1000 Word is a column by Editorial Staff Member Vonn Tramel. The Column may contain links to editorial content and or views regarding current events that align expressly with its author and has been placed in the Editorial Section of The Leather Journal for this reason.
OH HO HO HO … 39 days to go!… days till what you ask??? Christmas? Chanukah? In 2 hours from the time I post this, it will be 39 days till both are upon us....Sure shooting it's gonna be a rip-roaring holiday week in my household this year…Only… Hanukkah starts on the same day as most of us celebrate Christmas and goes through New Years! Oooooooooooohhhh sure I'm sad I am missing the opportunity to put up my Hogwarts Christmas-tree-minorah….complete with floating candles…. I’ll be celebrating the holiday in Atlanta this year with framily there…but my thoughts turn to gift giving. This blog is going to be short but the message is important.
Support your local communities this holiday season.
Cause…presents! I am always a huge proponent of making or buying local and if the person is “one of those hard to buy for folks” … charitable donations are always a good match. This season more than ever, we should support artisans, and local charities whose views are in line with our own! Small businesses create Main Street jobs. Small businesses ensure community collective wealth via those jobs and local sales tax – something many mega-mall rich communities are certainly feeling in the new age of Wal-Mart and Amazon and Ebay Online Malls.
This season more than ever, we should support artisans, and local charities whose views are in line with our own! Small businesses create Main Street jobs. Small businesses ensure community collective wealth via those jobs and local sales tax – something many mega-mall rich communities are certainly feeling in the new age of Wal-Mart and Amazon and Ebay Online Malls.
So, I want to open a conversation with you all… Who are you buying from? Who do you know that is an artisan? Or will you be purchasing a package for your loved ones to that event they want to go to??? All of these ideas support our community as a whole.
Now the following is a list of people I know…certainly, you know others in your own home town….Christina Court crochets adorable bears and sells them on Etsy…Shilo McCabe makes hanky hair bows…Ms Martha and Erin Marie make corsets…Shane Hutchinson and James Menge will make you custom leather…Nancy will make you a new comforter or embroidered towels….Logan Brueck makes custom Pound Puppehs out of the fabric of your choice…Derrielle Carter and Boy PuP Creations will print out custom Coffee Mugs or steel water bottles…Dave Faunce, Arsenio Amadis, Scotty Tidwell and Peter Noratorious are all hair dressers who will gladly take your money in exchange for gift certificates…if your loved ones are looking for interior décor there is Aaron B Duke and for custom leather furniture there is Buck Davidson…does your love LOVE a cool hat? Luke Song Millinery supports our community…buy your partner an hour with a local masseuse like Joey Tarin or a make up artist like David Morin…buy a kilt from PDKilts or commission a new paddle with a pretty design on it from Michelle (probably too late for this one… ) Malena Teves Chips runs a vintage shop and re-works vintage furs so they may have a second life…then there are toy makers like Candice Cane, Panther Prowls, Valentio Harrison,
Oh and Authors like Laura Antoniou & Michael Angel would love to sell some books, and while we’re discussing paper there are amazing artists like Nikki Jones and Nicholas Oliver…if you’re looking for a new home…there are real estate agents who would love to get you keys for the new year…Leland Carina in Portland ( I think…) and Shan Carr in Palm Springs…Tommie Starchild can find you something magical … Want some ink…see Ron Hendon or Gauge….have a really cool play space aching for something custom Downtown Willy or Sex in Metal or Levi Davidson are sure to have some ideas!
Oh dear then there are the retailers who give give give till it hurts to our events all year long, and are you a business owner who wants to give out booze as a gift? (shocking!) Why not contact one of events who was sponsored by a brand and ask for their info to buy a case direct, let them know they are being appreciated…..Speaking of booze, our bars…does your bar offer gift certificates ???? Then the Bootblacks, tack shops (locally owned of course), sex shops…Ohhh glass blowers like Pyro and Ri Dickulous Toys or rope from Bastard Ropes…keep our retail spaces open…then again, have you thought about gifting your loved ones their club or memberships to LA&M or gifting in their name to SSC, The Leather Foundation or buying a subscription to The Leather Journal?
