I am still soaring from last week's Stonewall Celebration at the Whitney Museum. Tiona Nekkia McClodden debuted her performance event, Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove, by bringing cruising, whipping, poetry, and an honoring ceremony of leather community members to the art world. I was deeply humbled to be part of of the ceremony.
My words at the event:
Thank you, Tiona. Thank you for continuously championing kink and leather life in the art space. I worked at the Whitney Museum Library back in my college days, when the collection resided on the Upper East Side. I could barely afford the deli food in that neighborhood then. But at night, as a newbie leather punk, I prowled and played in the meatpacking hood, at Hellfire, the Cooler, and MotherFucker. It’s amazing to see leather cruising back on this street.
I owe my life to this community. If I hadn’t found the way of leather, my self cuttings would have slipped too deep to recover. In return, I pay homage to those brave queers who created the traditions of flagging, service, and protocol. Pride was created by those who had the courage to bear the shame.
I want to thank, in particular, Cleo Dubois, the dominatrix who set my demons free, and to the late Fakir Musafar, whose flesh hooks connected me to Quan Yin, the Boddhivista of Mercy.
I want to thank my kink partner- Richard aka manmeat, my leather family, and the entire BDSM, leather, kink community. I wrote and produced Mercy Mistress with the hope of making you proud. I help bring Kink Out Events in service to you, to celebrate our glorious lifestyles.
Queer leather folk and sex workers enrich the NYC art and design world by creating art and/or inspiring artists, yet our communities are rarely recognized as legitimate culture creators and are instead relegated as subculture.
We are not a culture beneath the mainstream.
We are the instigators, the spellcasters, the heralders for true freedom of expression, bodily autonomy, inclusion of intersectional identities, and consent dialogue.
Thank you, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, for affirming this.
And finally, I’ll wrap up by pressing this message:
New York, Decriminalize Sex Work. It’s time.