I’ve created my own community by launching my own Black Leather house.
Do you think being Black has hampered your experience in the leather/kink community at all? Maybe
If it has, what kind of things did you do to try and remedy those issues? If it hasn’t, please describe. I don’t think hampered is the word I would use. My race has absolutely colored my experience in the community, just like it has impacted my entire life. However, my goals don’t rely on or revolve around proximity to whiteness, so I’ve been able to pursue the things I desire. I prioritize spaces and experiences where Black and POC folks are not an afterthought. I’ve been very deliberate about what I involve myself in.
Is there a specific instance where you feel your Blackness enhanced your experience in Leather? Maybe
If you answered “yes” or “maybe” please explain. I think that being visibly Black in Leather has allowed me to be a beacon for other people who look like me. There is an unspoken acknowledgment that can be very affirming, especially to those who are new to the scene. My Blackness has directly and indirectly given more Black folks permission to be in Leather and kink spaces.
What is a specific challenge you had coming up in Leather that was unrelated to race/ethnicity? People, typically men, assumed that I am submissive because I am a woman. I have had to challenge that assumption many times.
How do you find you’re treated in the Leather community vs. the greater LGBT community? It’s really about the same. I find kindreds because of my intersections, and I face marginalization for the same reason. That is true for both communities.
Do you feel that the leather community and embracing blackness has a positive outlook? Maybe
Please explain your previous response. I believe that Black Leather people have to shift focus from getting a seat at the table to creating our own. That will shift the power dynamics in this community and hopefully foster a change in the culture.
What advice would you give to newcomers in the Leather scene who are Black? Seek out your kindreds. You belong here just as much as anyone else.
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