Watch the video of the Leather/Fetish Contingent for San Diego Pride 2013
Slide show of Scott Smith's photos...
James talks about Pride 2013
Here's some thoughts for you about how pride was for me. To start off it was the first SD pride I'd been to so I didn't know quite what to expect. I figured it'd be bigger than pride in Ohio for sure (it was) but other than that I had no idea.
Brett and I had been talking about the idea of him walking me in the parade on a leash for some time, and the week before pride we decided to go for it. I'm very happy we did. Brett got a chain leash and we both bought some sexy leather shorts so we would look our best. When we got to the parade there was a little confusion in the staging area about where we were supposed to be but Wish got us all organized and it went really smoothly.
Once we left the staging area and actually started down the parade, the crowds watching us gave me the Fear for a moment, as it become very clear all of the sudden in my head that this was the most public expression I had made of myself in a fetish context. The enthusiasm from the crowd, and the excitement for our contingent specifically quickly melted away that fear and I was my confident authentic self, having a hell of a good time. At one point a woman came out into the street and gave Brett and I a big hug and told us that we rocked for what we were doing. A few times along the parade line Brett pulled me in by the leash for a kiss, to raucous applause from the crowd.
I was really struck by the major support we were getting even from groups that I wouldn't expect to understand the leather context, like teenage girls for instance. It was like they could tell that what we were doing and what we were was important, even if they didn't understand it, and they cheered their hearts out for us. That really drove home for me that when we carry ourselves with strength, joy, and unashamed self expression it speaks loudly at a really fundamental level. The whole experience was deeply fulfilling and I'm greatly looking forward to being a part of it next year when we ramp up the volume even more.
I'm glad we have visionaries like you who can see the power of these types of events and push us to fill them with greatness. You understand more than I that the payoff is huge.
Looking forward to hearing what other people have to share about their pride experiences as well.
Woofs and bearhugs,
My experience with our leather brothers and sisters at San Diego LGBT Pride began at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 13 as I was walking my dog through the staging area. The parade contingent coordinators: Wish Linda, Robb Rodd, truck-owner Derek Thunderchild and Robb’s handsome fiancé Scott Parman were all up bright and early putting the finishing touches on the Eagle float. Then, around 8:30, I joined my buddy Jim Neff at Robb’s pre-parade social, where we got to meet some of our out of town leather folks and connect with some locals as well. His front window was its own little Leather Pride parade!
Making our way over to the leather contingent and Eagle float was a great time as we were warmly greeted by a good-looking, warm and deliciously salty brothers & sisters! From our frisky pups, Eagle bartenders, FMSD brothers, and past and current titleholders, everyone was projecting pure love and pride. It was the perfect loving, complementary and enjoyably “cruisey” vibe as we connected with our regular crew, folks we hadn’t seen in a while and new friends. Photos and smiles abounded.
The only bad thing about The Leather Realm was that I didn’t get to spend much time there!!! From my occasional visits, I saw nothing but good times and VERY interested attendees – and lots of both. I was thrilled to see that the educational presentations were standing-room-only when I walked by. I also got to play ambassador for a minute and introduce some friends from different local clubs, which alsways makes me happy.
Sunday night always comes too soon, but it was very heartening to see the amazing turn-out for the Leather Realm tear-down. I helped a bit with table and chair breakdown at the beginning and then went to put my pick-up truck in line to transport crosses and other stuff back to Bikkja Amy, Cobi & Tina’s place. I was AMAZED that by 9:15 p.m., when I got back down to the realm, all the work was done for the breakdown. The process was such a well-oiled machine!
For anyone who hung at the sidelines (like I did last year), my suggestion for next year is to JUMP IN! You will be rewarded with friendship, affirmation and a great sense of Pride for being part of this amazing weekend.
Thank you to all the Fetishmen who came out to the Leather Realm this weekend! It was great to see folks sitting at the booth talking to the new guys. Thanks to Aaron Duke for working as an Ambassador all weekend and teaching classes. Thanks to Eli for helping with the demo. Thanks to Papa Tony for your support and helping to rally the troops.
I especially appreciate all of you (esp. Ian Morton), who came out to help set up and tear down. Thanks to the guys who kept their word, showed up and helped put on this amazing COMMUNITY event. We had over 10,000 people come through this year and I expect we'll be seeing a good number of them at our upcoming events! Much love and gratitude to all who participated!
There is a volunteer Pool and Play Party on August 4th from 12-7 p.m. Unfortunately we do not have email addresses for all those who volunteered. If you would like to attend please contact papatony AT mac DOT com to RSVP or for more info.
What an amazing Pride weekend surrounded by my FMSD tribe and the extended tribes of Club X, Avatar Los Angeles and so many others. Marching in the parade was incredible. I think we were all overwhelmed with the response, and marching with the Title holders and the Eagle float just added to the spirit. The solid cheering all the way to the park put a thick coating of icing on that cake.
The mood and spirit that surrounded the Leather Realm inside the pride grounds at Balboa Park was even more amazing. It was like a family reunion, with old friends and new friends dancing and interacting within the tribal grounds. All the volunteers and the guests were flowing with playfulness and an openness i had not seen in the realm before at this level of intensity. Flogging, spanking, electro, and warm embraces were freely given and explored. The playfulness was inspiring and all were caught up the spirit.
The crowd was so willing to receive and to learn and we were all so excited to give and to teach that we all ended up both teachers and students. For lack of any other words it was sensually joyful!
I am still taking in, absorbing, and sorting through all I experienced this weekend. I am a blissful, happy flogger and a leveled up spanker who is in awe of the growth leap the tribe around me took. Well done all !!!
I have been sitting here all morning trying to recap this weekend. It is difficult to put into words what I am feeling. My heart is full.
Parade: A truly wonderful experience. It was amazing to see the men and women from around California that came to celebrate with us. This was the largest leather contingent in San Diego history. ...There was so much laughing, hugging, and playfulness happening and everyone took part in our joyful celebration.
The Leather Realm: How many cities can say that they produce a leather event during their pride festival that has approximately 12, 000 attendees? Many thanks to the Leather Realm committee and the Club X volunteers for their service. It is truly magical when gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (I apologize if I left anyone out) can work together to bring an event of this magnitude to the general population.
Fetish Men San Diego: WOW! Thank you guys for stepping up to the plate and helping with the set-up and tear-down of The Leather Realm.