An Apology To International Mr. Leather And The Leather Community

Eric Barry international mr. leatherI need to apologize. I fucked up. And I’m sorry.

Last week I wrote a piece about my experience at my first International Mr. Leather. The piece was intended to be a discussion about gender identity, transphobia, and what integration looks like as LGBT(IQQA, etc.) rights continue to progress in our society. My experience at IML was referenced solely as a jumping off point for this discussion.

Unfortunately, the piece was hurtful to a lot of people, many who thought that my intent all along was to malign and misrepresent the leather community.

I assure you this was not my intent, but the fact that it did makes me feel awful.

While I stand by the veracity of the events I documented in my original post, I also acknowledge that I have learned a great deal about IML and the leather community, and particularly why my original post was so hurtful.

I moved just a few months ago from San Francisco where I was involved in the sex-positive community. It’s where I started my sex-positive podcast called Full Disclosure, and that is why I was issued the media passes to IML. The podcast is designed to present information about sex and various related communities through an entertaining and sex-positive perspective. That can mean everything from interviewing sex workers (I’m a former sex worker myself) to doing vibrator demos, conducting on-air prostate exams to having discussions about bisexual identity. I consider myself to be an interviewer and host, and not an expert. Fortunately we’ve had some fantastic leaders in the sex-positive community on the show, including Carol QueenDan SavageBuck AngelMichael BrandonNina Hartley, and many more who I’ve learned a tremendous amount from.

And that is why I was attending IML. To learn about the leather community and bring information about it to my community of listeners in an entertaining and informative way. I had no agenda to disrupt the event, and had no intention of writing anything for Huffington Post until the incident on the 46th floor of the Marriott occurred.

After what was largely a very positive and informative weekend at IML, I decided it would be interesting to write about the experience and open up a larger discussion about gender identity, transphobia, exclusivity, etc. – a conversation my friends in the LGBT community and I have engaged in many times. I submitted the article to Huffington Post, and the editors of the Gay Voices section decided to pick it up.

I didn’t realize the magnitude that coverage in the Huffington Post meant to IML. Since I knew about the event back in San Francisco, I had assumed IML had achieved pretty mainstream notoriety, and that an opinion piece I wrote about my experience would hardly be a blip on the relative media radar. I had no idea the impact that the article would have, and how truly excited those in the leather community would be to see some mainstream representation, and how disappointed they’d be to see how that representation took form.

Back home I’ve attended Folsom Street Fair (NSFW) for years, which bills itself as the world’s biggest leather event. In describing it to me, my friends in the Chicago kink community left me with the impression that IML was sort of Chicago’s version of Folsom Street. But I now understand that there are major differences, and understanding these cultural differences is precisely the kind of perspective I was looking to gain in moving here.

I now realize that my article may have in fact been some people’s very first exposure to IML and the leather community, and that that exposure focused on a negative event that was a minor portion of my overwhelmingly positive experience during the weekend. In a society where there’s very little media coverage of the leather community, my contribution to the overall representation was a negative one, something that is particularly painful for those in the community who already feel marginalized by many of their LGBT brethren.

I am truly sorry. I did not mean to set the leather community back in any way, or single them out as some sole perpetrator of discrimination. I wanted to start a community dialogue that would benefit all as a learning experience, which through a rather perverse manner it seems we may have finally arrived at.

I want to continue to learn about the leather community, its rich history, the cultural strides it’s made through years and more, and ensure that those perspectives are fairly portrayed within media. While I am not a journalist, I am an ally, and in that manner I failed last week.

I am deeply passionate about sex-positivity, social justice, LGBT rights and the like, and want to ensure that I’m directing that passion in a way that helps progress us forward. But I fucked up, and I thank those community members who thoughtfully looked to nudge me back on course. I look forward to continuing to work together in the fight for progress with you.
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About Eric Barry

Eric Barry is a Chicago comedian, writer, and creator of Full Disclosure, voted "Best Sex-Positive" podcast by the Chicago Reader. He holds a B.A. in Theater & Performance Studies from UC Berkeley, and his work has been featured on Huffington Post, Cosmo, SF Chronicle, and more. He is currently working on developing a pilot based off his time in the sex work industry.


  1. Jen Laws says:

    Now what are you going to do to make sure this gets equal coverage?

    • I need the help of the community. I had this waiting on HuffPost last night and emailed them again this morning and still no word (I have no control over what they decide to publish/not).

      I didn’t want to wait any longer so I decided to self-publish.

      • Jeff Bowles says:

        Need the help of the community? Really? After that hit-job?

        And you hopped onto the “everyone is transphobic” bandwagon to sell your point?

        Those are all Al Sharpton tactics, including the irresponsible and inaccurate reframing of something that was in no way what you described, for shock value.

        • Ugh, Jeff, calm down. You’re embarrassing yourself.

          • No, he’s not. The original article was based on a complete faux pas of Eric Barry’s, one which he has yet to actually apologize for despite this ham-handed attempt at damage control which completely failed to address the main point of the criticisms he received. He brought a cis woman–as far as I know, not a transitioning transman, not a guy in drag, not an intersex or genderqueer person, but a cisgendered woman into an explicitly male-only event. Then, when asked to leave, he (according to his own article, anyways) tries to argue that the man asking him to leave has bigoted or transphobic views of what constitutes masculinity, and all the while it fails to dawn on him that the very act of criticizing that implies that his cis female guest is somehow not cis female, which is disrespectful to her.

            I don’t blame her, it sounds like she had no clue what she was getting into or why it was a faux pas. As far as I’m concerned, she’s blameless in all this, but the article started with a muddy premise and by the time it got to their exclusion, it was at best cringe-worthy and at worst (and it was quite bad) it was offensive.

            Perhaps worst of all is that this apology doesn’t address that in the slightest. I can understand why he would be embarrassed, but he should admit it was a mistake and that it won’t happen again and move on already, he shouldn’t pussyfoot around the issue at hand while trying to reassure everyone that he’s totally LGBT friendly while at the same time disrespecting our right to have the very desires–exclusive desires–that distinguish us from heterosexuals.

            I don’t need to hear about how he went to IML to “learn” about the community or a big long teary-eyed apology about how he didn’t mean to hurt people’s feelings, that’s what someone does when they have their fingers crossed behind their back, or when they don’t actually understand what it is they did wrong. I don’t think he had bad intentions when he went to IML, I don’t even think he had bad intentions when he wrote the article, I just think it was a sloppy error on his part and he should have let it go, and that’s what the criticism of his piece is about, his actions at the party and his conclusions from that, not his original motives.

      • Eric,

        I find both articles very interesting and important topics of discussion. The problem is that at this point, with events so highly sexualized, is that you get two different endgame expectations from people. One goal is that of unity and acceptance, while the other is to have a fantasy fulfilled. The latter is only interested in what is sexually appealing to them. Neither are ‘wrong’, they are simply after different kinds of experiences. The inevitable conflict between these two mentalities is where IML becomes challenging.

