Our Leather Roots

BOLD, in its first two years, focused on introspection and identity with the themes “MDHL: Defining the Dynamic” and “Crafting Strong Relationships.” Since its inception, MDHL has embraced the concept of “leather” as a core principle.    A basic part of understanding both our present identity and our course of future growth requires us to look back and understand from whence we have come.  Hence the theme for BOLD 2014 – Our Leather Roots.

Our Leather Roots speaks to a diversity of experience that has not only shaped us as individuals, but also as a community.  Leather is a symbol of many things:  It is the black leather jacket that is iconic of motorcycle culture.  It is the trophy of the hunt, an act of both bonding for men and care taking for a community, achieving together what we cannot achieve alone.  It is the beauty of high fashion and the allure of high fetish, which defines us, moves us, and stimulates us both visually and viscerally.  It is the rugged individualism of traditional masculinity and the refined elegance of the enduringly feminine.  It is our heavy boots and our delicate stiletto heels.  It is the base of the clothes we wear: our jackets, vests and pants, our dresses, skirts and shoes; as well as the material that is fashioned into the tools we use to express our desires: our cuffs, whips, floggers, and collars.  It gave rise to some of the first fetish publications that opened the door for BDSM culture in the early 20th century.

Our Leather Roots is a celebration of the ideas of the masculine–the hard, rough, rugged sense of dominance–married to the elegance and beauty of restraint, and the curves, contour, and grace of the feminine.  It is the crack of the whip and the delicious curve of the leg that only a patent leather high heel can produce.  It is the bravado and confidence of the leather vest contrasted with the restriction and confinement of all that is female embraced and contained by the tightly cinched leather corset.

But perhaps most of all, it is a deep expression of who we are living in an MDHL dynamic.  The two sides of human nature, masculine and feminine, embracing one another in an elegant dance which can be expressed in an object, in a fetish, and in a concept that can maintain its strength, character, and form, yet allow for almost an endless expression of who we are, what we feel, and what we do with each other.

Leather is a vessel.  It is a container for the values we hold.  Honor, Integrity, Tradition, and Respect.  But it is, and has always been, more than that too.  It is the fabric of our desires.  It is our history and our past.  It is our sense of community and service.  It is what calls us to be with one another–symbolically, authentically, and positively.

Leather is what unites us, clothes us, and takes us to those places we most need to go.  And when we go to those places it is the concept, the spirit and the essence of leather that allows us to go there together: as people of MDHL, as partners with one another, as brothers and sisters, and as a community.