The "Leather Community" is a euphemism which has come to refer to that group of queers (including those whose primary attraction is to those of the opposite sex) who are interested in S/M related sexual practices. Or maybe it's just the name for the group of people who are interested in spending a lot of money to buy expensive clothing made from dead animals.
I think it's a misnomer, though. I think very few of these people (I do not count myself among them, since despite publishing a magazine called Holy Titclamps, I am quite vanilla in my sexual practices) have an actual leather fetish.
Rather, leather is simply an identifying mark that people put on so that they can be noticed by others of the same sexual proclivities.
I would say that rubber fetishists are more common than actual leather fetishists. Doesn't being encased in a sweaty, artificial-smelling, skin-tight second skin seem more likely to turn the crank of some kink-craving pervert than creaky old leather?
Then there's those hybrid terms "leatherman," "leatherwoman" and "leatherfolk." The first two bring to mind visions of tanning salon victims, walking pieces of human beef jerky. The last just sounds sissified, definitely not an image that big butch persons of leather wish to project -- it smacks of folksinging and renaissance festivals.
And what about the problem of vegan "leatherfolk"? These poor misguided individuals are slapped with an oxymoronic name -- but will they consent to be slapped with a leather riding crop?
How could I let this rant end without a vicious attack on the horrendously tacky leather flag. It is so ugly it makes even the saccharine tints of the rainbow flag look good. Black and blue stripes and a red heart. Doesn't it just make you want to puke?
Perhaps what is needed is a new name. The Vinyl Community might make people think of a nerdish clan of record collectors, so that's out. Why not stick with the historically mandated (if not strictly accurate) term Sadomasocists?
If there are any actual leather fetishists out there, I'd be interested to hear from you. Let me know if I may post your responses.