      • Michael Juhlin says:

        No offense, but you blasted the group of people I consider my family, and now you want my help in saving face? Your article looked like shameless self promotion at the expense of some of the most accepting folks around, and your apology (published on your own blog) looks like a further attempt to garner fame by drawing attention to your own web page.
        You had an opportunity to write anything you wanted to about IML, Your information about the actual event consisted of one sentence, and dismissively called the event “beauty pageant-esque.”
        Shame on you for exploiting the leather community that I love, and shame on HuffPost for giving you a bully pulpit to spread divisiveness within the larger gay family we all belong to.

    • Michael Juhlin says:

      Jen. I just wish he would go away and let our community take care of itself. He used us, Jen, to get some press coverage. Let him have the serving he took from our table and not give him another slice.

  2. Roger Klorese says:

    You’re missing the point. The point is that you entered a private room party, where people should have every right to invite or disinvite anyone at all for any reason, and tried to hold that private space — which is NOT the event itself or one of its activities — to standards that are appropriate to the public event but not to a private one.

    It is like — no, perhaps worse than, since it was in no way public — expecting a bathhouse to admit women any time they chose to attend.

    • Seraphina says:

      I agree with Roger 100%. I am female and a lesbian and have always felt extremely welcome at male-oriented leather events. I would never in a million years dream of entering into a space that was labeled “men only” without the express consent of the people involved. And, if asked to leave, I would leave abruptly and apologetically. End of story.

      As a person who claims to be an ally and who purports to represent a sex positive viewpoint, it shocks me that you are seemingly unaware of the rules of consent in situations like the one you put yourself in in that hotel room at IML.

      Also, as apologies go, this isn’t great. You need to signal boost the hell out of this in order to make it really mean anything, because you painted the entire IML event (and leather in general) in a really terrible light with what you wrote. What you wrote here doesn’t read as an apology. It reads as a long-winded justification. Not good enough.

      • I really have to agree here. This apology reads as “I feel bad that I made others feel bad.” Not that “I wrote something that was a bit misleading and maligning, and that upon reviewing events in hindsight now, I jumped to conclusions I perhaps shouldn’t have.” You even state that you stand by the original article, yet here you are apologizing because feelings were hurt, not because anything that you stated was wrong? If nothing else, you have a great start on a political career with non-apologies like that.

    • bootblack_tobi says:

      Mark me as another woman who doesn’t mind that the leathermen have their own space.

      And I’m angered because I have been invited to events because I do my best to walk the leather path and I’m gonna go with they can see my spirit because they welcome me. I never expect or demand to be there or invited. I am grateful and gracious. And like another commenter if asked, I would quickly leave and not have hurt feelings about it.

    • John Dorrance says:

      Exactly, Roger. Furthermore, private/public distinctions aside (I don’t think they’re relevant to this point), he brought a female guest to an event which turned out to be a gay-male sex party (I’m willing to believe they didn’t know it was a sex party when they went), they hung out for five minutes, someone asked them to leave, and it still sounds like he thinks it was unfair that they were asked to leave.

      Quick quiz: you are invited, off-the-cuff, to attend a party. You bring a woman, and discover upon arrival that it’s a male-male sex party. Do you: a) not enter at all, recognizing that your companion would be out of place; b) enter, but quickly become uncomfortable and leave, or leave upon detecting discomfort in your companion; c) stick around, hoping not to interfere, and leave as gracefully as possible when inevitably asked to do so; d) stick around and cop an attitude when asked to leave; e) stick around, cop an attitude, and write an angry blog post condemning the host; f) stick around, cop a ‘tude, write a post condemning an entire community; or g) stick around, cop a ‘tude, write a post condemning an entire community, and sell that post to Huffington?

      Motherfucker here went all the way to G. The depths of cluelessness still being displayed here are dumbfounding. This is the height of obliviousness to the desires and comfort of the people around you – total inability to see a situation from another’s perspective – in short, Romney-caliber buffoonery. This guy has outed himself as a complete Nimrod.

  3. Kj Nichols says:

    May I suggest that the next time that you try to highlight “transphobia”, you may just want to interview some transpeople who have attended IML for their experiences.

    I, for one, found IML to be an incredibly affirming event as a transman.

    • International Mister Leather 2010 is a transman, and his win was wildly celebrated across the whole leather community. I think the kind of transphobia you seem to suggest is inherent in the leather community, or IML culture, is based on anecdotal (and frankly, unrelated) evidence, which call into question the methods you implement in drawing any wholesale conclusions about the queer community at large and its myriad subcultures. You almost seem to suggest that if gay men, despite all the exclusivity to which they have been subjected through the years, aren’t willing to include women in, ya know, sex, then they’re being unfairly exclusive and hypocritical. I suppose as a gay man, by having sex with exclusively men, I’m just naturally sexist. Considering again this is International “Mister” leather, I, having attended, was very impressed at the number of women in the crowd and also in participation at events like “woof camp”. The conclusions you drew were based on faulty premises and faulty logic, and I think you should earnestly work towards either a retraction or an explanation in the HuffPost. I’m not exactly sure what that piece was even trying to accomplish, if not to simply smash across the face the whole leather world out of acute vindictiveness. Your apology above was thought out and cogent, and I only wish the original article had been approached with the same degree of temperance.

      • My post above was intended for the original writer, not as a reply – I’m sorry it was written accidentally in a reply box. :-)

        • Kj Nichols says:

          Lol no worries Adam, I got that and was cheering you on as I read it!

          • Craig West says:

            Bloggers can’t be bothered with “research”. That’s what those stuffy old “journalists” do.

    • Rich F. says:

      Hell, Mr. International Leather 2010 was awarded to Tyler McCormick, also a transman.

  4. Jeff Bowles says:

    ” It’s where I started my sex-positive podcast called Full Disclosure, and that is why I was issued the media passes to IML. ”

    Don’t count on them making that mistake again. You were not very responsible as a journalist, and should be allowed back.

    • Belladona Logan says:

      Oh but according to his twitter feed he is not a Journalist and never claimed to be one.

      • Craig West says:

        No, he’s a blogger. And people need to realize that bloggers don’t bother doing research, they are usually untouched by the brush of history. Like this twit not bothering to Google “trans” and “IML” together to discover what happened only FOUR YEARS AGO in 2010.

        So many blog articles just sound to me like millennials nattering on about the echo chamber they live in. Because they don’t blog about FACT, they blog about what they FEEL. And he FELT like being an ass, and he FELT butthurt when the bouncer correctly threw them out.

  5. Jeff Bowles says:

    (Damn.) I should say, you should “NOT” be allowed back.

    That hit-piece was reckless, mean-spirited, and rife with falsehood and innuendo.

  6. Craig West says:

    Perhaps your research should have included a quick Google search for “transman” and “IML”.

    You know nothing about real leather culture from going to Folsom St. Fair, you passed judgement on a culture you knew nothing about, and your beef was with a single individual. You need to recognize and admit these things.

    • Loki Sorensen says:

      While he googles that, maybe he should look up ‘apology’, too. “I’m sorry you took it the wrong way” is not an apology.