So… for the love of all that is holly-jolly you get my point …this is just MY community list of folks one could buy something from. So if 200 of you spent 10.00 Each on 5 people...that's 50 bucks each multiply that 200, we arrive at $10,000 figure 50% for overhead & supplies..... I don't know how many businesses I listed but let's assume there are 50 people on my list. That would put an extra $100.00 in every of these folks pockets this holiday season... your purchases makes a difference to our community on the whole. I hope you see clearly that there is power in each purchase.
Yesterday was Sunday it was a day for being with my family. Reconnecting and getting back to the things we must all do to have normalcy in this new world.
Today is Monday a day for figuring out what the week will bring us. I am starting my day by watching 60 Minutes The First Interview with President-Elect Donald Trump. This is the first presidential interview I am having trouble stomaching...and it's not that he's turned back into the art of the deal salesman that I knew he would be...cause ... he has, complete with flip-flops on HRCs emails and overturning gay marriage cause she's a great person and same-sex marriage is irrelevant to his presidency cause it's already law....oy mylanta...it's the unbridled know-it-all-no-one-can-know-more-than-me power facade that he's putting on ... surrounded by "the family" He sits forward engaged with his interviewer while all of dt's children sit upright almost separating themselves from him, perhaps most like his father is Don...'sober' with a sour & seemingly disinterested facial expression his body turned slightly from the camera...if he doesn't want the spotlight, it's a little late.....this is simply a three ring circus...The Real American Horror Show...and we're all waking up in the poppy fields preparing to fight, still hungover from the last prize fight.
Back to the work we need to start this week…what can we do to work through this? How do we start to prepare for the next two years leading up to the mid terms so that we may regain some (dare I dream all) political control from the right-wing nuts who voted dt into office with false promises inciting hate and bigotry ….
In a previous column I noted we can reach out to, get to know, and volunteer for our local government officials.
Today I read a facebook post asking for instruction on reaching out. She was distraught because of her feminine voice and southern drawl – which FTR I find very alluring – but she is correct in that it is not commanding.
She asked for a script or instruction on creating a script to read to her representative…Today we’re going to talk about contacting these folk's offices and making your 15 seconds of time constructive and successful. This post will talk specifically about creating a script and interpreting that script so that when you call your delivery successfully relays the message you have crafted out and practiced.
Drafting your message:
Your message should have universality it should express potentially interesting ideas or commonality that evokes emotional or guttural responses within a large group of the representative's constituency. Your message should be individual, the people who answer phones will hear canned "form" messages all day long, individuality may be the key to getting your message to the top of the pile.
Your message should be individual, the people who answer phones hear canned "form" messages all day long, individuality may be the key to getting your message to the top of the pile.
- Hello my name is ________ and I am calling from ________, state of ________. (easy so far right?)
- Address your representative…you’ll not be talking to them, so tell the person on the phone taking your message – who you are calling for…basic etiquette so far…
- I am calling to urge (title…mayor, city councilmember, congress person, senator…) ___________ (name) _____________
- Now comes the challenge in 50-100 words, REALLY no more in a phone message, tell the operator who answered the representative's phone what you want to say.
- I am contacting them today about the need to support HB2016.
- Give a contrasting statistic – backed by an association or lobby (research your point)
- According to National Widgets United pink widgets earn 70 cents for every Dollar made by blue widgets.
- Climax and Close your message
- Pink widgets are responsible for 65% of the output by machines in this country but are paid less for performing the same function as blue widgets. HB2016 will ensure wage equality among widgets and I urge the congress person to continue supporting pink widgets. Thank you for delivering my message to them.
When you are done it will look like this:
I am calling to urge (title…mayor, city councilmember, congress person, senator…) ___________ (name) _____________ . about the need to support HB2016. According to National Widgets United pink widgets earn 70 cents for every Dollar made by blue widgets. Pink widgets are responsible for 65% of the output by machines in this country but are paid less for performing the same function as blue widgets. HB2016 will ensure wage equality among widgets and I urge the congress person to continue supporting pink widgets by voting for HB2016. Thank you for delivering my message to them.
