Thousands of tourists pouring into Washington, D.C. for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration will be sharing the nation's capital with a few thousand predominantly gay leather fetishists, in town for their annual convention.
Next January 16th, 17th and 18th brings the 25th annual Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend to Washington, D.C. Hosted by the city's Centaur Motorcycle Club, "a group of men with an enthusiastic interest in motorcycles, leather and other men," the event is expected to draw between 2,000 and 3,000 attendees, according to spokesman Larry Barat.
I can well understand boycotting Obama's inauguration, given his invitation to Rick Warren to give the inaugural prayer. However, this event for "leather fetishists," or those who seek to attend this event for whatever reason, again trivialize Gay people in the eyes of potential allies by feeding into the main stereotype that has been a justification for LGBT oppression: That Gay people are basically sexually addicted hedonists!
At a time when so much is at stake in the fight for full equality of LGBT people, why would such an event be held in Washington, D.C. just before the Presidential Inauguration is being held? Everyone knew that the inaugural event would take place on Tuesday, January 20th, so why couldn't this event be scheduled for another weekend other than the one where it would get publicity that again negatively stereotypes Gay people?
I'm not in any way against the Leather Community, as I think it's a viable expression of sexuality! However, I am against such a display about the same time as the inauguration as it will merely reinforce the stereotypes that religious and other homophobes have been propagating about Gay people.
The fact that there are many Straight people into Leather will likely be lost on the general public in favor of them concentrating on what most will see, not merely as a Gay event, but as "those perverts who are corrupting our children and our society." Such an event will not only provide more fuel for the engine of hate emanating from all sorts of "religious" and other homophobes, but will likely help convince many of those who listen to homophobic rhetoric that what they are being told is the truth.
At a time when we are trying to win the hearts and minds of the decent, non-hateful, people, and enable them to see Gay people as fully human beings who have needs and aspirations just like them, and who deserve full and equal civil rights just as they possess, such a display as the annual convention in the "nation's capital with a few thousand predominantly gay leather fetishists" is counterproductive, to say the least.
Whether they are aware of it or not, those who organized this convention to be held in Washington, D.C. on the weekend right before the inauguration are traitors who are sabotaging the struggle for civil rights!