      • Jeff Ahpook says:

        Exactly. And he didn’t simply “focus on a negative event” – he caused that “negative event” to happen with his ignorance and entitlement.

        • Craig West says:

          I read that carefully, he didn’t actually say “I’m sorry you’re stupid enough to get upset” like they usually do, he said he was sorry, but that he didn’t refute any of the things that happened. So it’s not QUITE the classic “unpology” you get from politicians, but the fact is he’s too ignorant to even understand what he’s apologizing for. It’s not like he’s been educated and has now had the “AHA!” moment and is apologizing for his previous lack of understanding. No, he’s STILL ignorant, and is just apologizing because so many people told him that bringing a woman to a gay male orgy is ridiculous.

          But I don’t believe he went in in good faith. The fact that his girlfriend asked “How do you define a man?”, when she CLEARLY could not qualify by ANY definition, shows that she was trying to get him material for his “IML is transphobic” article he was already planning on writing. He went in looking for trouble. And he caused it.

          To think that IML is like Folsom St. Fair because “my friend in Chicago described it that way” shows the critical difference between bloggers and journalists. Journalists actually do research on their topics. Bloggers just write what they FEEL.

      • GreggySF says:

        In fact I found the “apology” to be more condemning of gay men (not just IML and trans but man-on-man sex in general) than the original hit piece. It’s preachy and finger wagging with “we are so much better than you” and “I’m interested in being ‘sex-positive’ because you creatures are so fun to observe in your mating rituals”.

  7. Jack J. says:

    What made you think that it was ok to bring a woman to a gay orgy, and why were you surprised when she was asked to leave? Are you really that naive?

  8. Nice pirouette. Please explain how exactly you f’d up. Please explain the misrepresentation and please explain how your lack of knowledge of the leather fetish community and your article, in tandem, angered the community of which you know so little about.

    It’s one thing to say you messes up and quite another to explain how you did in detail.

    One thing we do in the leather fetish community is hold ourselves to account.

  9. david-sf says:

    I am sorry it was clear that this was an opportunistic desire to create a story.
    I will lay it out for you here as I am almost completely certain you wont post this comment.
    While you may have never intended on wedging a story and bias from your IML experience you
    certainly did not hesitate to send it to huffpo to publish one.
    You found ways & means to get more…..
    More attention at any cost.
    ( you know for the greater good i.e gender inclusive politics and inclusion) “eye roll”
    Without thought of your actions or how they affected the community.
    How about apologize to the guys that threw the party…..
    you remember the ones that publicly told the truth about what happened at that
    you crashed for a story.
    Look nice try but It would serve you better to be more honest rather than bat clean up.
    Your apology was graded an F. by many in the leather community already this morning.
    Even if you did not go in with this intent you saw a place to create a story and set one up.

    If you are truly a sex positive person you would not use those tactics taken from the textbooks
    of cable news networks and tabloids.
    you could have written a well informed opinion or a real experience to share but then
    that would not get you the attention you sought, and found doing it this way.
    The 1st lesson in the Kink leather community is to be true to who you are.
    If that comes with some shortcomings ( we all have them) be ready to take heat, but at least be honest
    or do not respond
    a true amends is to change the behavior.

  10. J Smith says:

    What’s howlingly obvious is that you set out, with an agenda, to try and find, or failing that, create controversy where none existed. This makes you an IRL troll.

  11. This isn’t about what you hoped to do. It is about what you did do.

  12. Um, with all due respect, this is what happens when a straight guy brings a woman to a gay male orgy. You know, a place where gay men are sucking cock and fucking each others asses. A place where gay men would likely be turned off by the sight of boobies and pussy. It is not misogynist nor sex negative for a gay man to not want to have sex with or around a woman. Seriously, wtf were you thinking?

  13. Erik Will says:

    Eric – I am afraid your apology misses several points. The one I will highlight is an extension of one echoed by several prior comments… the fact that you did a bad thing for someone who claims to have lived and breathed in the sex positive culture of san francisco: you dropped someone who was brand spankin’ new and clearly outside the target audience into an orgy. What you did was not only a disservice to the person you were allegedly in care of, but non-consensually violated the safe space of that party for the other guests. Whether or not you claim ignorance of that party’s target market doesn’t excuse you. You opted in to an adult oriented event and your claimed background should have given you the skills to figure out whether or not your behavior was appropriate. It shows questionable judgement on your part. I wouldn’t trust a bottom to you without some serious soul searching and ownership of your mistakes.

  14. What was so bad about Eric’s editorial piece in Huffington? It IS the reality of the event. Sadly, what happens on the floors above the event ARE in fact the reality of the event. Kudos to you, Eric Barry. Thank you for bringing to light the realities of the weekend.

    • Seraphina says:

      No they’re not. They are private happenings not involved with the event at all. The fact of the matter is that he shouldn’t have even been in that room, never mind how presumptuous it was of him to be offended that they would let his hetero privilege just waltz through the door to *their* hotel suite when he brought his lady friend around.

      And as for what’s bad about his piece, he just put IML out on the radar with that article and made them look like a bunch of transphobic, woman-hating assholes. That does an immense amount of damage to the leather lifestyle.

      No kudos for him. He shot himself in the foot with this one.

      • So IML is put on the radar! YAY! And if you read the article from Huffington, you’ll see that he was INVITED to the party – so him being PRESS/MEDIA to begin with, the invitee should have thought twice about the invitation to his 46th floor orgy.

        All of us in LGBT community, no matter what specific affiliations we align ourselves with, need to become more accepting in general.

        • Seraphina says:

          No. No yay. He picked something totally unrelated to the actual event to report on. IML is on the radar as being transphobic and exclusionary, which it categorically is not.

          Being accepting is all well and good, but it absolutely not the job of an all male gay sex party to invite a woman. They have the right to only fuck/be fucked by/be seen fucking by whomever they choose. And if the person who invited them didn’t have the authority or was overridden by the actual “owner” of the space (i.e. the one renting the suite), it’s their prerogative to kick them out.

          It’s all about consent. Consent consent consent.

          • While I agree of the importance of consent, I’d also like to stress the importance of respect. Not only did he bring a woman to a male only play party, but he expected her to be welcome there. And when she wasn’t he felt the need to slam the entire event, and the entire leather community. He walked into that room with total disregard for the rules of the party, the people there and the people throwing the party. If he had the slightest bit of respect for this community he claims to want to understand so badly then he might have taken a moment to think about his actions and if they were appropriate or not. I’m male and if I saw a room full of women getting it on I would know immediately that I’m not welcome there. If I walked into a heterosexual orgy and saw men and women going at it like rabbits I would know that taking my boyfriend in there and having him go down on me might make some of the other guests feel uncomfortable. Not everyone who is an ally to the gay community wants to watch us have sex and as much as I love my straight friends I really don’t want to watch them have sex either. So why did he feel it was appropriate to waltz into this party with a woman and expect her to be welcome? Because he clearly has no respect for this community. Can he be forgiven? Sure. Can he learn from this experience? Of course he can. But it’s going to take more than a passive aggressive half apology to do so. Eric, my challenge to you is to make the dialogue that you wanted to create be your own with the people you’ve offended. Learn about why this was not appropriate and be open to discussion about it.

