What is Your Scene Name? Mx Symphonee
City and State of residence? Capital Heights, MD
Region of Residence? DMV, Mid Atlantic
What are your pronouns? She/her/hers, They/them/theirs
What is your gender Identity? Gender Non-Conforming, Non-Binary
What is your sexual identity? Bisexual, Pansexual
What is are your racial identities? African American
What is/are your ethnicities? (Culture, nationality, ancestry, language) Black 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 I made a decision to intentionally explore something I was into for years. So I joined a yahoo group and was directed to FetLife as an additional resource for real-time meetings. I came to a happy hour and that was that.
What was your local scene like when you were starting? How is it now, by comparison? I remember that there seemed to be more education focus when I came in. Classes were a big thing. So were skill shares and education-focused conferences like BlackBEAT. Now while there are definitely more TNG focused things, it also seems like there are more peripheral folks just jumping in and throwing parties. Folks no one can vet or vouch for passing themselves off as experts and promoters.
Who’s the most influential Black person. In your life and why? I honestly can’t think of just one
What book have you read that influenced your life and why? The Five Love Languages. It really helped to open up the way in which I engage with people, to see how they want to be cared for. It’s also a useful tool to start the conversation about things that matter to use in human interaction
Talk about one of your favorite experiences in your local Kink and/or Leather Community. When I won my title. Not just because I won but to hear and see this cheering section of Black and Brown folks in the DC Eagle was phenomenal. My community showed up for me and looked damn good while doing it. And no one did any code-switching. We were Black ass Black in that space and reminded folks that our culture and experience of Leather and Kink were just as relevant as the whitewashed version of it that so many in the community build their personalities around.
Do you have a favorite mantra or quote? If so, please share. Be like water is a favorite mantra because it reminds me to be adaptable in reaching my goals.
Name of Clubs you have been a part of? (Please also notate duration, leadership positions if any, and membership levels) Mid Atlantic Onyx Pearls: 2016 to now, Sgt at Arms in 2018, President 2019 to now
Are you a founding member of any club(s)? No
If you answered yes to previous question please list club(s), or write n/a. n/a
Are you a founding member of any organization? Yes
If you answered yes to previous question please list organization(s), or write n/a. N.E.S.S.T.: founded by myself in 2019, current leader/ Perverts of Color: non-founding member from 2018, East Coast Co-ordinator since 2019
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. Some of us gravitated towards each other. Some of the first events I went to were happy hours were the company was mixed. You could definitely see some of the Black folks preferring White company but it was never just them in these spaces. I hung with a lot of other Black folks in these events and found an already built Black Kink community. I was very lucky to have started in Baltimore and DC because I had more than one choice of places to go for interactions with Black folks in kink and it served me well. But even with all of that, I did work with others to make intentional and exclusive spaces for Black folks, especially Black QTs.
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. Racism in these spaces can make it hard for us to have our own spaces free from judgment and set up in the way that we want to do things. However, I also know that we find a way regardless and often should be finding more ways to divest ourselves away from white-dominated spaces.
Is there a specific instance where you feel your Blackness enhanced your experience in Leather? Yes
If you answered “yes” or “maybe” please explain. How I connect with folks, how I learned to be authentic in my skin, how I learned to have integrity in all that I do, I learned from experiences rooted in my Blackness. There is not much separation for me.
What is a specific challenge you had coming up in Leather that was unrelated to race/ethnicity? being misgendered
How do you find you’re treated in the Leather community vs. the greater LGBT community? Leather is welcoming in a different way. I find the general LGBTQ+ community to be much more likely to consume my culture and mannerism without really caring about me than the Leather community. Then again, I purposely craft connections in Leather with people who won’t do that so meh
Do you feel that the leather community and embracing blackness has a positive outlook? Yes
Please explain your previous response. I don’t worry about folks who want us to downplay our Blackness in Leather spaces. I see more and more of us embracing it and mixing the two just like other races, cultures, and ethnicities do. We’ve been vanguards in this community and will continue to be.
What advice would you give to newcomers in the Leather scene who are Black? Be yourself. Stay authentic to you. Know that you have a place here and that it was built by the blood, whips, and tears of other Black folks whose names don’t get mentioned often enough.
No Comments
Post a Comment