By Bushido Bard
I sat down to discuss TC’s presentation for NLA Dallas’ Leather Perspectives and what follows is a tale of one man’s journey through Leather and the wisdom that he shared. TC did not start out perhaps as everyone else did. He grew up identifying as a hetero male and it was during his time in the United States Army that he discovered the world of Leather. He had a chance meeting with his sergeant that would forever change his life. After discovering a collection of books and magazines dealing with BDSM and power exchanges his sergeant decided to have a word with him.
One week later TC and his sergeant go out in a military vehicle for a routine maneuver. It was not long before they came upon a group of KKK members burning a cross on a hill. Within minutes TC was instructed to open the hatch and pop his head out. Seemingly, like the scene in Blazing Saddles, his sergeant announced, “Hey guys, check this out”, while pointing to TC. Giggling TC related, “Here I am, a black man, surrounded by white men and there are burning crosses; the first thought going through my mind was, ‘Shit…this is how I’m going out.’” His sergeant ordered him to knock down the crosses with the vehicle and then they headed back to base. He didn’t realize it at the time, but he had just demonstrated his loyalty and trust.
Not too long after that night his sergeant invited him to attend a hole-in-the-wall bar. It was a non-descript bar but upon entering his sergeant immediately told the guys at the front that “he’s with me.” It was a gay Leather bar. Still looking astonished TC said, “My sergeant had just outted himself to me! This was the late 80’s folks!” After looking around and taking it all in his sergeant asked him, “So which side are you on? Do you like to do the whipping or being whipped?” Like a kid in a candy store TC was flooded with choices and images.
Soon after this TC entered the world of Leather as his sergeant began his training. When he was transferred to Korea he was told to look up another Leatherman and he continued his journey there. Before he left the US Army he had trained under different Leathermen learning various aspects of our lifestyle. Soon after returning to the states, he left the US Army and joined the local Leather of Dallas; his home since the 90’s.
His first experience attending the Dallas Eagle was interesting as well as eye opening. It was not what he was expecting as he explained, “I watched and observed for a while and eventually folks were approaching me. When I saw a large black man I assumed he was a Dom but I quickly learned he was a sub. I was surrounded by big guys and they were subs. I thought to myself ‘Damn…you’re not helping.” Laughing he continued, “I was surprised at the lack of many people of color in the Leather scene here in Dallas.” It did not take long before he ingratiated himself into the Dallas Leather scene.
TC has traveled extensively visiting many Leather chapters and growing in his journey. In 2013 he was named Mr Great Plains Olympus Leather 2013 and he commented on his title, “The hardest part wasn’t winning the title, it was all the traveling involved with it! I don’t regret it of course, it just took time and energy.” This achievement and the experience helped to create a greater sense of pride in his Leather identity. He encourages everyone to get past the nerves and go out there to have fun while earning Leather titles. He finished by saying, “Damn, just go have fun with it folks.”
As time permitted I asked TC some questions that dealt with his opinions and thoughts on various topics. He shared his views on the future of Leather and some of his hopes. When asked what was the most difficult thing to accept or discover and he replied, “Well, two things: First, and it’s gotten better, but there seems to be a prejudice between gays and hetero people.” TC further explained that initially there were those who resented the inclusion of hetero-sexuals into the lifestyle. He enjoys that over the years everyone in the lifestyle are considered allies more than intruders. He continued, “Secondly there seems to be, in my observation, to be a lack of people of color in the lifestyle. When I do encounter them, they tend to be subs or slaves; I just don’t get it.”
When asked what his most rewarding experience in his Leather life was he quickly responded with, “Watching this Dallas group grow! I’ve seen young people enter and forge their own paths while keeping the traditions that came before them.” Among various other things he said that perhaps his favorite moments come from mentoring and teaching others. TC has been involved with the Dallas Mentors Program over the years and it is a continuous source of pride and satisfaction.
Finally the question was asked what he’d like his legacy to be. He laughed and said, “You mean, what do I want on my tombstone?” Carefully considering his answer and taking a long draw on his cigar he responded with, “There’s nobody here; the soul is gone. Or maybe, he helped the Leather folk.” Overall TC wants his contributions to the Leather community to be helpful and uplifting. To this day he continues to support the local BDSM and Leather communities by leading groups or just being a friendly face welcoming newcomers.