Twisting Culture | Northeast Person Of Leather ‘24
Water & Boundaries
Wuzzy Acres Here I Come!?
By Jace The Caveat, January 27, 2024

Honestly - I’m overwhelmed about the outpouring of support for my title win! From the Philadelphia Gryphons to my Onyx siblings nationwide, I have truly found the community of people who G.U.A.R.D. me! I am so grateful, and this title is a sign that the values I project and seek here are real. Thanks to the entire NEPOL 2024 class for making this event a blast! Finn, I could not have asked for a better example and seasoned activist to lead the crowd we call home. Mr. Blk, I learned so much from you about the nature of expression and FUN when playing a character - or better yet - releasing my true character. Bastet Khepera, you never cease to amaze me with your vigor, knowledge, and lighthearted spirit. I am honored to call you an ONYX sibling.

To the maven, and visionary of Twisting Culture- Jack Jackman - thank you for this opportunity, assembling a diverse judging panel, and hearing my message beyond words.
“Thank You!”

When my name was announced as having won the title of Northeast Person of Leather 2024, I screamed “Thank You!” This was my cry to the regional BDSM, Fetish, Leather, and Kink community who raised me in ethics and sexual safety. I cried to my ancestors - named and unnamed - because I felt seen as a whole Person, worthy of self-care, intimacy, and community.

Spring Event Schedule
I have been so excited to explore corners of the area that do not receive a lot of attention! From Appalachia to New England, I am planning a munch to serve each state under the NEPOL circuit. Local Leather clubs are also close to my heart - grassroots groups do the legwork to impart OUR collective story.

1.    International Ms. Leather (IMsL 2024)
IMsL on Saturday (4/12/24)
2.    Shipmates 50th Anniversary Dinner
The Shipmates Club of Baltimore celebrates 50 years of Brotherhood and service in the DMV. (4/20/24)
3.    New Jersey Munch & Podcast @The House of Steele
The first munch will be hosted at The House of Steele, mentored by Master SteeleToe the Bootblack. We will also be streaming a Fireside Chat to spill the tea on our favorite topics and share some resources too! (5/11/24-5/12/24)

Journeys & Stories

I have been blessed to travel a bit locally after the competition, specifically to see my favorite artist - Dawn Richard - in NYC. Also, I celebrated a friend’s bachelor party in Boston, MA. This was an opportunity to consider my existence as a multicultural person whose 23&Me says I’m 9.4% British & Irish. New Jersey Leather 2024 was a blast, and I was excited for the first opportunity to wear my patch with pride - and a good mentor, SteeleToe the Bootblack, was covered as a Master in accordance with strong traditions.

I feared for so long that sharing my scars and stories would result in isolation -being maligned as irresponsible and “crazy” (many thanks to Devyn Stone for adjusting my internal dialogue). However, my parents - in their own way - and older siblings (one of whom is an ordained pastor) encouraged me to be confident, outgoing, and proud of my journey - scars and stories included.

I recently started an MBA program, and one interviewee for an assignment divulged their own “coming-out” peril - noting that they had seen me on Where The Bears Are. Someone I never knew personally saw my yearning for self-expression through acting, music, and social media as their first glimpse of someone mirroring their experience. They asked about where to start their own journey of acceptance - friends, family, the larger LGBTQ+ community, and sexual safety. I know now that my story is the ONLY weapon I possess for the groups I represent - Black, Queer, Underserved, and Neurodivergent.

In an often meme’d argument from Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta, Cardi B screamed, “WHAT WAS THE REASON?!” to an adversarial co-star, when an on-screen feud was discussed at the reunion.

I have felt a sense of urgency since my youth to fight injustice. As an adult this has taken new shape - especially given the socio-economic privilege my career has granted. I have healthcare - but not everyone does. I have cultivated a dedicated support system - but many are excommunicated and further isolated, in fear of ourselves and the vulnerability which relationships demand.
I will always express myself artistically, and this has earned me a platform - but I do not need the attention. I wanted a title to spur our collective action. This is for the three-year-old within me who was economically underserved, the sixteen-year-old who could not find safe, trustworthy spaces to bloom in adolescence, the young adult who was seen as “drug-seeking” when demanding Adderall for undiagnosed ADHD, and the grown man disoriented by mania during a worldwide pandemic.

Triumph Among Losses
A wellness resource listed below (2), shows a possible road to communal and spiritual healing - “A queer stress-trauma continuum, along with a queer resilience-growth-hope continuum[…] draws upon past collective experience to meet the violence and injustices of the present, projecting queer imaginings of a future that is not conscripted or overdetermined by […] the White cis-heteropatriarchal present. The past, the present, and the future must be open, fluid, undecided, and resilient—therein, they must be queer.”
On a personal note, this title is a personal marker of a recent period where I broke ties with previously trusted friends and did my best to support ill loved ones. I have always been resilient to cope with isolation and stress - but my life now is different from my formative conditions. As a result, I practice PRICK (Personal Responsibility, Informed Consensual Kink).
Stress & trauma are part of the human condition, but resilience, growth, and hope are systemically hidden. The lessons from loss, humble my gratitude in triumph.

Who I Am
I won a “title” - so what? In my recent experience, much of the Queer world isn’t familiar with the history of Leather titles, Ballroom “Balls”, Imperial Courtship, Beautillions/Cotillions, etc. These traditions attempt resolution to our human experience - abandonment & isolation. We create our own leaders and select our own heroes. Leather titles are confirmation that we are not alone in the way we choose to share intimacy.
I needed a space to explore these aspects of myself in an environment free of secrecy, coercion, and shame. The Leather Community provided space for me and saved my life. I now do the same for others. Coming from the context of a faith-based community, I was never informed that my sexuality was part of self-care.

For more info on that basis, see these resources:
1.     Camp, Jake et al. “LGBQ+ Self-Acceptance and Its Relationship with Minority Stressors and Mental Health: A Systematic Literature Review.” Archives of sexual behavior vol. 49,7 (2020): 2353-2373. doi:10.1007/s10508-020-01755-2
2.     Menhinick, Keith A, and Cody J Sanders. “LGBTQ+ Stress, Trauma, Time, and Care.” Pastoral psychology vol. 72,3 (2023): 367-384. doi:10.1007/s11089-023-01073-z

My origin in Prince George’s County, MD - a thriving black city - formed my awareness of HBCUs, Beautillions, multicultural praise & worship, and the positivity of social hierarchy. With any collective structure, shared values and understanding are paramount. As a teenager, I volunteered with the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. And I became a spiritualist shortly thereafter. I initially sought support for my natural Poly & Pan orientation from a local youth pastor I trusted. He saw my vulnerability as an invitation to flirt, and I distanced myself for protection - isolated again. No leader is perfect, but I can attest to the self-correction found within the Leather community.

Cornel West once said, “Justice is what Love looks like in public.” I’m a pansexual, polyamorous, neurodivergent, switchy, driven, spiritual, geeky, imperfect person. When I feel brave enough to approach my own life, I am more concerned with what I learn from my mistakes than, “getting it right”. I would rather be understood than to be liked…heard instead of tolerated…and valued instead of tokenized. I stand ready in the public square - not “woke” - but awake to opportunities for “Twisting Culture” toward equality. Let’s go to work.



Thank you to Rodney Burger and The Leather Journal for publishing this!  Soon there is much more to come from Jace!

Leather Journal RodneyBurger 2024