Ways we create connection with our messages
Empathy - the most powerful tool is our ability to control and use empathy. Use words that will evoke physical responses. Yes, it is pure manipulation, sometimes distasteful, but afterall, arent you trying to manipulate an official to side with you?
Succinct clarity of point will keep the operator focused.
Contrast to point…if our point is pink widgets deserve equal wages to blue widgets for the same work and that this right should be protected by law... then stating it in concerted contrast as "pink widgets earn 70 cents for every Dollar made by blue widgets" simply provides a why we feel the way we do.
Proportion – in this case short and sweet.
Rhythm – usually thought of in terms of poetic structure, the rhythm of your content should be clear and easy on the ear when read aloud. This is easier to achieve if you write in concise easy to read sentence structure.
Each of these points must not be thought of as individual points rather they should be approached with consideration of each factors quality and how they play to one another. It is important that while each individual factor will play it’s own part in your messages arrangement, their successful use will add to the logical and emotional delivery of your message.
Delivering your message
For my friend who is worried about the lilt of her southern drawl when delivering your message. 1.) Your representatives are used to regional dialect. Don't sweat it, they don't. Know what they do sweat? Overloaded phone lines!
1.) Your representatives are used to regional dialect. Don't sweat it, they don't. Know what they do sweat? Overloaded phone lines!
2.) Practice! Record yourself delivering the message and adjust your diction accordingly.
It sounds simple – but really “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane", is probably the most famous example of someone practicing interpretation of the written word and is essentially a character practicing to change people's minds about her station, to manipulate a populace to listen to what she has to say. It is the same for an individual who wishes to speak to motivate an audience. Manipulative diction only comes naturally to a select few. For the rest, it is practice, practice, practice. I am telling that friend that she may call me and we'll practice motivating our audiences together. Think about the words you've written down...and how you desire to interpret your message when you call...though you probably don't need to give it this much analysis...
Believe it or not, the organization of your facts will tell the tail of your attitude and views…you have stated the point of view that pink widgets deserve equal pay. Obviously we want to portray strength and power when making demands of a public official, however, there is also a need to display empathy! Call in with a resolution that you’ll connect in one way or another to the individual answering the phone. If you have written your text using the five suggestions in concert with one another you are so far ahead of the game friends.
I hope this helps you be successful in constructing and delivering your message.
Now…Who are we going to contact first? https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
Every major city has one, a “Center”… and every Center has social services of varying types based on the need and sometimes, in bigger metro areas, even the desires of its client base.
What happens when you are in an area that is isolated, how do can we as a community advocate for those in say... Crested Butte, CO or Williams, AZ?
You don’t think that you can make a difference in the life of someone 1000 miles away? Au contraire, the answer is easy – Volunteer…
There are a few “safe provider” resources out there…RAD Remedy – Volunteer, these folks build their database of safe, educated and understanding health and service providers with a volunteer research and effort.
The folks at RAD Remedy are dedicated to connecting trans, gender non-conforming, intersex, and queer folks to accurate, safe, respectful, and comprehensive care and services. I believe organizations like RAD Remedy are vital to securing services in a conservative climate. Why do I mention RAD Remedy and not the others (they will be listed at the end of this column don’t you worry)… the folks at RAD Remedy are like me Constructive in their emotional reactions providing leadership and constructive advice to face our future as families and individuals. Yesterday they released this “Guide to the Immediate Post-Election Future”
Riley Johnson, Executive Officer and Ex Officio of Remedy’s Board of Directors posted a call for volunteers in a FaceBook post just yesterday…. “Some of you have been looking for actions you can take to be supportive to me and to other folks disproportionately impacted by the election… We (RAD Remedy) too can use your money as we are a “little engine that could” (and does). Heaps of gratitude for those of you who have supported us thus far. If you have means of volunteer time, RAD Remedy is on the prowl for grant writers, fundraisers, accountants, and full stack developers.”
If you don’t have those skills but wish to make a difference…I ask you to consider what is an hour of your free time worth to you? $20? If you don’t have the skills or simply don’t have the time, donate once a month to the charity of your choice…Can I suggest donating now to RAD Remedy? It’s easy and will only take 60 seconds of your time.
