A fan recently asked: What would be your response if someone told you that you are not living up to their Leather Standards?
This was my second response. (My first was a tad snarky.)
I don’t believe in “the community standards of leather.” Honor, respect, loyalty, courtesy, honesty, whatever…*EVERYONE thinks their community had a lock-down on good traits.* How is “leather” different from any communal group, whether bound by heritage, interest, spiritual belief, or anything else? I’m sure fans of My Little Pony also believe they are honest and honorable, kind, generous and friendly. The Girl Scouts, too. And THEY have cookies.
The “leather community” I see has no shortage of individuals with bad traits, and while it would be lovely to then claim “then they are no true leatherperson!” then I direct anyone saying that to Google “No True Scotsman.” These mythical community standards are laughable in the evidence of every club and organization or event being robbed by one of its officers. By the tolerance for bad behavior, especially when shown by so-called leaders and popular figures. By the hatred and just plain mean-spirited behavior of many kinky people who seem happiest when attacking others, especially from the safety of their computers.
So I think the essential question is flawed. It makes the problem *membership in a community with universal standards which are dictated, understood and acted upon by the membership.* We do not have anything close to that. The real problem is BAD BEHAVIOR. And I don’t care if they’re leather, Jewish, Red Sox fans or members of any other self-defined group. They’re not merely “acting up to the standards of Red Sox fans.” They’re acting badly as humans. So, I’d sidestep the false modifier and confront them – if they are worth confronting – about the real issue. Because there are no leather police to come down on someone and say, “You lied! No more leather for you, mister!” But they’d still be a liar. And that’s the point.