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More on the Chicago Hellfire Club.

Man, I really stepped in it with my last post, huh?

I see myself standing on other sides of the fence than some of my friends. I hope this doesn't affect anything in the way of our personal relationships, gentlemen.

My last post would seem to feel like I have a negative viewpoint on CHC. In reality, my feelings are completely opposite. Let me explain why I am so torn about this issue.

During my first steps within the halls of GMSMA, MAL, IML, the various small club runs and sash weekends I would roadtrip to... I would see the occasional vest with the CHC patch on the back. 95% of the time, the man wearing that vest was someone I respected... someone I looked up to. When I learned the history of the club, I read the names of all of our forefathers. People I wished I had the opportunity to meet. People I have learned from indirectly.

People I aspired to be.

I never thought I would actually ever attend Inferno. I was scared shitless over the prospect, feeling like I didn't belong. I wasn't a hard enough player, not good enough. I didn't belong as a bisexual man.

Then I attended. And I saw I had friends there, people who welcomed me to their space. Men who I looked up to took me under their arm and whispered into my ear - "Welcome home." I cried during the opening ceremonies. I cried at the end. I couldn't believe that yours truly would ever attend the SM Run to End All Runs, and I sure didn't expect to be so welcomed there.

I had a whole shitload of fun that weekend.

Every time I am in Chicago, I make it a point to play in the CHC Clubhouse. Whenever I walk into that dungeon, I feel alive. I feel history all around me. I see and hear and smell and feel the play that is happening all around me. It's MY kind of play - hard, intense, emotional, real, raw, present. I love SM play with men. I love the brotherhood all around me.

I like feeling like I belonged.

This weekend, after an amazing scene with qnetter, we went downstairs to come down from our respective highs. There by the TV is a bookcase with picture books from every Inferno run. We pulled out the book from when I attended... and there I was. Pictures of me, playing, in the fucking Inferno run book.

I almost burst into tears right then and there. Me, in the Inferno run book. Me, a part of that history. Hell, I'm tearing up right now.

See, here is the dilemma. The Chicago Hellfire Club to me has always been the pinnacle of Male on Male SM. To be accepted into those halls is to be welcomed into the next chapter of history. I see the CHC member back patch and I ache to wear one myself. I gaze at my run patch, and I wish I had more.

I aspire to be a Hellfire brother. With my fellow men.

My problem is, I cannot. Some of my fellow men cannot come with me, and that breaks my fucking heart.

Comments

( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
bootedintexas
May. 29th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
that is an exceptionally passionate post. well done. There are times that we have to wonder about all the barriers that we sometimes place up, complain about some and embrace others. It is an odd situation that when some barriers come up, it creates barriers across groups of people that have never been affected by barriers before. it leaves unable to know if the barriers are good or bad. maybe they are both. which leaves the quandry in place. there is no answer. at least not right now.
rogueboi
May. 29th, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this post, Phil. I'm tearing up myself now, down in Texas.
boymeat
May. 29th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
Call me when you get home. I want to talk about Delta. I'm 95% sure I am going. And I want you with me.

Love you, bro.
(no subject) - qnetter - May. 29th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - glowroper - May. 29th, 2007 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
luna_littleone
May. 29th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
Proud of you Sir.
Proud of you for making a stand.
qnetter
May. 29th, 2007 02:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for how well you've put this out there.

Elsewhere at the moment, as I'm sure you know, I'm being perceived as an issue-hog political opportunist who has no love for CHC and is only around now to stir shit up...
boymeat
May. 29th, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
It's incredibly clear what is at issue. The parallels with the Michigan Women's Music Festival is astounding.

It's all about the penis.

There seems to be a line in the sand about what is male and what isn't. It seems very black-and-white for some folks.

I see the backlash you are receiving, and I am sorry for that.
(no subject) - panther - May. 29th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
It IS all about the penis. - raindog469 - May. 29th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: It IS all about the penis. - boymeat - May. 29th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: It IS all about the penis. - raindog469 - May. 29th, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: It IS all about the penis. - boymeat - May. 29th, 2007 08:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: It IS all about the penis. - raindog469 - May. 29th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: It IS all about the penis. - boymeat - May. 30th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: It IS all about the penis. - raindog469 - May. 30th, 2007 04:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: It IS all about the penis. - foamcore - May. 30th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: It IS all about the penis. - foamcore - May. 30th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: It IS all about the penis. - deafdyke - May. 29th, 2007 05:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
mister_don
May. 29th, 2007 02:28 pm (UTC)
Some of my fellow men cannot come with me
Some of us get born, some of us get to be made
(Deleted comment)
boymeat
May. 29th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
Wrong? Nope. Hot? You betcha.
gearjock
May. 29th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC)
Thats a message that resonates very well with me.

I understand and have compassion for that viewpoint.

Perhaps in time with more communication like this, those barriers may be broken...

Time will tell.
boymeat
May. 29th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this comment. I'm glad we could connect at some level.

My biggest fear is not losing the debate. My fear is losing my friends in the process, so I'm glad we could come to some mutual understanding.
nineinchlovely
May. 29th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
I really appreciated this post. I can definitely understand seeing the backpatch on those you respect – I am in a similar boat currently. Would you mind if I added you?
boymeat
May. 29th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
By all means. I'm glad you enjoyed my writing.
haptotrope
May. 29th, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
OK... because I was a woman of action. I suggest this course of action (see comment in prev thread for the back-up) because my brain is stufk in this topic.

