Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy _________!

Happy holidays from the Leather Identity Project! This time of year family and friends tend to mean the most to us. It's a time to come together in celebration and hope.

This month I'd like to explore who you are spending the holiday season with. Whether that be with your biological family or the family you've made, this is a time to pull together. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What are you into?

I started this survey as a fun way to explore the prevalence of kinks in the community and explore a number of talking points. Fetishes like "leather," "bondage," and "S&M" were nearly universal, but for many less common and less specific fetishes are what get them to come out in the first place. 

We are often talking about "inviting new people into the community" and how "the leather community embraces individuality," but we have a lot of rules too. Sometimes our "limits" turn off the newbies. 

Over 40% of those polled are into sports gear. It's one of the most popular kinks out there. Fewer than 3% consider it a limit. Given this disconnect why do I frequently hear about how "it's not appropriate." Similar stats are true for rubber and other gear fetishes. I'm not the first to suggest that Leather is gear, and although I agree that it’s HOT, it also has a high cost component. For many people sports gear, lycra, and neoprene are HOT for a lower cost. By limiting appropriate attire we are preventing those new to the scene from coming in at all. Sure, there are events like "Leather Cocktails" and other formal events where you wouldn't want someone in a wrestling singlet or football pads, but the success of events like CODE in DC show the power of inviting everyone out.

"Inviting young people into the community" is often a talking point in conversations. I was fortunate to have two sources of guidance when entering the community, my friend Ruff and the members of the DC boys of Leather. Both taught me that this community is about being yourself, playing safe, and having fun. By expecting a high standard for entry we are providing a disservice to those finding partners online and taking unnecessary risks. If you don't believe they are taking unnecessary risks I invite you to look at the "Safe Sex" data for HIV status in those 20-30.

Kinks are fun! For many this community is one of few places where you can explore them without judgment. I had the benefit of teachers who helped me explore my kinks safely, and I do my best to do the same for others.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Update

This is certainly a busy time for leather folks. There is a title almost every  weekend, and the colder weather makes wearing full leather more fun. Our "What are you into?" data will be coming out soon and the results are fascinating. I'm still debating how best to break it out, but there are some surprises in there.

As you probably already are aware we've launched the "Labels and Identity 2" survey this month as well. I'd like to take some time explaining why we're exploring the labels included in the survey and why others were excluded. As with most things, why not use a venn diagram to shed some light on the situation! This diagram is simplifies gender in the community a bit, but it does explain my dilemma.

One of the things I enjoyed about the "What is a boy?" data was the distinctive difference between how boys saw themselves verses non-boys. I wanted to do the same for other labels as well. Unfortunately that meant that we would not have enough identifying with female labels to create an accurate self image of Mistresses, Madamns, girls, ect. I also did not want to clump Mistress/Master together because they are two distinct identities. My solution to this problem is to allow those identifying with under-represented labels a chance to expand on their identity with a paragraph section of the survey. I'll be exploring these labels in a different way in the near future based on the result. In the mean time the female and trans folks in our audience can help increase awareness of the project by mentioning this site on Facebook, Twitter, and on your website or blog.

Current Surveys
Labels and Identity 2.0 Labels and Identity 2 (Closes 12/31/11): This survey will take inventory of labels and percentage of people using them. The "What is a boy?" survey provided a dynamic image of boys beyond their often submissive role.  The "Labels and Identity 2" survey aims to do the same for other labels.
Relationship Models Relationship Models (Closes 11/30/11): The second and final month  of the "Relationship Models" survey is here. This survey explores several common relationship models out there as well as their dynamic in terms of jealously and roles away from home. What kind of relationship works for you? The results of this survey will help us explore each model in more detail later.

Project Data
Switch Up!Safe SexWhat is a boy?Labels and Identity
I would love to hear from you! My continuing goal is to keep this project interesting, unbiased and interactive. I am a one man show here, so I take your feedback to heart. Overall charts and graphs aren't as exciting as sex sites, but they do help us understand each other better when we're not getting it on.