This audio file was recorded during the 2007 International Mister Leather Contest at the Chicago Theatre.

“…It is unlikely that we will ever win the war for tolerance …until we are first willing to tolerate the variety that exists among our own kind.” Guy Baldwin wrote those words over a decade ago. 

It is a sentiment we need to be reminded of on a regular basis…because we’re fighters. We have to fight just to be who we are. But instead of fighting the true enemy we are often fighting each other. And when we fight each other we are only playing into the hands of those who hate us. 
The enemy is not the “Old Guard”. The enemy is not the “New Guard”. We are one continuously evolving Guard. 

The enemy is intolerance. 

You don’t have to love everything about every faction of our tribe. You don’t have to know every single detail about their scene. You just have to know them. The people. Because strangers don’t have community. Yes that word is use and overused, but it is used often because there is power in that word. 
Communities make progress. So feed our community. 
You can do it tonight in this theater. Reach out and introduce yourself to an older guy and find out why we are constantly saying that their experience is so valuable. Smile and acknowledge that young guy’s new twist on fetish gear and ask him why it gets him off. Start a conversation with one of the woman here and get her unique perspective on the scene. 
We are a growing family, we are on the brink of a wonderful explosion of possibilities. We just have to remember that we are of the same tribe, we are a community, and when our community comes together in solidarity we weaken our true enemy’s assault and build a foundation for the future. 

We don’t have to like each other, we just need to love each other, and if you give yourself a chance, you will find that you already do. 


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