I know the project especially needs a few volunteer full stack developers. If you have the skill, time and room in your heart to help out a grass roots organization this is what RAD Remedy needs most to get their project out of Beta and into full production. If volunteers cannot be located, then the project will need to pay, that is where regular financial “volunteers” can help. $5 a month from each of my readers would help fund the programmer to complete and maintain this vital resource for LGBT individuals in rural America!
Riley also noted in the same FB post that if you have the means of financial support, Trans Lifeline needs our help more than ever. They are seeing unprecedented call volumes and they're not always getting them all. If you are Trans-Identified and want to help Trans-Lifeline you may apply to volunteer to take calls here…all operators need to go through their training because of the unique needs of the individuals calling for help which set Trans Life Line apart from other help hotlines.
HOWEVER, it is important to note that one does not need to be Trans-identified to volunteer for this organization. Volunteer information can be found at http://www.translifeline.org/help and again Applications to Volunteer list all the opportunities to directly volunteer. AND just like RAD Remedy you can financially Volunteer….Everyone can make a difference by donating now, http://www.translifeline.org/donate
So there you have it friends. This is just two quick ways off the top of my head how YOU can volunteer right now…and as for your $20 of volunteer time? – if you donate just $5 a month to each of these organizations…you still have $10 to go…who will you give your “time” to?
LLC ? - Contact Board at LeatherLeadership.org
Is dedicated to strengthening the Leather/BDSM/Kink/Fetish
community through the development of the leadership skills of community members and fostering a greater sense of connection between and within community groups. It is only with your participation and cooperation that LLC works.
The Leather Foundation? HIPs Hepititis and HIV Integrated Programs and Services
HIPS Case Management provides high priority, emergency solutions for the client.
Intervention specialists generate an initial client intake with the team member.
Physical, mental and spiritual support advocacy are provided by HIPS Intervention Specialists.
Specialists, together with the client create a plan of action tailored to the needs of each individual client.
The Leather Heart Foundation?
The Leather Heart Foundation provides financial assistance to members of our kinky communities in times of disaster or financial hardship due to situations like uninsured health expenses, loss of employment, roommates who move, and other similar reasons.
The Leather Archives & Museum is dedicated to the compilation, preservation, and maintenance of leather, kink, and fetish lifestyles. Our museum galleries serve to present educational and historical material to an adult audience. Our reading library and archive serve to support researchers and community members in accessing materials and documentation relevant to the history and culture of leather.
Is the longest running print Leather Community publication. We are getting ready to celebrate 30 years of news, stories and community features, The Leather Journal –-- like every other print publication --- needs reader support more than ever! Subscribe today!
There is no way for me to ever list every possible charity or option to volunteer here, this is just a starting point. I challenge you to physically or financially volunteer just 1 hour a month. However, here are some numbers. 1873 unique people have seen this column in just 2 days. If half of you donated just one hour of physical “labor” and half of you donated “financial labor”… Each organization would have the equivalent of one permanent part-time employee and extra income of just under $1250 a month. Together we can love one another through Collective Activism.
Correction made to correct the Title of Riley Johnson to read Executive Officer and Ex Officio, an earlier version of this editorial read just ex officio.
What’s Next? (Warning: there is some tinfoil hat opinion contained in this post)
Passion is next!
There are as many dimensions to passion as there are to love and hate….
The 48 hours following dt’s elevation to POTUS Elect have resulted in some serious grief and mourning… I can count on one hand the people I can say that I KNOW who were not immediately thrust into denial watching the events of Tuesday’s election unfold. Then almost as quick as the denial struck were posts of anger blaming everyone, Bern-bro’s, protest voters, non-voters, Trump supporters and third part voters were all easy targets for the suffering throngs of die-hard Dems who had such high hopes of a shattered glass ceiling. And, in any real world scenario (other than the perplexing real life reality show we have been thrust into by red-America) it should have been a walk in the park on a fine fall day. That inconsolable anger has subsequently given rise to a high-tide of nationwide protests resulting in the arrests of 185 people in just Los Angeles on Wednesday night alone.
