What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack? There is a passion deep within my heart for items that are made of leather. There is a heat and wetness in my pussy that caring for leather creates. There is a deep reverence and joy that I feel for leather items as I learn their history and meaning to their owners. There is a craving for the connection I feel when touching, licking and caressing the leathers that people are wearing. And there is an ongoing desire within me to learn more and more about the care and feeding of leather that turns simple leather care into a deep driving need inside me. These are a few of the things that make me a bootblack.
I am also a Leather woman. I am a sexaul rebel, one who dances with dark desires many outside our community disapprove of. I am omni-sexual, the term I used before the words “Pan” or “Queer” ever entered into my vocabulary. I believe in consent, respect, personal responsibility and living a life of service to the community that has claimed me as one of their own. Leather is filled with passionate people of deep desires who are willing to take the risks that leading a deeply authentic life carries with it. It is full of individuals who each have fought, in their own way, to break free of the confines of “proper” and “should” that society teaches us and who are there for each other in the battles of their friends too. We embrace our differences and recognize that we can respect another’s decision without agreeing with it; we celebrate our truths and embrace the darkness many fear to even admit exists. We stand and fight for our rights as sexual individuals and as loving people. This is why I am Leather, because I too stand for all these things and because there is always the hot, amazing, raunchy sex.
Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why? Again it is difficult to choose only one, so I will share with you my two favorite Leather Women, Sarah Humble and Momma Vi.
Momma Vi is one of my favorite leather women. I first met her at Southwest Leather Conference and she was traveling with THE library. I had no idea what to expect and entered the room timidly, only to have a wonderful woman with a heart larger than the hotel, joyfully invite me in and want to talk with me about my interests. As I shared with her my path of M/s and bootblacking, she joyfully aimed me at different sections of the library and also shared with me some of her favorite stories from her journey and introduced me to boi robbie to discuss in depth, the history of bootblacking. Her open caring heart and hospitality quickly made her an inspiration to me.
As I continued to get to know her better and learn of her journey through the years, she became an even bigger inspiration. I had no idea at first that she too was a slave. I knew that she also was a visionary who needed to help teach about her passion and love and I grew to realize how similar I was to her in many ways. Somehow she took, “see a need, fill a need” to mean a radical acceptance and hospitality to all wherever they are on their journies and she has inspired me and is someone who I strive to emulate in the openness of their heart.
For Sarah Humble: when I first was beginning to discover my leather in the Denver community, whenever I would ask about womens’ place in the Leather culture and in Leather history, I was constantly told, “you need to meet Sarah’” or “have to asked Sarah?” I was beginning to believe that she was 10 feet tall and the google goddess of all thing Leather (ask google, it knows). Then at a local event I was talking with a lady in a vest and asked one of the many questions I seem to always have about Leather culture and she had some answers for me. After over 30 minutes of letting me pick her brain someone came up to us and said, “xiaoyi, I see you have finally met Sarah!” and I blinked hard. This woman, who I had built in my mind to be 10 feet tall and possibly even breathe fire, was shorter than me (not hard since I am 5’10” and wear heals) and had been talking to me, enthusiastically answering my questions with a huge amount of patience. This was the woman who everyone kept talking about?!?
That made a huge impression on me. The fact that someone who so many people I respected look upon as an authority was willing and able to answer the questions of the new chick, questions she had likely answered 100 times before for people, yet didn’t seem to mind or be bothered by answering again, left a huge impression on me. With no pun intended, she taught me that Leather can be humble. When you combine such a deep lesson with her ongoing passion for documenting and creating Womens’ Leather History, you end up with a very impactful individual and one of my favorite Leather women.
What do you feel is the most dangerous mis-information passed through traditional & social media affecting our community today, and how would you combat it should the opportunity arise? There is a large stigma in modern culture about BDSM, kink and Leather. There is still the impression that those of us who practice it are “sick” or abusive. I have not seen a healthy BDSM interaction portrayed in Modern media. It is not uncommon for me to have conversations with people about how “bottoms must be weak” or “tops are abusive” and for me to challenge these assumptions with a set of questions to try and help the person spouting such silliness to realize that they are not correct.
”Have you ever done exactly what you were told to do at the office for a week without complaint or even negative thoughts about your boss or the company? Was that easy to do? Do you think someone who choose to let another be their boss, not just in the office but in all of life has taken an easy path if you have had troubles doing that for a week? “
“Are you aware that many cultures have outlets built into them to allow people to feel physical pain for processing and pleasure? Our culture is actually in the minority in not having this. "
"Are people who enjoy sports, mountain climbing, cliff diving etc mentally unstable? Do you realise the chemical cocktail dumped into the body for these people is the exact same as the one that people who participate in BDSM get?”
I also have gone to various groups and even college classes to have a “chat with the Kinkster” opportunity and allowed an open Q and A for the purpose of helping people gain an understanding of our kink world. I give speeches, write a blog and will be offering webinars and other ways for people to learn about healthy kink plus I do point people at other resources within their communities and online to help challenge the concepts that we are unhealthy, doormats or abusive. I believe that education is the solution for these misconceptions
In 100 words or less what will you do as IMsL or IMsBB to promote your title? Bootblacks Shine; it is what we do. Helping start new bootblacks and encouraging those who already established overcome their fears by letting them know how much fun it is to be a titleholder, is one of the ways I will help promote the IMsBB title. I will do this while traveling, teaching and through online media promotion. I will encourage each person I meet to find their inner light and let it shine and through promoting and encouraging others, I hope more will chose to shine by competing at higher level contests, like IMsBB, ICBB and IMBB.
What do you say to those who think there are too many titles and that it has diluted the meaning of holding a title? Bullshit.
Titles are a form of representation. It is a way of helping everyone in the community see a leader that they can identify with and see a part of themselves in. Each titleholder makes that title their own for the time they have it. And sometimes, you might not see yourself reflected in the person that is representing your group.
The joy and job of a titleholder is to show people that what they do is acceptable and recognised. This is in addition to teaching and fundraising and many other duties, but the job is to be a representative of the subculture of that group. As the Leather and kink communities grow, we have many more people to represent and who need to have role models and representation within our culture.
If you think simply having more titles available within our community dilutes the meaning of a title, I would ask you to please reflect deeply on what you think having a title means, because a new title simply means another group of people within our community will have another recognised, visible, acknowledged representative to help show them that they too are welcomed here and valued.