        • As a journalist who has covered IML for most of the past ten years, I can say that the press pass is not an all access ticket. It SPECIFICALLY does not cover private parties. And as someone who has been a journalist for most of the past 20 years, I would have NEVER presumed that a private party, being held by a private individual in his room, would ever be a subject of reporting. Seriously. They were not ejected from all of IML but from a private sex party. Does this mean we can all come to your house and watch you have sex like a tourist?

        • MICHAEL R says:

          Actually Todd, the idea that being press means you’re allowed to crash any private party you like is the sort of thing a person who has never been press would say. And I have to wonder if, when he was “invited,” he was invited by the actual room host (which I doubt, since he was asked to leave) and if he told the inviting person, “Is it OK if I bring by shy female friend who’s interested in BDSM so we can stand around and gawk?” Doubt it, somehow

    • Jasun M says:

      No. Sorry, but he went there to write about IML and instead took a few goofy pictures of him goofing around with weird sex toys, a picture of himself with a man brandishing a knife and then called the contest “a beauty pageant.” He then left IML and crashed a private party and since his female-identifying friend was told “this is a private party for gay men,” decided that he’d write a piece about how IML hates women.

      What makes it even more obvious is the fact that he refers to his friend as female, as “she” but when asked to leave, plays that obviously antagonistic “well, how do you know she’s not a man… how do you define man anyway” game.

  15. As a leatherdyke, I found your original article and this “apology” offensive, misguided and completely out of touch with the queer leather community. My first impression, upon reading the original piece, was that you did a huge injustice to your “female friend” by putting her in the position you did. You obviously learned nothing about the queer leather community while in San Francisco. You might want to stick to what you know and refrain from publishing any further National Geographic moments where you venture into the unknown looking for natives to exploit.

  16. It is a weak apology. If your from the SF area and have attended Folsom Street Fair or Dore Alley Fair you know that there are those who are looking for any excuse to shut these events down. Your piece feeds straight into the jaws of the “right wing”, giving them more ammunition. Many people in the fetish community are working hard to legitimize our practices as “main stream” and not something “weird” or “sick”. To many fetish people struggle with keeping their public and private lives separate for fear of loosing jobs and family. Your article only emphasizes the gay men are promiscuous sex hounds…If your a real journalist out to do real research and reporting…you need to step up your game!

  17. I just read both articles. Your apology does ring hollow. You knew exactly what you were doing when you went there. Your credibility is destroyed for me.

  18. Apologies mean nothing and I don’t really believe you. For someone who claims to be ‘sex positive’, your article was anything but positive. The article was written with an agenda to find an enemy where none exists. Even worse you spun real concerns that should be considered into a judgment without finding. This is the worst kind of journalism IMO. Your apology is empty and a veiled attempt to save face.

    If you want those you’ve harmed to believe your sincerity then put action to words and work to undo the harm you have caused.

    • Jasun M says:

      A “sex positive” person would NEVER have described a gay sex party as “about 150 bodies crammed into the suite, doing pretty much everything your imagination will let you.”

      That’s language I’d expect from Focus On The Family or The Family Research Counsel. That’s language I’d expect from anti-gay crusaders like Pat Labarbera or Linda Harvey. That’s not “sex positive” language. That’s to create the idea of a bunch of sex perverts in a big pile doing things so horrible he can’t say it… he’ll just leave it to “your imagination.”

      The fact that he then went to antagonize the host with “well, how do you know she’s not a man” tells us that he just went there to cause shit. And he did.

      But he’s not welcome back and I hope he doesn’t make the mistake of going to Pride Day or Dore Alley or Folsom, too. He’s not sex positive. He’s a troll.

  19. Look, I get it. You’re trying to apologize to a group of people you really maligned and hurt. But seriously, this was NOT the way to do it.

    1. Apologize to the hosts of the party you crashed. Anything that happens outside of the “official events” of the weekends is by invitation only, and you should not have been at that party with or without your female guest.

    2. Apologize to all the women who WERE at IML and who feel represented by the leather community in general and who have worked tirelessly to make sure that women are respected in the leather community. For example, did you know that First Shine in the bootblack competition is always WOMEN in the chairs? (did you know there was a bootblack competition? do you know what a bootblack is?)

    3. Apologize to all the trans men who are at IML every year competing for IML and for IMBB– specifically, apologize to Tyler who was IML 2010 and is trans.

    4. Apologize to your female friend for putting her in a really uncomfortable position and giving her a false view of the leather community. You failed BIG TIME at giving her an introduction to Leather, to the Chicago community, and to IML. Perhaps taking her to the IMsL/IMsBB Women and Trans* meet and greet would have been a better way to introduce her?

    5. Apologize to everyone who read your piece and now has the wrong idea about IML and Leather.

    I could go on and on, but that would be a good start.

  20. Since you seem unaware of what an apology is, let this leather woman who has not only been welcomed, but celebrated at International Mr. Leather give you a little hint.

    First, you clearly acknowledge what you did.
    “I went to IML unaware of what the official and unofficial activities were, bringing a fellow novice, without any advance research on the attendees or history of the event. I assumed it was exactly like the one other large event I know, and clearly, was wrong. Because of my misconceptions and lack of research or common sense, I caused an awkward and unnecessary confrontation which I then wrote about in a major media outlet as indicative of a large, cultural flaw in the entire event, and the larger men’s leather community.”

    Then, you say you’re sorry. “I apologize, most sincerely, for misrepresenting the event and the community as misogynist and exclusionary, and for conflating one individual’s comments regarding an event not created or sponsored by IML as an indictment upon the entire men’s leather community. I apologize for not doing proper advance research, and for not contacting official representatives of the event for comment before publishing my article.”

    Then, you offer or explain exactly what you will do to make things better.
    “I have issued a retraction/revision to The Huffington Post, and will also cross post it to my personal media. In addition, I have reached out to people offering to accompany me to some other events to acquaint me with the history and mores of the wider leather and kink communities. I look forward to learning more, and being able to more accurately depict both my personal experiences and observations and actual facts in any future essays or articles.”

    And then…finally…you don’t do it again. Ever. But until you cover the first few steps, what you have are some loose explanations, not an apology. The damage is done, the harm remains. In the grand scheme of things, it probably doesn’t matter a lot. IMl will continue to go on, women will continue to attend – and they’ll party down at every official event, feel welcome as guests and shoppers, staff, vendors and friends, audience and even entertainment; transmen will continue to compete – and win! – and men will do nasty things with other gay men at private parties as their right.

    • Mike Tattersall says:

      I agree, it reads as justification, not an apology. I do not mean to offend in that description. If your purpose was to be sensationalist, you have succeeded. If your purpose was to be educational, you appear to fall far short of competent.

