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It’s not just about leather today and just like years gone by; each successive generation defined their own community, cultural norms within the leather community and new protocols.  Now we see dozens of new communities, new sub-cultures within our leather community. Communities of kinksters like rubber, pup play, cosplay and many other choices available among our ever expanding tent.

With LA Leather Pride and Mr. LA Leather contest this month, our community will be exposed to so many options to explore, peruse the various organizations and clubs that will be represented at Off-Sunset Street Festival and partake in many of the play parties around town.  The fetishizing of the many kinks in our community allows welcoming newcomers to explore these variations. Whether it is for social, physical or the eroticism of our fantasies that allow everything to become a form of kink.

unnamedMeet Ali Mustaq, a newcomer to the leather community and also a person who crosses that bridge to other fetish/kink communities. Ali is Mr. Long Beach Leather, a professor of sociology and a Muslim.  In a time when our communities are under attack, young kinksters who embrace a bit of the past and a bit of the future make for interesting times.  Even the contestants for Mr. LA Leather this year are a diverse group of men.

Tell me about your journey through the title holder world specifically do you consider yourself more of a leatherman, part of the kink community, the fetish community, do you have a particular favorite leaning?

Oh gosh, I think I consider myself a leatherman, if we consider the aesthetics and the idea of bdsm, like the whips, flogs, and chains, etc.  But I am also into certain kinds of kink, like red hankie kinds of stuff and occasionally with stuff like electro-play.

We see a convergence in our community between our varied communities like rubber, puppy play, cosplay, etc.  Have you dabbled as a leatherman exploring these other areas our kinksters are embracing?

Yes, I have actually. In Long Beach I have had the opportunity to explore the Furry community. The fact that people are donning suits and exploring their animal side through their kink and it’s just been an amazing trip because there has been so much overlap with them and the people we know like the people in the pup community and the other communities.  I’ve also been looking at the Goth-pansexual community where there is some overlap in the bdsm and the Goth aesthetic.

As a Muslim, who do you see yourself in multiple outside worlds and within our leather community?

Oh, (laughing), think of Aladdin meeting CNN…that’s my life.  It’s a very interesting journey as many people don’t see Muslim as a valued religion, that we are a religion of evil and the religion of terrorists. A religion of this closed off mentality. But then it is interesting that we are fighting off closed minded mentality all the time when you look at place like Peoria or Evangelical communities.

As a sociologist how do you see these dozens of kink communities interconnect with our leather community.

Wow, well there’s a lot going on there, like how people are creating their own social identities, the fact that they are able to create their own identities, how is it that some people are constrained in their own identities over others, how is that pup play is more accessible, how does capitalism and gender work into safe social spaces.  My imagination does just go off when I think about that.

Sometimes we expect too much from our contestants, such as solving world peace or being an outstanding community leader instead of just fucking and having a good time.  Where do you see yourself on this?

Well fucking and have fun is really fun isn’t it? (laughs)  It’s really a combination of both. I mean we are really a representative of the community, but we are also people.  It’s definitely up to the individual person to decide where that journey will take them.  But my background is in community service…but again, my background is in fucking around.  For me it really depends on the titleholder themselves.

Exploring Your Kink at LA Leather Pride

LA Leather Pride allows all of us to explore our communities.  During Off-Sunset you’ll see all kinds of kinksters and traditional leather folks walking around and strutting their own sexual identities.  In a time when there is so many disagreements and discussions about the larger leather community, LA Leather Pride allows us to come together and explore the plethora of kinky erotic identities, clubs, activities and sub-cultures.

Our community is not monolithic today.  There is room for all kinds of folks and fetishes.  We are seeing more and more contests, events, parties and street fairs playing hosts to these groups.  Our scenes are incredibly diverse as are our people.  Their sexual desires, erotic identities, their social families are defined by what they are drawn to.

Social justice ensures that each of our voices are heard even in the era of Trump.  That these voices are embraced, celebrated and protected so we don’t lose them in our active resistance as a community where our rights are threatened.  The convergence of our larger leather community under one tent includes opening our collective arms to these new young explorers of kink.  They will form the many new communities to come.

One such leatherman in our community who has crossed that bridge is Matthew Mullins. A community enthusiast and activist, he has become known as a strong supporter, promoter and major player in the Pup play community including the puppy mosh play called Dog Pound.  He has four titles as Mr. Bullet Leather 2014, SoCal Leather Boy 2014, Mr. West Coast Olympus 2015 and International Geared Up Pup 2017.

DSC_1497There’s a lot of difference between the leather community and the kink community is that one is often sexualized and the other is about socialization, bonding and play.  There’s a set of protocols in leather where kink is a bit more organic. How do you see it?

Yes, it is not as regimented, it is more open.  I really see it more like two sides of the same coin.  When it comes to everything being regimented the kink guys are not into it.  So when you show it, when they see it, then they begin to understand it.  It’s just part of educating them.

I know you are into comics and cosplay.  Is there room in our community to accept the erotic side of cosplay?

I hope that they would because it is hot.  There should be more of tasting the other side.

As your role as a leader in the pup community what is the future you see?

I see it getting bigger and I don’t want them to forget where is started.

With the erotic desires with all the kinksters and sub-cultures within our community, how do you think they express themselves?

I think with the younger generation, they see it and think it looks fun so they want to try it.  It takes them a while to try it, but at that point it about finding what they are looking for.  Pup play is an easy in for them and into the kink community.  They get into it and they can see what they like and enjoy it as their sexual identity begins to form around that.

Both communities are sexual and kinky, what differences do you find that both communities have not been able to cross the bridge together on?

Pups like to have a good time and brush things off.  That’s what they are all about just having fun. It’s the same thing in the leather community as well.  Both communities are stuck in their ways, and when new things are introduced to them, it’s like everything else, it’s scary and weird, makes them nervous.  They don’t always know how to accept it into the things they have already learned.  The best idea would be for everyone on the opposite side is to try it and see what happens. Because that’s what I did, I just kept trying until I found out that I really liked everything.

You are a judge at Mr. LA Leather this year, the class of 2017 is very diverse.  How do you think this class is going to play in the larger community?

Yes, they are very diverse. I think it is a good thing to have such a motley crew.  They have all different kinds of guys…all sorts of people.  I think who ever does win it will be striking, it is a different person from the rest of them.  I think it is a good thing.

 

We all have the same desires, albeit, each of other defining what turns us on.  We are not all too dissimilar from each other, we are more in common than not.  This year brings us a smorgasbord of new ways to explore our intersection of commonalities. LA Leather is a classical concert in leather ala the movies; Mari’s Leather Garden Party, a twist on the tea party; The Assembly, a traditional leather dress code party; CODE, a dance and play party; Aftermath, an after contest play party; Legion, the official dance party, and the Off-Sunset Street Festival.

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