Photograph by Yusuf Kidwai
I’m not going to write an article about fetishizing boys, or clothing, or sex. I instead want to purge a secret life that I hold near and dear to my heart – my fetish for leather.
It is perfectly normal to like leather, but I’m not quite sure I like leather in the way that most people do. A nice leather murse named Jimmy, or a pair of soft leather gloves from Danier that match your new suede boots are cute accessories; but the leather accessories I prefer don’t usually show up on the streets. Whips, chaps, crops, hats, half harnesses and gauntlets are the type of leather that I fetishize.
Being twenty-one and into the leather scene is something that may seem strange. A big guy decked out head-to-toe in leather and ass-less chaps is the image that comes to mind when most people think of leather fetishes. This is a popular misconception of the leather community; I neither look like that image, nor seem like the type to end up in a leather bar, but nevertheless, I take pride in my niche.
I started to dabble in the leather scene three years ago, when on a whim I ended up at Zippers, a leather bar in Toronto. Before entering, images of burly men flashed before my eyes but once inside, I realized that this was not the case. Many of the men within the bar were not much older than I was, and were enjoying the leather scene by their own accord. This blew my mind, shattering my preconceptions and opening up a whole new world for me to explore.
Shortly after, my good friends pitched in and decided to buy me a crop to start my leather collection; I have since acquired quite a few pieces that keep the collection growing. Some items make an appearance in my everyday wardrobe, like my studded leather cuffs or a leather bound ring. When I’m feeling more adventurous, I bring out my leather boots, booty shorts, vest and matching gauntlets – but only for special occasions. Being part of this new leather movement within the queer culture is helping me reclaim the old image of a leather daddy, and shed new light on a taboo aspect of the queer lifestyle.
My first step into that leather bar that night was a nervous one, but looking back, I would definitely not turn around. Exploring my sexuality and trying new things helped me figure out what I like and what I don’t, and in doing so, who I am as a sexual being. I’ve found that though I enjoy a nice leather messenger bag or new pair of leather shoes, I would prefer to show off my pride with a nice, leather cuff.