How do you get a complex gay BDSM leather family of 32 people to work together and contribute not only to themselves but to other gay leather families and BDSM communities in their area? Kayla finds out.
Kayla: How would you describe your family? Are you a gay leather family, primal, pack or something else?
Blackie: "Describing our family is difficult!"
Troy Landry, Head Master said, "We're a gay leather family that's for sure. We, in many ways, run ourselves like an old guard leather family, because that's how I was trained and that's how I trained those under me. We're, a pack though, as well as a house, and a bit primal at times, too."
Greg, a newer switch to the family, said: "It's odd, the family what you'd call it, changes. I've never seen anything like it. One day, we're all old guard leather, high protocol and the next day, a wolf pack. Our mood as a family, a house, a pack, is very fluid."
Kayla: What is the hierarchy in your leather family? How many people are there?
Blackie: "The hierarchy of our house is quite intricate. There is the Head Master, Troy Landry. Under him, there's the rest of the family. Some are Masters only in control of slaves. Most, are Masters to some and slaves to others. In effect, our family hierarchy is built on a ladder system, with some people being in command of others, while themselves taking command from others."
Joel Obermann, Second in command says "Slave Blackie is in a unique position, that of being the most senior slave, but the slave who chooses to take the backseat to everyone else. Technically, he has quite a bit of authority, but he very rarely wields it, preferring mostly to let others be the Dominants.
Gay BDSM leather families are all unique.
Joel continues "Blackie is also in the unique position of being the only slave here who has no limits from his primary Masters, myself and Troy, but must serve or service any Master who asks, other than the two of us, (because we don’t ask, we command), as long as his limits are respected. Some slaves are owned by more than one Master and in that case (such as slave Blackie's case), those primary Masters come first always and forever."
Blackie adds "Because I'm a slave, I serve any Master who asks, as long as I'm not doing anything at that moment for my primary Masters - and as long as my limits are respected. I give myself to the family and will serve anyone, Master or slave if I'm able and within the boundaries of my limits. From my primary Masters, I have no limits, as I have consented to non-consent. To them, I give myself completely."
Troy says "If any disputes cannot be decided on their own, the family member has the choice of bringing the matter before a tribunal for resolution, which consists of two Masters and one slave, usually myself, Obermann and Blackie. Unless one of us is involved, then we have pre-selected alternates."
Troy continues, "There are thirty-two of us that live here on the property and about six who are associates and are trying to gain entrance. Our system for acceptance is very rigorous. We're an exclusive house that lives on 60 acres. We do mingle with the outside world, but our gates are coded and locked because of the way we live and what we do. We prefer our privacy.”
Kayla: How are new members are allowed or brought into your family?
Blackie: “We have a very intricate system for determining a person's eligibility to the family. Members can approach us wishing to join, or we hold events or have booths at local and national events where people can get to know us."
He continues "Once someone has decided they have an interest in our leather family, there's a period (usually three months) where they come with their slaves (if any) to pre-arranged meetings, events or get-togethers we hold or attend. These may be leather family oriented, or our family may only be a small part (as we are a member of the local gay BDSM and leather communities) and they're given the opportunity to get to know us as individuals and our family as a whole."
"If they pass that stage, and we think them suitable - and vice versa - they become associates. At this time, they are expected to attend leather family functions and meetings and spend weekends with the family to try to integrate themselves into our lives, as we do the same in theirs. During this time, they're also expected to demonstrate any BDSM skills they might have and grow proficient in skills they're lacking."
"They're not expected to master everything, but they must have a good knowledge of each general discipline, safety concerns, first aid, etc. They're also expected to learn the history and protocols of the house.”
Kayla: What protocols do family members follow with each other?
Blackie: “Since most of our members are what the BDSM community defines as 'switches', (because we command some and are commanded by others), the protocols apply to everyone. If someone ranks higher than you, you must ask before entering a room where that person is present, ask before sitting down at the same table, etc.”
Master M says, "Even though I have a slave, I'm not the most senior Master here. There are several above me, and I must accord them the respect that comes with the higher rank."
Blackie adds, “There are obligations that anyone lower ranked must fulfill for any higher ranked member of the family, should that person ask. These are mostly domestic obligations. In the play area of things, a Master must ask the primary Master of that slave before using him for play; this also applies to anything that would take the slave away from his normal duties for an extended amount of time.”
Troy says, "I don't know how to sum up our protocol in a few short sentences as it's very intricate and complicated. Slaves and lower ranked Masters have over 200 rules they must learn and my slave has 250. Everything is regimented from who greets whom when arriving home, and in what manner, to who may or may not enter a room, sit on the furniture, sleep with whom etc. This also Includes how a slave must walk with a Master, speak to him at family events or events in the wider community. One should know that our old guard behavior, which we use with the gay BDSM and leather communities at large, is not the same as the behavior we use when hosting an event on our property."
Leather buddies share a moment
Kayla: What is the biggest challenge in maintaining a healthy leather family? How do you deal with those challenges?
Blackie: “It takes a lot of time and commitment to nurturing any family, and for us, the task is even more difficult because we are so many people.”
Greg said, "One of the things that we do is have weekly meetings where people can express their grievances, and as a family, we try to work on these issues. You also meet once a week, sometimes more. For me, it's three times because I keep things hidden inside and tend to explode. In the meeting, you go over any issues, problems that you might be having, both inside and outside the family."
Cade (Blackie’s slave) said, "We have play times and family activities, where we all come together as a family. It's nice. You still observe the protocol and rank and whatnot, but it's very relaxed, and we get to build our relationships - make those bonds stronger."
Master K adds, "Any member of this family can come to any other if they are having a problem or need an ear. We have a lot of people with one kind of mental/physical issue or another, so it's important that we all understand we can go to anyone, anytime, for anything. A little love and aftercare when finishing a scene goes a long way".
Kayla: What do you love most about your BDSM family? How has it changed your life for the better?
Blackie says, "For me, my family has taught me the meaning and the value of honor, service, love, fidelity, integrity, honesty and so much more. I didn't have these things before, and I do now. My family has made me stand stronger as an individual, but also within the context of the family and the gay BDSM and leather community as a whole. I think I love most the friendship and true love that is expressed here. There's always someone to hold me up when I'm down. Always someone to laugh with, to cry with."
Joel says, "I like the fact that we have so many individuals with so many different skill sets living and blending in one family, on one property in relative peace. Since I have been in the gay BDSM leather scene for so many years, I will say it is very refreshing to be able to be so open and dwell in a community such as this. Many in our culture at large, cannot be so open and I find this unfortunate."
Greg adds "It's the only family I've ever had. It helps me be a better man and a better doctor."
Images: Franco Folini & torbakhopper via Flickr released via CC BY 2.0 license
Discovering what your BDSM limits are is an essential part of being the kink scene. If you don't know what your limits are, there are some ways to
Ever feel down when looking at fetish images of slim models wrapped in beautiful shibari rope work? Does seeing promotional pictures of busty, curvy
We're all about inclusion, so we wanted to take time to answer some of your questions about sexuality, disability & BDSM. As there seems to be a