What is Your Scene Name? Sir Damien
City and State of residence? Everett, WA
Region of Residence? PNW
What are your pronouns? He/him/His
What is your gender Identity? Transman, 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) Black (1/2 Bahamian, 1/2 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 got my hands on a copy of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and started reading with a girlfriend. She decided it was too intense for her and had to stop reading. I on the other hand could not get enough. I looked online to find the “real thing” and stumbled upon the CSPC in Seattle. Years later I had the opportunity to move to Seattle with my boi and we attended our first event there immediately. The people who we gravitated towards were a part of the Leather community and we never looked back.
What was your local scene like when you were starting? How is it now, by comparison? N/A
Who’s the most influential Black person. In your life and why? My mother. She is an all-around badass. Growing up she sacrificed a lot for me and my siblings and always put us first. While maintaining a successful career and traveling the world.
What book have you read that influenced your life and why? To Love, To Serve, To Obey by Mama Vi. Her diary was the first time I had seen a Black woman (any Black person) self-identify as a slave. It showed me how Black people are Leather people. We are Dominants and submissives, Masters, and slaves.
Talk about one of your favorite experiences in your local Kink and/or Leather Community. Being able to teach a Leather and Kink 101 class at Black Pride last summer with my ONYX brothers. It was amazing to be able to show a room full of Black folks that Leather is just as much for us as it isn’t for anyone else. The eagerness and excitement were tangible.
Do you have a favorite mantra or quote? If so, please share. 30 seconds of courage
Name of Clubs you have been a part of? (Please also notate duration, leadership positions if any, and membership levels) ONYX NW (2018-present); Seattle Pups and Handlers (member, 2013-2014)
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. Seattle Annex of Carter Johnson Leather Library and Collection
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. When I first came out, there was only a handful of us. We always came together to share some words. The presence of other Black leather folks was too few and far between for me. That was part of the reason why I took my Leather home for a few years, attended fewer parties and events, and focused on building my Leather a family with Mademoiselle Ceci.
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 have definitely had to deal with racism in the leather community. When I have faced it head-on, I have worked through it to meet my commitments. I called it out, met with the individuals involved, and spoke up. Because of the exclusion that comes with racism, who knows what opportunities I have been excluded from because of the color of my skin.
Is there a specific instance where you feel your Blackness enhanced your experience in Leather? Maybe
If you answered “yes” or “maybe” please explain. My Blackness enhances all parts of my life and Leather is a big part of my life. Being Black allowed me to be a full member of ONYX (only POC can be full voting members). The acceptance and family that I have been able to find with ONYX and the ONYX Pearls Has changed my Leather journey for the better.
What is a specific challenge you had coming up in Leather that was unrelated to race/ethnicity?
How do you find you’re treated in the Leather community vs. the greater LGBT community? As a transgender person, people often say the “T” is left behind when it comes to advocacy. I am seeing a lot of Leather people speak up for us if we are wronged within the community. More (in my opinion) than the LGBT community at large. As a Black man, it feels no better or worse.
Do you feel that the leather community and embracing blackness has a positive outlook? Yes
Please explain your previous response. I say yes because if titleholders are a representation of community leadership, then over the past few years there has been a huge influx of Black and POC community leaders.
What advice would you give to newcomers in the Leather scene who are Black? Don’t stop showing up, even if you are the only one that looks like you. It won’t always be easy, but you will have a great time once you find your people. You will be able to have fantasies come true that you never thought possible.
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