There has been open bigotry in schools, on the street, in the workplace. Cis-Females have begun to talk about stockpiling birth control in a dt controlled country. Young Latinos have been taunted openly in schools, vehicles of transgender and gay Americans have been defamed and torched. Gayborhoods and monuments of tolerance have been targeted by Nazi graffiti with scrawling painted messages of hate. Grasping at any and every idea my social media exploded Friday with simple ways to assure others that they are safe to approach if they are in danger or need someone to assist them. The most popular it seems is wearing a safety pin to signify solidarity against misogyny, hate, and intolerance. While I agree that we should take some stand… I have very deep-seated concerns about open signs of solidarity.
Placing a commonly known marker upon your clothing or home or window creates a target. It not only helps people identify you as someone with compassion, it helps people identify you as someone who is a potential target of hate. For the same reasons, Americans have been discouraged from displaying flags on their backpacks and clothing when traveling abroad, I would say the same goes for community members who with all good intention have grabbed a hold of the easiest symbol of hope and help.
It will take no time for our enemy to know what wearing a safety pin means. While I would love every person I know to don one each morning, and every evening as they go about their work and play. I would caution folks to use common sense and be aware of their surroundings while wearing them. If our blood relations are capable of calling for bloodshed, a perfect stranger may have no issue doing so either.
Before y’all come at me with the proverbial pitchforks, I am not asking people to go into the closet, or not declare your positions. I am asking you to use your brain and consider all of the potential consequences of your actions AND weigh the benefits and dangers of the potential results of those actions … then act based on thought and consideration rather than emotion and desire.
So what do I think we as a community should be doing?
Be actively constructive, get involved with your local government, get involved with your political party…whatever it is. Don’t know how?…Google for opportunities, find your local party office and go offer up your services.
Fundraise, meet and support politicians who reflect your personal values, then in 2 years support the people those politicians support by canvassing, baking cookies, working social media, whatever the party of your choice needs you to do to effect the changes you feel are necessary.
$upport the free press. Yes give us money, the B.A.R., TLJ, your local gay rags, Leatherati, Great Lakes Den…again, I don’t care who you support, just do it, we cannot survive on advertiser dollars and we cannot actively report news that isn’t important to our readers outside that which is important to our advertisers for the sole reason we can’t survive WITHOUT our advertisers…still with me? Good. It is that convoluted … and Dave, Loren, Tom, Sally have all said to me at one time or another it would be nice to be a free press…well, a free press costs money.
Can’t afford to give us money? Send us news! Help us…I know we’ve called for contributions time and time again, but becoming regular contributors of viable information that is more than contest results will provide a source of information that results in viable news…what’s happening in your neighborhoods? New bar? LGBT Center offering new services aimed at kink education or leadership? What events are offering educational classes? What are the classes and who is teaching them? Is/was there a protest in your community? What was it about and who organized it? Contact us with info like this and we’ll help you develop the stories….
Finally LOVE ONE ANOTHER…get to know one another and break bread on a regular basis with each other. In our homes, exchange phone numbers, not just facebook addresses. Know how to contact one another OFFLINE, set up community phone trees. Facebook and other online mediums are great until someone tells us we are no longer wanted or worse they simply use our own online plans against us.
Support each other, bake cookies, sell raffle tickets, and get out from behind your computers (says the webmaster and internet journalist). Welcome the young into your spaces, they will need your experience and advice. Get to know them, and their needs as those differences will most likely be different than your generations needs. Be willing to teach them and tolerate them, you will need their energy and determination. Get out into your bars and night clubs, softball diamonds, and pool halls, drink, fuck and beat each other sideways … Love one another…Get married and hold to one another as if your lives depend on it…plan for the future and live that future together with your community and framily.
Yesterday certainly was a day of mourning for my “framily”. I see ALL sorts of views in my feed this morning. Gay, straight, bi, (a few struggling left wing republicans), mothers, fathers, son, daughters, there are lawyers, soldiers, computer programmers, dog trainers, IT, cigar makers, reporters, artists, teachers and students, and one thing is for certain they are terrified. Each filled with an aching wonderment at the disheartening results of this years presidential election. But once the mourning passes.....what's next. What do we do when the time for action fills our thoughts and deeds?
