Friday, June 01, 2007

Catching Up on Stuff

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Took some time off and packed some of my leather and headed out to International Mr. Leather in Chicago last weekend.
Really had a great time. A lot of leather studs came out to play and party. Went to all of the events, and for the most part, had a great time.
The leathermart was the place to see and be seen. Also the grand lobby of the Palmer House Hotel was always crowed. Too bad that parts of the hotel were undergoing renovations for this year and part of next year. The work area cut into the lobby meet and greet space.
No surprises at the contest. The favored 3 were chosen, and nobody, except the other 17 semi-finalists went home disappointed. The show moved along with precision and was quite enjoyable.
It has taken me several days to recover, but I now feel ready to resume my normal leather life.
What is fascinating about IML is that you can strut your stuff, bare butt in chaps and booted, shirtless, harnessed, whatever. The confines of the Palmer House was each guy's personal fantasy playground. And most guys took full advantage of that opportunity.
The entrance to the hotel warned visitors that the entire hotel was booked for a private gathering until Tuesday morning. Seeing gay men controling their total environment, if only for a weekend, was empowering to watch and participate in.
This segregation was to the leather communities benefit. It served to allow us to enjoy our fetish and sexual freedom without harassment. The same, you will read below, has just happened in a gay hotel and bar in Melbourne, Australia.
Gay pub wins right to ban straights
Tue May 29, 10:16 AM ET
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - An Australian hotel catering for homosexuals has won the right to ban heterosexuals from its bars so as to provide a safe and comfortable venue for gay men.

In what is believed to be a first for Australia, the Victorian state civil and administrative tribunal ruled last week that the Peel Hotel in the southern city of Melbourne could exclude patrons based on their sexuality.
Australia's equal opportunity laws prevent people being discriminated against based on race, religion or sexuality.
But Peel Hotel owner Tom McFeely said the ruling was necessary to provide gay men with a non-threatening atmosphere to freely express their sexuality.
"If I can limit the number of heterosexuals entering the Peel, then that helps me keep the safe balance," Peel told Australian radio on Monday.

McFeely said that, while the hotel welcomed everyone, its gay clientele had expressed discomfort over the number of heterosexuals and lesbians coming to the venue in the past year.
He said there were more than 2,000 venues in Melbourne that catered to heterosexuals, but his hotel was the only one marketing itself predominantly to gay men.

Victoria's state human rights commission backed the ruling, saying it was in line with equal opportunity guidelines defending the rights of groups subject to discrimination.
Commission chief Helen Szoke said the hotel's gay clientele had experienced harassment and violence. "(They) also have felt as though they've been like a zoo exhibit with big groups of women on hens' parties coming to the club," Szoke told reporters.

McFeely told the radio that the hotel had received homophobic telephone calls since news of the ruling was made public.
I have visited the Peel Hotel on one of my visits to Melbourne. While I never felt uncomfortable, I didn't like straights mixing in with the rest of us. Sometimes it is better to have our own places to hang out and enjoy each other in an inviting environment. I really don't like to give big hairy muscle hugs to anyone other than woofy guys like yourself. That's my perogative. And I am sticking to that preference.


Ed said...

Okay somebody has to say it so I guess I will. The inevitable comparison to Black people. You see no hotel had to declare it was for Black People only because the government won't allow discrimination against them. Why should Gay people isolate themselves as the only means to feel protected? We as human beings deserve the exact same rights as every other human being and protection under the Law!

Lewis said...

I sort of agree with Ed.....that the hotel has no right to keep heteros out. BUT, they do have a responsibility to keep their hotel and environs safe and secure for everyone. And if that's the answer, so be it.
I'd love to have gone to Chicago....checked out all of the naughty stuff. Good for you....and excellent for the Palmer House! That must be something else to see.

TOS said...

Wow, IML huh, that is the place to see and be seen. I'm sure you got quite an eyefull... Boo, Watusi, and I took a stroll through the Washington Plaza during MAL and I saw some interesting stuff... not all for me necessarily.

My only request would be for people to show a little decorum while still enjoying their full run of pride, fetish enthusiasm etc. Some of the shenanigans that go on are as shameful as when heteros, soccer hooligans do them. Just b/c you're at a fetish party doesn't give people the right to destroy hotel rooms, run amuck etc. That's just common courtesy.

That and I wish the Leather Community would step up and take more of a leadership role in stopping the disturbing bareback trend. While rampant throughout the gay community (IMHO) I was disturbed to see such brazen disregard for safer sex at the last couple of leather events I attended. It seemed like everywhere you went there was some flyer for a bareback party, breeding, buy your Treasure Island porn here etc.

I'm no prude by any means but I think gay men in general have forgotten the 80s. When are we going to figure out that a healthy expression of our pride, sexual desires, acceptance etc. doesn't require going to wild extremes to prove a point or something.

Anyhoo, sorry for the soliliquy but your blog always is inspiring and a forum for good discussion. ;-)

Thanks for the mega hairy muscle early bday hugs! :-) FOOW!

JB said...

Sigh. As they say, why can't we just all get along?

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Greg Fox said...

Buff, how come you didn't enter that Mr. Leather contest? Dang, I would've voted for you!

Must've been quite a show, thanks for sharing the pics and your thoughts about it. And of course, thank you, always, for your kind words and "hugs" on my blog... I always am thrilled and delighted with your comments!