This entry is part 18 of 26 in the series Blogging from A to Z

All my BDSM heroes are queer.

That may sound like an odd statement for a (mostly) heterosexual man to make, but it’s the truth.

Although this may sound silly, when I first became aware of the “BDSM community”, there was no community.  At least not where I lived.  To the best of my knowledge Davenport, Iowa never had a gay leather bar.  And when you talk about “Old Guard Leather” that’s where the scene came from, it wasn’t a heterosexual community.

The very first book I ever read on BDSM was the Leatherman’s Handbook by Larry Townsend.  It was far from perfect, but it gave me somewhere to go with my own ideas and explorations.

Well, other than the fact it was written for gay men.  So, I had to try and translate the concepts, as best I could, to better work with the female psyche.  I got that part wrong a few times, or so I was told.  If men are from Mars, I figure woman have to be from at least Venus, perhaps even Pluto.  Saturn’s a good guess too, most of the women I know like rings, after all.  But, I digress.

During my “formative” years, in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, when I was first able to begin exploring 24/7 BDSM relationships, my favorite author was named Pat Califia, now Patrick Califia-Rice.  Back in that time period, pre-sex change, Califia was a leather-woman and radical sex-positive feminist.

Some of the fiction Califia wrote is still, to this day, the hottest BDSM fiction I’ve ever read.  Her BDSM how-to book, called Sensuous Magic, was a major influence on how I look at BDSM.  As a queer woman, when she said that she’d rather play with a leather-person of any sex before she’d play with a vanilla woman, I took notice.  That was an attitude I could understand and relate to.  Given a choice between being trapped on a deserted island with a vanilla woman, or a kinky assed leatherman, I’d certainly not choose vanilla.

I’m not positive about proper transgender etiquette, so I’m on a little bit uncertain ground as to how best to say this and be correct.  I believe that Califia-Rice identifies as a bi-sexual man today, certainly though, back when I first discovered her work, she identified as queer, a gay leather woman who played on occasion with all sexes.

Laura Antoniou, creator of the Marketplace series, is my favorite kinky novelist these days.  In a post over at SpiritualBDSM.com, I compared her to Lou Reed (EL James is to Bubblegum Rock as Laura Antoniou is to Lou Reed) and got a mention by Laura on Facebook.  When I met her at IML last spring, that’s how I introduced myself, “I’m the guy who compared you to Lou Reed.”  Dapper and stylish, Laura looks better in a “men’s” three piece suit than most guys I know.  And, I’m sure you’ve already guessed, if you didn’t know already, Laura Antioniou is queer.

Joseph Bean and Guy Baldwin are two more individuals who’s writing has influenced my development as a dominant.  Both are gay.  I’m not exactly sure how Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy self identify, but it could undoubtedly be argued that the brilliant cohabiting coauthors are queer.

my name is mary, I’m a lesbian, I can do anything

The only person I could ever truly describe as a mentor, was a wonderful lady named Mary Helen.  I owe more to Mary than I’ll ever be able to properly express here, on a blog.  For a number of years, until we drifted apart due to distance, she was my best friend.

Of course, I’m sure you’ve figured out the pattern and already guessed.  Mary’s queer.

I’ll never forget the day I met Mary Helen.  I was working as a lead community organizer.  Fighting for social change, I’d risen within the organizing hierarchy to the point I was recruiting and training others.  Mary walked into my office one day for an interview, and promptly announced to me, “My name is Mary, I’m a lesbian, and I can do anything.”

That’s a hell of an introduction, not to mention a pretty big billing to live up to, but Mary did it.  Anything I asked her to do, she accomplished.  She made my life, and my job, so much easier.  At work she was like my right hand.

Then one day, she joined my ex-wife and I for a scene.  Mary and I co-topped BlissfulTorment.  It was flat out fucking glorious!  I’d never worked with a co-dominant before, it was an eye opening experience.

Mary was vocal, she was confident, and while I’ve always prided myself on knowing my way around a woman, my friend Mary really knew her way around a woman.  Blissy had never considered herself to be very bi-sexual, nor submissive at all to another woman.  Not before that.  Within an hour, Mary had Blissy begging to have just a glimpse of her pussy.  Wouldn’t she please pull her shorts aside and give a peek?  Please?