      Now, since everyone is on the attack, and many of us are aware an attacked ego does not back down, nor acknowledge errors of commission AND omission, we have a responsibility to ensure that you, Eric, are shown the distinct cultural differences between Gay Leather, and the more widespread BDSM fetish adherents. There IS a huge difference. To begin, might I advise you to read :Laura Antoniou’s “The Killer Wore Leather,” (Cleis Press, 2013). While it is a lighthearted poke at both communities, it is a very good introduction for you to see WHY we are, so many of us, sorely pissed at the misrepresentation we suffer in your HuffPo piece.

      As for an apology, it needs to be heartfelt. We just do not see that in your writing.

      Mike Tattersall,
      Producer, National Capital Leather Pride
      Ottawa, Canada.

    • Douglas Connors says:


      Great post…

      A proper apology always requires:

      1. Saying one is sorry
      2. Saying for what precisely one is sorry
      3. Recognizing the harm caused to others
      4. Offering to make amends (then following through)
      5. Proving one is sorry by never repeating the offensive behaviour.

      I learned that the hard way.

      MUCH respect to you,
      Douglas Connors
      Mr Leather Ottawa-Outaouais 2003
      Mama’s LeatherTigger

  21. Charles May says:

    Why apologize for reporting the truth? Just because people did not like it does not make it any less truthful.

    • David-sf says:

      Creating a story where there were no story is not the truth. Setting up a situation to malign a community & align yourself with a current hot button issue is not the truth.
      It’s a fabrication without a moral compass. I cry for attention a seeking of hits on a website or listeners to a podcast.
      If that is the type of truths you seek you can tune into any leaning biased “news” station. For that.

    • MICHAEL R says:

      Trying to turn a private sex party that he and his clueless female friend were asked to leave into an example of “transphobia” and “misogyny” is not, in fact, truthful.

    • Demanding that people have sex for a third party’s edification is rapey.

    • Douglas Connors says:


      In order to report the Truth, one FIRST must have enough knowledge of the subject to be able to recognize the Truth.

      This was clearly not the case in this instance.

      Hence, the apology.

      It really is that simple.

  22. Jim Talbot says:

    I’m a bit skeptical of the level of sincerity of your apology… What you wrote was very hurtful toward the leather community. You wrote with out first thinking things through. Some of the things you wrote were in my opinion just down right Catty. It makes me wonder If you are really sincere or just doing this as a PR campaign.

  23. WilloSF says:

    I tried to comment on the original article but as of today HuffPo, where I have an account, will only let people post under their FB account, which I have locked down. Accountability for commenters is good. If only they’d apply it to contributors.

    So much about the article is offensive and wrong in so many ways. Salacious for salacious sake, and dripping with ignorance and insults. The apology makes it worse for its insincerity and bro-level BS.

    And I’m sorry, but what the hell? You went to a private sex party near an event but not OF an event and extrapolate from THAT prejudice of an entire community? It was a private room of people having sex with whom they want to. I.e. not you, not your friend. And you’re calling out anti-trans a group who gave their highest title to a transman? What sort of moron takes a straight woman to a private gay sex party? By the way, all those lesbians having their parties aren’t just waiting for a man to show up to make it hotter. A woman shouldn’t take you there either. What damage have you done to the community, the event, and to the actual, good discussion of bias with this trash hit piece fabricating scandal and begging for clicks? Any credibility you may have hoped to retain is shredded by your choice of illustrative photographs. That belies any notion that you had any intention of honest writing about IML.

    For someone who bases his work on being “sex-positive,” it offends me how much actual damage you have now done to a good community, and on a national scale.

  24. Dipsey Doodle says:

    “I had no agenda to disrupt the event, and had no intention of writing anything for Huffington Post until the incident on the 46th floor of the Marriott occurred.”

    Ah, the incident on the 46th floor. Sounds like a movie title. The incident that you created by crashing a gay party with your straight self and your shy, female friend. Oh, that’s right – you are a comedian. Silly us.

  25. Keith Redmond says:

    That “apology” was as half-baked as the original article.
    Your level of self awareness, street smarts, and common sense do not seem to match up with your lengthy and varied “sex positive” resume/credentials.
    Perhaps you should gather a few more years of “sex positive” life experience before you submit more of your journalistic abortions for public viewing.

  26. RoughRugger says:

    You don’t sound sorry, you sound sorry you got called out. How the hell do you get off calling yourself “sex positive” with such a staggering ignorance of some of the most basic rules & common sense courtesies surrounding sex?

    1) People…male, female, trans, gay, straight, bi…are entitled to have sex OR NOT with whomever they choose. NO MEANS NO…and you don’t get to try to guilt trip someone for not wanting you there, whatever their reason.
    2) An orgy is not a sex show, it’s not a strip club, it’s not a porno. The folks playing are not there to put on a show for you. If you’re not there to play, go away.
    3) Gay men tend to prefer to have sex with other men. (I know that’s a shocker.) A straight, non-participating man walking into a gay orgy is bad (and rude) enough…bringing a woman into that? That’s just beyond the pale. Where did you even REMOTELY get the idea that this was OK? Many/most gay men don’t even want to see boobs in their porn, much less walking into the room where they’re trying to fuck. I expect you’d’ve gotten pretty much exactly the same reaction if the two of you had walked into a lesbian orgy with your straight privilege pinned to your sleeve.
    4) Your friend is shy, reserved, and less than well-versed about leather & BDSM and you take her to an orgy?? Are you NUTS??

    Seriously dude, trying to learn about the leather community is a great thing…but when you KNOW you don’t know what it’s all about, trying to act like it’s someone else’s fault when you cross boundaries is just asinine…and painting an entire event & associated community in the colors of your own stupidity is just all kinds of wrong. You ought not just be sorry, you ought to be ashamed.

  27. Dear Eric Barry

    1) I am not “hurt” or “shamed” or “sad” , I am angry and disgusted, by your ignorant Clickbait bullish!t “blog” and your consequent shallow wallowing displays, therefore:

    2) FREE OFFER I am offering you, free of charge, a 48 hour, all-inclusive stay at My playspace (cuffed and chained) under My personal care, where I will Safely and Completely, (non-sexual) take you to visit the demons of your unconscious agendas and allow you to completely and deeply apologize so that you may move forward as a man with balls.
    — This will be far deeper into your consciousness than you have ever dared to look, DOH!

    3) FURTHER After, if you still think you are worthy, you may write extremely well researched and peer-reviewed articles on:
    a) “Sacred Men’s Space”
    b) BDSM as a spiritual choice and exploration
    c) The history of Leather, Leathermen
    d) Leather as an expression of freedom
    e) Mens Mythopoetics
    d) Neo-tribalism and Homosexuality
    f) Men’s intentional communities

    Wouldn’t it be cool if you actually did this, dive into your fears, look and learn authentically and grow the fcuk up – even just a tiny bit?

  28. PapaDavid says:

    Mr. Barry (and I use that honourific loosely):

    You may just want to re-evaluate your value within the realm of even-handed journalism. Dan Savage just weighed in on your account of your IML antics, and he’s called bullshit on it.

