Whatever your kink, fetish, sexual proclivity, or identity, there is a community for you. All you have to do is explore and find ways to connect. Corey Wesley recently interviewed the thoughtful and thought-provoking Mr. NJ Leather, Lynx, to learn more about finding and building community, particularly for men of color in the leather community.
Our conversation started with learning a bit about Lynx’s background. He grew up in the South in a sheltered environment. His family was involved with politics so he grew up with a lot of rules and boundaries. He ended up in Chicago for grad school and it was there that he discovered the leather community. Like many others, he had his preconceived notions about what it was, mainly from watching porn and talking to non-leather community members.
One night he decided to go to the local bar to get out of the house. The Jack Hammer had been described as risky and shady but he went nonetheless. Black men kept coming into the bar and going downstairs. They all had “ONYX” emblazoned on their leather vests. Although he was a little apprehensive, these guys looked like him and something told him to go downstairs to see what was going on. There he found “the rest of his life.” He met a group of men that were welcoming, warm, happy, inviting, and “living life with reckless abandon.” He found out that this was the group’s monthly meetup. He left but was right back the next month when they had their next meetup. Something spoke to him that night that was more than the sexual aspect.
Once Lynx started to tap into who he wanted to be and remove himself from the past, he was living his true life. Now based in the NYC area, as Mr. NJ Leather he is in a position of service for people who were like him before. The title gives him a platform to reach more people who may be searching to find their own identity.
Part of the reason Corey decided to talk with Lynx is that many think the leather community is mainly a white person’s thing, but there are communities within the larger community that are there. It may take some time and effort to find them but they are there. Oftentimes it’s a difficult process to connect with a community like ONYX because people don’t know the resources or who to ask. It used to be that you could go to a bar or club and find a community. Now with hook up apps, the bar, nightlife and club communities have changed. People can connect on their own through these apps and don’t need a physical space to meet one another. But what has also happened is the bonds of community have weakened.
Diversity and inclusion have been key topics for many of the large leather events like LA Leather Pride (LA Blade). And then there is International Male Leather (IML) the famous event held in Chicago, which is an overwhelmingly white male event making some people feel unwelcome. Mama Cleo, an African-American woman “learned of a caucus where she could discuss minority issues. Attending that group was a relief, she says, proving to her that she did indeed belong.” (Rolling Stone) Organizations like ONYX help build the necessary bonds of community.
Having had some negative experiences in the past, Corey asked Lynx about race play and how that pans out in the BDSM community. He wondered if there was a point where things cross the line. Like a true statesman, Lynx said the answers are varied. “Everything should be negotiated before anyone hooks up or plays, especially with race play since there are some emotions involved,” he said. Race play involves emotional and psychological elements so you have to know the person you’re playing with. There is also a power exchange and you have to trust that what happens, happens in that space for that moment.
For those who don’t know, ONYX is an organization formed in 1995 and operated by men of color who enjoy the leather lifestyle. Operating much like a fraternity, the organization has nine chapters across the country with the founding chapter based in Chicago. It was formed by five men looking for others like themselves. They noticed that they were oftentimes the only person of color in the room so they decided to create a safe space where they could connect and share with one another.
To learn more about ONYX Corey asked about the pledging process and what steps a person of color should take to embrace their sexuality. First and foremost, reading is important. There are plenty of books, magazines, and pieces of history out there that are worth reviewing. A quick Google or Amazon search on “BDSM introduction” or “BDSM stories” will provide some initial resources. Another aspect is to start learning the vocabulary. It’s important to understand the terminology of the community you desire to be a part of.
Every person may not need a club or to be associated with other people. They may want to explore on their own and that’s okay. In fact, participating with an organization like ONYX does not necessarily require membership. Lynx shared that anyone can travel and hang out with the members without being a member.
The NYC chapter hosts a monthly meetup every second Saturday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the Eagle NYC. If someone is interested in membership in ONYX they would apply to the chapter closest to where they live. But before seeking membership, they encourage interested candidates to come out and meet the members face to face to begin developing a relationship. If someone is interested in belonging to ONYX they can have a conversation about what the pledge process looks like.
In closing, it was inspiring to hear Lynx say that everyone is born with some form of magic. Lynx says he has leather magic. Others may have been born with math magic or sports magic. Hearing Lynx provide information and share his experiences was amazing. We are grateful for him taking the time to speak with us.
- Click Now: Connect with Lynx on Instagram, #LeatherMagic
- Learn more about Men of Color who enjoy the leather lifestyle.
- Shop Now: Save 15% off your entire order at Kinkster.NYC
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