Transfolks need to start throwing parties...and inviting their gay leathermen compatriots thier allies and 2 degrees of seperation on out. And make them the hottest fucking parties they have EVER had the privilege to throw/attend -- a veritable blitzkreig of hotness... It will take a little while, but keep that up, and they will build the bonds the transfolks so desperately seek, and dismantle the walls that have caused so much trouble.

boymeat
May. 29th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
That's not a bad idea at all.
(no subject) - haptotrope - May. 29th, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mhgagnon - May. 29th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
ayup. - haptotrope - May. 29th, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ayup. - desiringsubject - May. 30th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ayup. - haptotrope - May. 30th, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qnetter - May. 30th, 2007 07:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mhgagnon - May. 30th, 2007 01:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nineinchlovely - May. 29th, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
boy_wonderwolf
May. 29th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Stick to your guns and follow your heart. Being born with a penis doesn't necessarily make one a man.
cleovale
May. 29th, 2007 05:28 pm (UTC)
I (of course, lol) have an opinion, but when dont I? what I wanted to say specifically though, is that this post really touched me. Keep speaking out like this and many more people will have the privilige of learning who you are Inside, not who you are perceived to be. :)
glowroper
May. 29th, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this eloquent post. re Delta - I hope your 95% changes to 100%.
qnetter
May. 30th, 2007 07:40 am (UTC)
Me too!
rightkindofme
May. 29th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
This is one of the moments when I am most proud to know you.
janicestine
May. 29th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC)
Psst.... When are you going to add me as a friend so I can read all of your juicy stuff????
Great seeing you this weekend!
xoxo
Janice
boymeat
May. 29th, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
I actually don't make any private posts, so what you see is what you get. But, you're right, and I corrected the mistake of not having you on my friends list.
feyrieprincess
May. 29th, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
*blinks in admiration
(Deleted comment)
sotto_voce
May. 29th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
I know I'm not boymeat and I don't want to intrude in his comment space, but I'd like to try to give a response. I am not trans. I am a bi female.

The FTM transmen who are being excluded consider themselves male and in my opinion ARE male. A penis, be it small, large, surgically created, etc. does not strictly determine maleness. Would CHC allow in a bio male or MTF pre-op who identified as a woman and came wearing women's clothing? If it is all about the penis, then why not? Clearly it is about something else... it is about gender identity.

I can only imagine the rejection and anger I would feel if there was a woman only event and I was turned away at the door because my breasts weren't large enough. Come on, breasts = femininity, right? What about the women who have small breasts, have surgically altered (larger or smaller) breasts? Why does body part of acceptable size equal gender?

Also here is my suggestion. Let in transmen. If bio men don't want to play with transmen - nobody is going to FORCE you. Similarly, if you don't want to play with a blonde man, a Jewish man, a gym queen or anyone else... no one is going to FORCE you. Just go and have a good time and let the other men in attendance have a good time, too.

Just my 2 cents...
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - sotto_voce - May. 30th, 2007 12:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - lobolance - May. 30th, 2007 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - lobolance - May. 30th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - boymeat - May. 31st, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qnetter - May. 30th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - raindog469 - May. 30th, 2007 04:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qnetter - May. 30th, 2007 06:41 am (UTC) - Expand
feyrieprincess
May. 29th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)
*just re-read post
I would do just about anything to be a gay leather man (er...probably boy...)
They do have the hottest play (er...work...)

quirkstreet
May. 29th, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC)
All I can really say is "Just when I thought I already knew most of the nice bi guys whose gender and sexuality politics are kind of like mine ...."

Eloquently put.
boymeat
May. 29th, 2007 09:14 pm (UTC)
Some positive things need to come out of this, right? Good to meet you. :-)
paksen
May. 29th, 2007 09:21 pm (UTC)
Wow! Good stuff. Good for you for being brave. Good for you for saying what's on your mind and good for you for inspiring conversation.
leathernomad
May. 30th, 2007 06:25 am (UTC)
Thanks for this post and the one before it. Well said, and reiterated.

Personally, I am uncomfortable with any "____-only" organization or event, including ones that I'm welcome at. I've been closer than I care to be to several discussions of how to limit women's space, and the motivation for excluding men or transfolk seems to be frequently based in irrational fear, prejudiced and inaccurate generalizations, and thinly veiled hatred. I've seen the same thing in non-Leather organization, particularly in many Jewish organizations. And, I think, based on some of the comments posted here, that I may be seeing that in this case. The stated and actual motivations for having a "____-only" space often don't match.

I think that creating a rigidly defined "____-only" space has some inherent pitfalls. It's exceedingly difficult to find a definition that works, and even harder to enforce that definition. It's difficult or impossible to separate out the motives for exclusion. And, I think the motives do matter. A group that allows itself to codify its fears and prejudices into enforceable rules is, in my mind, discriminating, regardless of whether there are other options available through other groups. And, since it is difficult to unravel the motivations, any exclusionary policy, even from the best of intentions, can be very hurtful.

But, I'm conflicted.
I know there's a qualitative difference between mens', womens', queer, bi, pan, and het spaces. I know this in part because I have my own distinct preferences for some spaces (queer and mens') over others. And, I have seen some gay male focused (not exclusive) events hit a "tipping point" when the number of hets and women rises and the gay men stop coming - and it stops being an event that I want to be at as much. And, I know that I, as someone who isn't a gay male, may be a "part of the problem" in each of these cases.
( 56 comments — Leave a comment )

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