    And so have I. And this “apology”? Yeah … Nope. I hope you don’t have any imaginations on ever being a bartender, because this fluff you threw together and peppered with the word “apologize” is so watered-down that, were it a drink, it would end up in your face.

  29. Rubberwilli says:

    I’m gonna say, I (as a gay, bio male, rubberist) have been in fairly constant and intense contact with Eric for close to 48 hours now, as have others in the community who reached out to him privately and personally. I’ve seen a horribly written, unresearched and damaging essay portray events that I do not doubt actually happen. I;ve seen him misconstrue the context for those two events as only an noob could possibly do. And I’ve read an apology, which although i think it has flaws, states up front in his own language “I fucked up.” While he may not fully grasp every aspect of HOW and the SCALE of his fuck up, he knows he was in the wrong. He knew he needed to apologize as the right thing to do and he acknowledged that he’s learned a lot and is still learning through this fiasco.(Including what a proper apology would look like to some people)

    I and others have taken him to task on his assertion that he wants to learn and .frankly in my private communications with him, I’ve seen nothing to refute that. He’s overwhelmed, confused, and upset that he’s caused this huge turmoil and that he’s become the focus of physical threats and the target of written attacks as only the age of the internet can facilitate. I say this not as an excuse but a statement of fact and context. He needs an ally to guide him through the leather community and specifically the gay ;leather community to teach him over time our history, our progress and our continued struggles as well as why an ally is always by definition outside of the community and cannot speak as a member of the community. And yes it would have been much better if he brought a gay or trans person to IML as his guide to learning about and opening a dialogue on gender and the politics of inclusion/exclusion in the leather community, but he didn;t.

    So, I’ve set the stones down and instead focused on dialogue and education. We’re planning an excursion to the Leather Archives and Museum which I don’t perceive he knew about or understood what it was, and he seems genuinely excited and open to learning from that experience. He’s flawed, I’m flawed. And though our private discussions have seemed genuine, I may meet him in person and find I’ve been bamboozled, and I may change my mind then. But in the meantime I’m gonna try and move him forward in a one on one setting out of the spotlight. I think it would be nice if we could all resume the march forward.

    That’s just my two cents and your milage may vary.

    • Belladona Logan says:

      Rubberwilli why are you white knighting for him after he refused the same offer of education from a Leatherwoman and IML attendee (and IMBB volunteer) prior to this blowing up in his face? He made his bed in part by refusing to accept responsibility for his actions and take steps toward making amends. .

    • david-sf says:

      I worked the door at the leather market at IML this year and met Eric.

      FYI My entrance was directly in front of the LA&M and I directed him there myself.
      I even told him to seek out Chuck Renslow.

      If he truly wanted that perspective he had it in front of him all along.

      He effusively and in an unscrupulous manner sought out his story.
      When he could not find the one he knew would get published he set one up.

      Forgiveness is easy. His action were easily transparent after all the facts came out from the party promoters.
      An ally is not found in a news-cycle sorry that takes deeds.

      It was a Blog filled with deceit sensational pics and he sought out all of this attention.
      When and if he could ever admit that then I would give him a chance, otherwise its all fluff.

      FURTHERMORE …….why is it that every time somebody is taken to task about writing inflammatory rhetoric they have to “PROCLAIM!!” or better yet manipulate others to proclaim that the feel their safety in jeopardy.
      I call BS right here right now.

      We are just giving him another sandbox to play in.
      Frankly he can’t put the genie back in the bottle only time and effort can do that.

      He has already gotten far more attention than he deserves…. It is exactly what he was looking for.
      I am happy to forgive him and forget about his actions.
      He should ask to have his story recanted on HUFFPO. right away and be accountable instead of hiding behind a loosely worded apology that only dug him in deeper.

    • Douglas Connors says:


      Good on you and BRAVO! for your statement!

      It takes an immense amount of courage to eat crow alongside a slice of humble pie, and to do so in a public forum.

      So many people don’t own up to the fact “they’ve fucked up”.

      In this case, this person did… and for that, he should be commended, not be the subject of a pile-on.

      As you state, he might not be aware of the scale of his “fuck up”, but so considering the uninformed aspect of his initial article, could one ALSO reasonably expect him to grasp that concept on the first try?

      Though many have found his apology to be wanting, clumsily-worded, etc… I choose to not FIRST assume the worst in others — including him. The fact crow has been eaten (with the humble pie chaser) is good enough for me to warrant a second chance.

      What matters is how he will handle such subjects from this point forward.

      I find that a good number of the comments here are truly quite harsh and not at all reflective of the warmth, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness I’ve come to know within the Leather community.

      The public flogging has been done… Now let’s move on to the teaching.

      If he says he’s an ally, let’s at least be gracious enough to see whether he proves to be one over time.

      Douglas Connors
      Mr Leather Ottawa-Outaouais 2003

    • Douglas Connors says:

      PS: As did Rubberwilli, I too am willing to act as an ally/guide to Eric so that he will be able, in the future, to write from a more respectful and contextually appropriate perspective.

      If we can’t find room in our hearts to forgive and teach, then we can’t expect that kindness to be granted to us at times when we fuck up too.


  30. Well Mr. Berry it appears that you have only responded twice to the comments regarding your “so called apology’ thus it appears you are doing now what you should have done in the first place, Kept your mouth shut. Your apology like your article is full of crap.

  31. Hi Eric,

    I have talked to you in private and even emailed you what I would say. Though you you have apologized. You still say “While I stand by the veracity of the events I documented in my original post” If I had sent in an Op-Ed to Huff Post this is what I would say:

    There are numerous problems with this article the biggest one being that Eric Barry, in all his knowledge brought a new, shy, easily intimidated female to a very large, mostly gay male event to use her as a basis to write an exclusivity article without any cultural history, experience or inside viewpoints and has completely mislead his audience into thinking that this is the status quo as to how the community is run.

    If You, Eric Barry had known his history of Leather and Contests he would have known that International Mr Leather was founded in 1979, making it one of the oldest Leather Contests in our community, this during the times when bars were being raided and men were being fired from their jobs just for being gay. International Mr Leather is a celebration of sex and masculinity of all forms. It is advertised as, founded and celebrated as a gay male Leather Event. Though the event is open to all genders, the ratio of male-identified to female-identified attendees is quite large, but that doesn’t stop people from having a good time, so long as they respect the space and the individuals it was created for. You, Eric Barry would also know that IML has had many female judges as well as trans* IMLs and IMrBBs winners. But there’s more, let’s go to other contests and talk about inclusivity and diversity.

    If you had known and written about the other contests and conferences specifically catered to women and trans* females, he would have talked about how International Ms Leather (IMsL) began in 1987 and has been one of the premier events for Leatherwomen and female kinksters to attend. International Ms Leather, like International Mr Leather, allows for male identified individuals to come to their event. Just like at IML, there are times at IMsL events are female-identified only individuals and that should be respected too.