If I’d have been smart, I would have had a notepad out, I’d have been taking notes.  Mary was really that good.  Bliss never did get to see Mary’s pussy that day, neither did I for that matter, but we had her back to play again at our first opportunity.

Mary became our “girlfriend” for the better part of a decade.  She lived with another woman here and there, but it rarely lasted any significant amount of time.  Bliss and I were a fixture in her life, as others would come and go, we were the ones there to help her pick up the pieces.

I was the one she came to when she was a victim of domestic abuse, showing up at my door in the middle of the night, bruised and bloodied to the point of being nearly unrecognizable.  “Mary, how could she?” I cried, determined to make the abuser pay for the crime, offering to go make her former partner look just as bad.  I was enraged.

She just said to me, quite simply, “Michael, I didn’t come to you to ask you to take revenge, I came here because I knew you’d help me heal.”

Despite all the tears, the swelling, the bruising, the blood; despite her injuries, the torn clothes, and all the mess; despite the fact that there wasn’t a fucking scratch on her abuser, I wasn’t even allowed to call the police.

“Really Michael, what good would it do?” she said.  “I come from a marginalized population living in a backass hick town in the midwest.  Calling the goons because another woman beat the shit out of me, calling them for anything short of murder, is only going to make things worse.”

God damn I hated to hear that.  Thinking about it still brings tears to my eyes.  It was one of the worst moments of my life.

You have to understand that the absolute worst feeling in the world to me, is the feeling of being helpless.  I wanted to do something!  I wanted to do anything!  I wanted to beat the crap out of the bitch who’d hurt my friend. I wanted to see her arrested and taken off to jail, and I didn’t fucking well care if I was with her!  I wanted justice.  I wanted something done. ANYTHING!

Mostly, I wanted to believe in a different world, a world where any woman who’d been hurt could call the police.  I had to learn, the hard way, that is not always the case.  That wasn’t true in Belleville Illinois, in 1991  That wasn’t true when Mary knocked on my door at 3 am before collapsing.  And, I know it’s not true in some places in our country still to this day.  That bothers me.

There’s that old saying, the “Serenity Prayer”.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

It was the acceptance part that was the hardest for me. A very difficult lesson for a dominant to learn, not to mention a dominant who was an organizer.  Change?  That’s what I do!  That’s what I was brought to this earth to do!  But some changes happen very slowly.  Some changes don’t happen in this lifetime.  There’s little comfort to that when holding a battered friend, crying together to get through the night.

And I was helpless to to anything but hold Mary in my arms.  When even trying to wipe away the blood off her face with a wet paper towel was too much for either of us to bear, the pain too great, that’s all I could do.  I held my friend.  We cried together.  The world was a very bleak and terrible place to me that morning.

Serafina has heard me say, on more than one occasion, so often that it might be called a “Michealism”‘  I  say that I’ve rarely met a situation that couldn’t be made worse by involving the police.  That’s a little bit of life experience and observation, and a lot of wisdom gleaned from that night with my friend Mary.

We recovered from that moment together.  Life eventually got back to normal.

OK, I say that, but you know, it’s not really true.  The bruises fade, the wounds slowly disappear, or turn to scars, but the memories and emotional scars remain.  I shouldn’t kid myself, nothing is ever really the same after a night like that.  But we went on.  We lived and learned and grew, together and apart.

Mary taught me how how to read a woman’s body language.  Mary taught me how to use a good pick-up line, and how to know who’d be vulnerable to it.  It’s not a skill I’ve ever really used, but the information’s there, I suppose, if I ever need it.

What I truly know about the art of seduction, I learned from her.  Mary taught me massage techniques for relieving a woman’s cramps during her period too.  Mary taught me how to tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue.  Most importantly, Mary taught me how to eat (and treat) pussy like I was stone cold dyke.  That’s a damn fine skill for a (mostly) heterosexual man to acquire.

Yes indeed, her name was Mary, she was a lesbian.  She really could do anything!

And you know what?  Now so can I!

“Q” is for Queer

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