I have seen the seeds of actions cross the minds and souls of a "council of elders" (said in all gratefulness to their lives and existence at this time) two grandmothers spearheading a movement to create safe spaces. Another who took us on her journey writing and blogging to keep us all right there with her while she watched another woman’s dreams shattered as the thick glass ceiling tempered with a millennia of white male privileges seemed reinforced by her opponent and his supporters state after state. Don’t forget to reach out and ask these people what you can do for them and their spouses as a community inundates these women with their own nightmares of history re-lived.
Coming from a family of questionable tolerances, I feared this day (never with the current leadership of dt). I watched the pendulum swing so gloriously, yet swiftly, to the left. Actors, politicians, stars, politician & stars children and childhood hero’s came out, transitioned and championed for the rights of those who could not speak up for themselves. I watched as friends in the entertainment industry faced prejudices over the last year or two that once, even though they were out and proud, would not have faced prior to the Federal Right to Marry was granted to all.
24 hours after I heard the news I saw posts by people who voted for HRC to protect this country, who are now reviled by the riotous manner in which many of the left are handling the results of the election. Incensed by the fact that the leader of the left and HRC herself called for a peaceful transition of power.
12 hours after the election I finally brought myself to really look at FB, where I saw the emotional aftermath of a community not just terrified but already terrorized. Children taunted in schools, faces split open after a gay bashing, a firing for being transgender.
There were posts from Mama Vi to Judy Tallwing McCarthy with the question what do we do now?
Then there was this post.
There were thousands of other posts yet over the last 24 hours my mind continued to spin with one question…. “How should we get ready for what's next?”
Throughout the day I saw calls for protests and videos of marches that closed down freeways and high schools. What’s more is I don’t think those actions are going away anytime soon. As a matter of fact I know they aren’t. What’s worse is I see a generation of young disenfranchised folks who OVERWHELMINGLY VOTE HRC into office, yet once again had their needs wants and desires trampled on by aging white men. A generation of everyone gets a trophy that now is feeling the reality of not winning to an older generation of entitled bullies.
A generation who through this entitlement has I feel, begun to force the changes we’ve seen over the last few years. It was a beautiful strong willed millennial who is responsible for opening my eyes with an unabashed sense of self-worth and I envy their unwavering bravery in standing up to this “ ‘conservative’ omnivore” Mama Hen. My apology to them is to never be that person again and they are a continual inspiration to use the resources at my disposal to better the world for people.
It is this inspiration, this motivation of my inner mama hen wanting to keep this precious little raptor of change safe that brings me to MY solution. “What tools do I have that will or can better this community?”
As the ideas in my head solidified the answers were clear. And I feel strongly that they are the same answers for many who will access to this diatribe. I have the ear of a print newspaper publisher, I run an event and I have a STRONG network of leaders who were around pre-internet, pre-cell phone (coughs pre pagers???).
“But I don’t”, you say... “I’m just me. I’m not a title holder or a producer or a blah blah blah…”. If you’re reading this you have access to use all of this. Every single person who has access to this paper is powerful. You are not alone in your disillusionment, your disgust or your disappointment. Nor are you standing singular in a pit of lions and tigers in your fight for equal rights. If you don’t know HOW to use the tools you have access to, well then that is an issue…and one I can happily help you with.
1) Ask for help. I urge you to take this action and ask with an open heart and then be willing and able to act on the advice you are given. Please don’t be an ask-hole.
2) Network your ideas, and try not to begrudge those that offer advice to change or better your idea. We are all hurting and looking for ways to heal.
3) Take a class/give a class. I will be working over the next few days to create a list of resources for readers to learn about safety in crowds, the how to’s of navigating politics and government, working with organizations like the NCSF and LA&M to preserve rights and history (they go hand in hand kids…if we let people erase our history it’s easier to erase us).
4) I am putting out a call for presenters at Olympus Leather Weekend. There is already a Navigating Change Class Track in place to teach topics like Dealing with Law Enforcement, Personal Safety, Crowd Safety Strategies, and Knowing your rights. I would love for a presenter to speak on non-electronic media protest promotion and organization and Igniting a Crowd.