    Barry, you stated, “My friend is a naturally shy and reserved person who’s recently expressed an interest in the kink and BDSM community. While IML seemed like an opportune time to explore these interests, she was nervous about doing so …”

    If You, Eric Barry had spent sometime in the Kink and Leather Communities, he would have known the rules protocols and nuances of Leather Culture, the bar scene and its play scene. You would have thought twice before attending an all-male play space, with his much newer female companion, and would have known that the party he was attending commonly referred to in the LGTBTQ Leather Culture as a sex party. If Eric Barry knew rules and protocols of sex parities he would have understood that though he may have gotten specific permission himself to attend this sex party on the 46th Floor, he should have asked permission for his female friend.

    Taking your female friend to a male-only sex party at IML is an inappropriate starting point for a female interested in the Kink, BDSM, or Leather. Also it’s disrespectful and offensive to the people who created that “safe space” for males to play in, Allison Moon was right in her statement, however twisted Eric Barry placed it. There are some females who are the “exceptions”, they come into a male-only space get immediately down to sexual business and there is no interruption of energy or other play within the space, because they are not there to view the new showing at the museum but to participate in the art of sex. Another reason is simply the fact that it is a rare privilege to celebrate with those of your own kind. So if those who identify as men want to celebrate with men only,

    If you had known more about the Leather scene, he would have started her out at a Leather bar; there are rules and protocols for that. You could have also taken a simpler step and taken your female friend to a munch- a public social gathering of like-minded individuals within the BDSM/Kink Community. Munches have frequently been called a gateway opportunity to dip toes into an interest that is new to an individual. There are plenty of other conferences and contests that are well suited to teaching and immersing your female friend on what Kink/BDSM and Leather is about. For example, Beyond Vanilla is a pansexual kink event held in Dallas, Texas for the past 20 yrs. Other pansexual or events include mix play spaces or classes are Southwest Leather Conference, Shibaricon, Northwest Leather Conference, American Brotherhood Weekend (ABW), Southeast Leatherfest (SELF), International Leather Sir/boy/Community Bootblack, and many more. Even some of those events also provide male/female only spaces.

    Next time, give a newly interested individual book recommendations. For Leather, I would have recommended Urban Aboriginals by Geoff Mains, Leathersex by Joseph Bean, The Real Thing by William Carney, and The Leather Daddy and The Femme by Carol Queen among others. For KINK/BDSM I would have recommended The Beauty Series by Anne Rice, The Marketplace Series by Laura Antoniou, The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy, and The Wild Side of Sex by Midori, to name a few.

    If You, Eric Barry had knowledge of Leather and Kink and spent more time in those communities, you would have known that with this article, you put the Leather Community in an unwarranted, negative, biased spotlight. In mainstream society we experience plenty of misogynistic practices both politically and socially. Asking a female Pro-Domme about how to navigate within a gay male Leather culture and an event like IML will not present a well-balanced and experienced opinion. He would have known that the dramatization of the dildos is not representative of a Leather contest weekend, and nowhere in his article was there picture of the IML and IMrBB winners OR any other individual dressed in Leather for that matter. And though we do have some issues with misogyny and sexism within the BDSM, Kink and Leather Communities, we have been actively working to break those stereotypes and extend boundaries of acceptance to all who wish to celebrate and participate.

    Your female friend may have had some negative experiences at IML, however you is mostly to blame based on lack of cultural experience and protocols in the Kink/BDSM and Leather Culture. Next time should an interested party who wishes to dabble or dip their toes into the Kink/BDSM or Leather Communities, try the options I listed in the article or contact someone who is already well grounded and far more experienced than you in these areas. It is a sign of disrespect and dishonesty to intentionally set a “newb” off on the wrong foot just for the sake of journalism.

    What is that slang slogan? “All up in the Kool-Aid, don’t even know the flavor.”
    Perhaps next time before you partake of and share of the Kool-Aid, you may want to read the package first and see if it’s the right flavor for you and those you involved.

    Educate yourself.

  32. boy satyr says:

    sexuMy favorite part about his BS article is how he didn’t talk to any people in the leather scene. And the remark that if men don’t find you attractive then you are nothing. I have many friends within the scene where we arent attracted to each other sexually, but we meet for drinks, offer assistance for events, and generally enjoy comfortable and platonic friendships.

    with ‘allies’ like him, who needs enemies.

  33. Sparkplug Tacklehump says:

    You apologized for the fact that your article got coverage. You haven’t indicated that you understand the mistakes you made. Inherent to an apology of this kind is recognition of the mistake and clear understanding of what you should have or should not have done. You need to acquire a deep understanding of the rules of consent in a sex-positive community. Based on the mistake you made, I believe that you will not gain this understanding until someone violates your consent thoughtlessly and then gets their story published in national media. I hope I am wrong – I hope that you can gain that understanding without such a violation. And then I hope you write a LONG series of articles about it, referencing this experience.

  34. Sparky_marky says:

    Wait a second. Eric, this “apology” seems to indicate that you STILL think it was somehow wrong that your guest was asked to leave the private party, and that your “fuck up” was just in how you chose to portray the incident.

    No. Just… no. I cannot see how anyone could be so tone-deaf about this issue. The primary source of anger over your original article is that you violated a private party by bringing an uninvited guest and then played the victim by construing the request for your guest to leave as misogyny. That is 100% bull.

    YOU were wrong to bring a woman to a gay-only orgy uninvited. You wronged both the party holders AND your friend by putting her in that position.

    The party hosts were in no way wrong for asking her to leave, and in no way was it indicative of misogyny or transphobia or whatever else you think it represents. As others of noted, your insistence that you and your friend had some sort of right to be there was treating a gay sex orgy as akin to a zoo exhibit. That you cannot seem to comprehend the magnitude of how offensive that is just might be the most mind-boggling aspect of this.

    Until you fully recognize that it was YOU who was in the wrong 100%–something this terrible “apology” actually doesn’t do–then you will continue to reap just approbation for your actions.

  35. Jasun M says:

    I guess the big moral of the story is “don’t point out the flaws of a community unless you’re actually part of the community you’re calling out.”

    And it’s also “understand the customs and cultural rules of a minority community before you barge in and make a stink.

    Gay spaces exist because we created them. Nobody is going to make a safe space for us and we’ve had to throw out own parties, get our own bars, have our own events and create our community… When someone from outside stomps in and is aghast that we do things on our own without their permission, it’s not going to go over well.

    While I do believe that you feel bad, know how badly you fucked up and want to make things right… I have to kind of mirror what other people have said… The best way for you to make things right is to just leave and don’t come back. The gay community doesn’t need a straight ally to do stories about our culture and traditions. We don’t necessarily WANT straight mainstream culture knowing what we get up to when it’s just us guys.

    Look at how Folsom Fair was ruined by straight people coming to watch, take pictures, point and shout “OH MY GOD!” And don’t even get me started on how what you did is going to just invite the Pat Labarberas of the world t show up with their video cameras and publish pictures of whatever they can find that’s shocking to middle America.

