Thursday, August 30, 2012

"American Boys Bill of Rights"

While patrolling the web I came across this poster. It was published in 1947 as a toy add, but much of it applies to my view of what a leather boy is and what a leather boy deserves from the world. So it's a little gun rights heavy towards the end, but it has some elements that I think are missing from the emphasis of boy culture today. It says the following:
We… The Boys of America believe in these OUR RIGHTS: the right to LIBERTY, hard-won by our forefathers ~ the right to HAPPINESS that comes with the growth of a healthy body and mind ~ the right to TRAINING, thoughtfully planned by parents, school and church ~ the right to OPPORTUNITY, to live, learn, play and grow up in the time-honored traditions of a free people ~ and the right to learn to SHOOT SAFELY. We recognize and accept the responsibility imposed by these Rights. But ~ until we are old enough to vote we expect YOU ~ our fathers, mothers and other citizens who elect America’s city, county, state and federal officers ~ to be eternally vigilant that our RIGHTS be not abridged!

There is of course already a "leatherboy's Bill or Rights" on the web. The problem with this item is that it is a revision of the "slave's bill of rights" and has been reworded and repurposed to apply to girls, puppies, and any number of other submissive identities. The old boys Bill of Rights says the following:

1. Every boy has the right to have his body, intellect, and emotions protected by his Dom.

2. Every boy has the right to choose the man whom he serves and to discontinue that service and take his leave without being subjected to physical, mental, or emotional abuse.
3. Every boy has the right to be cared for, disciplined appropriately, and allowed to feel pride in his submission.
4. Every boy has the right to protected sex if he so wishes.
5. Every boy has the right to privacy if he so wishes. No boy can be blackmailed, publicly humiliated, or physically coerced into service without his expressed desire to be so.
6. Every boy has the right to defend himself from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
7. Every boy has the right to consent or not to consent to sexual activities.
8. Every boy has the right to seek refuge, counsel, and advice from other subs and Doms without the expectation of sex, money, or any other service in return.
9. Every boy has the right to a physically and emotionally available circle of friends.
There is a lot of good stuff in this list of Rights. I agree with a lot of it, but it's missing several crucial elements. Personal growth and service are essential elements for boys. As we move through life our views change based on our experiences. Whether we like it or not, this is also true about our leather identities as well. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Too many boys are not taught how to take care of themselves or be responsible members of the society. As a former president of the DC boys of Leather I was always frustrated when other officers would drop a commitment to work a bar night or other event because their Sir had other plans. These events are often planned a year in advance and not a surprise to the boy. I believe that honoring commitments is a crucial part of service, and that any Sir should respect a boys commitments. My successor addressed this problem with a letter to his officer's Sirs/Masters. The letter said the following:
As Your slave/boy is new to the eboard, i thought it appropriate to reach out to You personally as President elect. It is an honor and privilege to serve our club and thus our community and as the oldest, largest and most active boy's club in the world,  there is great responsibility and expectation for the club, its members and thus its eboard. Allowing Your boy/slave to serve is a testament to Your commitment to O/our community and to the club and a demonstration of the strength and integrity of Your leather family.

From personal experience, i know that serving the club and community in a leadership role can present some challenges in service to family. These challenges are not insurmountable (and generally involve conflicting schedules) but do pose significant intra-personal conflict to a disciplined and collared boy or slave.

In this regard, my SIR has been a tremendous help in guiding me in fulfilling all of my commitments to family, club, community and most importantly, self. i will certainly share what i have discovered with the members of the eboard as i mentor our newest leaders and my SIR has offered to be available to You should You have questions or need advice on how best to hold expectations for this commitment to a larger service to community. 

i am sure Your boy/ slave will make You proud as i am confident he will shine in his new role within our community and club. i am proud to serve along side this dynamic eboard and feel this year will be an exciting ride. Look for great things from the boys this year and in the years to come as i look for great things in these emerging leaders. 
Regrettably, the letter didn't work with all of the recipients. Wether the cause be the boy not making his/her Sir aware of the conflict, or the Sir requiring the boy's attendance at his/her event, a failure to honor commitments occurred. This failure is not only bad for the club, but bad for the boy as well.

The DC boys of Leather was founded to be a safe space for boys to be themselves. This "boy space" allows boys to be the mischievous and playful, serve the community, and discuss solutions for the unique issues boys face. A lot has changed in the 14 years since the club's inception. What was once feared to be the formation of "boy unions" where Doms were cut out of the equation has instead been hobbled by the external influence of Doms. While club discussions were once playful and silly, now they are often serious discussions about protocol and rules.

I take commitment seriously, this includes commitment to a D/s relationship. I don't believe a sub should disrespect his/her Dom's rules while honoring other commitments. My issue is that Dom's should respect, and encourage their sub's need to honor external commitments. These commitments are good for the sub.

Boys have always had a potential to do amazing things. The energy we put into our passions are inexhaustible and contagious. We can often also lack focus. This is where the discipline and training of a D/s relationship, boys clubs, and other community involvement can be most beneficial to a boy. I think the two "boys Bill of Rights" can be merged into a better, more well rounded document that goes something like this:
We… The leather boys of the world believe in these OUR RIGHTS: the right to LIBERTY, to respect our minds and bodies and demand that others do the same ~ the right to HAPPINESS that comes with the growth of a healthy body and mind ~ the right to TRAINING, thoughtfully planned by our Doms, our community and fellow boys ~ the right to OPPORTUNITY, to live, learn, play and grow in the time-honored traditions of the boys who came before us. We recognize and accept the responsibility imposed by these Rights. We shall be eternally vigilant that our RIGHTS be not abridged!