    We accept your apology but let’s just part ways here. Write and blog and podcast about straight sex and straight porn stars and straight issues. We don’t need your help. We’ll take it from here.

  36. I have been to IML also on a Press Pass several years back and I brought my male slave with me. We felt very accepted and greatly enjoyed ourselves. It would have never entered our minds to enter a private party for gay men at this event because we would not want to disrupt their scenes with my presence. That’s called respect on our part the same we expected (and received) from them in the public and event areas.

  37. MICHAEL R says:

    Mostly, please, all of you people, just STOP using the gay community, and the leather community, as your automatic dumping ground for accusations of “transphobia” and “misogyny” all the time. Its sleazy, it’s lazy, and it’s deeply homophobic in its own right. Just…enough.

  38. Your apology reads like this:

    You didn’t actually take back any of the shit you said, you didn’t admit you were wrong about how people have a right to decide who participates in their sexual activities or at least set boundaries, does consent mean anything to you?

    Gay men are not a zoo to satisfy your and your friend’s curiosity, we are not sexual objects. You got invited to participate, if you weren’t participating, get the fuck out and your friend was not invited to participate, she should’ve gotten the fuck out.

  39. The author doesn’t seem to understand that private sex parties can define who will, or will not attend. People should not be forced to have sex with people they are not interested in; people should not be forced to have sex for audiences, either. Good private sex parties respect these boundaries, and others. “despite the relative anonymity that darkness afforded”? Good Lord.

    I also have to question your good sense in bringing a woman to a gay sex party in any case? How would that help her understand her sexuality? (Voyeurism is fine, so long as the people being watched consent to that act.)

    It would be nice if the author made a sincere apology, one that reflected an understanding of what he did and why he erred.

  40. John Dorrance says:

    Wow. Dude. So I just read all the comments to this post, and I imagine shit’s pretty awful for you right now. It’s kind of funny from the outside – “I’m all super sex-positive and stuff! So I can write clueless shit about this subculture I know nothing about and publish it on a major website!” [Days pass] [MASSIVE EXPLOSIONS] “Hey guys, I didn’t mean to piss you off!” [FURTHER MASSIVE EXPLOSIONS] – but I’m pretty sure you’re right around “AH GOD PLEASE STOP!!!” by now.

    You’ve had the misfortune of doing something very stupid in a very public way, and being lambasted by a whole shit-ton of people as a result. The internet is neat and all, but now you’re surrounded in a virtual way by hundreds, if not thousands, of people piling on you, and it’s hard to tell whether the sane ones or the insane ones are worse.

    And it’s up to you to figure out what to do now. Beyond not going to any more gay sex parties. In all seriousness, I feel for you, though you did sound like an idiot in your article and the apology above.

    So going by the assumption that you’re reasonably smart and teachable, I’d like to offer some advice. Take it for what it’s worth.

    1. Get the fuck away from the situation for a few days. This is a lot of shit to process, much of it unpleasant, and if I were in your shoes I’d be in panic mode right now. That’s not a good place to operate from, particularly when it comes to dealing with a lot of upset people. Fortunately, the upset people can stay that way for a few days with little harm done, and possibly some good. Turn off all electronic devices, perhaps hole up in a sympathetic friend’s house, get away and read a book. Just give yourself some space and talk with friends about what’s up with them. That’ll help put this shit out if your mind, which is necessary, I’d guess.

    2. Come back to it when you’ve regained equilibrium. Reread your article (and apology), reread the criticism that isn’t threatening violence, see the common threads running through the criticism, try to understand the point of view of the critics. I can’t imagine it will be too difficult for anyone with a basic grasp of social dynamics, particularly when it comes to concepts like ‘safe space’ for minorities.

    3. In this case, you will find that your critics are right. This does not mean you are a terrible person, just that you fucked up. You seem to have realized that part already, but you need to understand how and why (and there are several reasons in this particular case). DO NOT approach this part from an all-or-nothing, “I AM A TERRIBLE PERSON!” beating-up-on-yourself kind of way, but rather a “what, exactly, happened here?” kind of way. Try to keep the ego out of it and consider the situation like a disinterested third party.

    4. Once you feel you’ve got a good understanding of what happened and how you pissed everyone off, write another apology, one that focuses on what you did wrong without excuses or justifications. See what you can do to right the wrong.

    Or who knows? Maybe just taking a few weeks’ hiatus and accepting that some new people dislike you now will be an acceptable resolution for you. There’s no one right way to deal with something like this, because it’s a ridiculous situation all around. Ideally you’ll cool off, do some soul-searching, learn something, and grow from the situation. Or you won’t. Who knows? It’s up to you.

    I wish you the best of luck, and you have my sympathy.

  41. I just read your apology. Thanks, and I accept what you say.

    Now. Let’s talk about Sacred Male Space. You seem to be unconsciously going along with a currently-popular bias against gatherings of males.

    If it were an all-woman play space, would you have pulled the same stunt? I think not.

    In the GLBTQ community, NOBODY questions the right of women to have their own, sacred spaces. However, our larger culture encourages suspicion when men gather together – We wild males need “civilizing”, preferably by sensible, level-headed women.

    My all-kinky-male-identified group ( just hosted a wonderful, powerful and transformational play-party, as hosts, for the pansexual community. This event included an icebreaker for the gay-males to get comfy with our sisters’ bodies, and both sides LOVED it, far more than any other part of the festivities. That is exactly as it should be.

    This does not change, or diminish the fact that males ALSO have the right to claim Sacred Male Space at other times:

    – We need to do “guy talk” sessions (which our group publishes as audio-recordings for the world to witness afterward)

    – We need play-spaces, hardcore-play mentoring sessions and cruising environments (like the increasingly-rare leather bars) that don’t include tourists gawking and making loud commentary (we are NOT circus-animals for their entertainment), and

    – We need to be able to be vulnerable at times, and to help each man let his burdens go.

    We need Male Intimacy. We are tired of being isolated, just because other people think that we should be.

    Yes, we need Mommies in our culture, but we also need more Daddies, mentors, leaders, role-models and Elders (to replace the ones who died, and the remainder who have nothing left to give after giving ALL during the Plague Years), and we won’t be getting them back too quickly if we are kept APART, ridiculed for being “exclusive”, and kept lonely, connecting only on a “crotch” level.

    As gay males, we have had a Holocaust. We are still decades away from completely recovering what we had before. If we are going to be excellent brothers for our sisters, we have to connect authentically, in real time, away from the community-vaporizing effect of the Internet’s distractions.

    Try to factor THAT into your tourist spectating, in the future. Try to look at the bigger picture, and have some empathy. Check your unquestioned biases at the door.

  42. SockMan says:

    From this web site…

    “Who are we?
    Full Disclosure is a Chicago-based blog and podcast dedicated to sex-positive news, interviews, and comedy.
    It was founded by comedian and writer Eric Barry in San Francisco before moving to Chicago in January 2014.”

    eric accuses the Leather Community of being misogynists, when actually it seems that he is a misandrist himself (look it up)

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