A country famous for orange sugary drinks and deep-fried mars bars; for meat in the stomach of sheep and drinking till we can't stand; synonymous with men in skirts and the phrase FREEDOM. With all these insanities, why on earth wouldn't there be a fetish scene? Yet, this seems to be the view of most who are not Scottish fetish men, and it's understandable. If you pop out to the scene in Glasgow, you are unlikely to find fetish men roaming the streets. With no bars like the Eagle or events like Hard On it's no surprise that the kinky guys of Scotland are starved.
Now it can be said all over the United Kingdom that unless you're in the big cities of Manchester or London etc, you're going to find fetish low on the list. People don't pop to Carlisle for the weekly parties, or Douglas for great gatherings of gays. But why should that stop a great people like us Scots?
One thing that has always been true about the community all over the world is that fetish men are a friendly, strong-minded bunch, looking for a good time and an excuse for a gathering, party or drink. So, what's the difference between global fetish men and the Scots? Nothing.
As someone who discovered his fetish side before I knew what gay was, I have always felt an attachment to the wonder and beauty that is the leather and rubber side of society. At 11 I came across my first fetish pics and knew instantly. That's hot. But as a boy in a tiny town called Dumfries on the border of Scotland and England, I can tell you - I was alone. Luckily though, very quickly after coming out, I travelled to live in Rome. Living a double life, I got to explore me, myself and I, as I attended my first fetish event - Mr Leather Europe. Now as the only Scot there I realised that it didn't quite fit. A social event with men talking about their interests, with attention to what makes us unique, this truly has a place in Scottish culture. Then why was it so limited?
That was it. Homophobia in Scotland was and is rife. Being in school I was, like many, ridiculed for loving nothing more than to sing and dance. Many of my northern brothers will be familiar with being picked last for our countries obsession, football. I didn't fit. Now here was something that put me further outside the norm. Fetish. as a guy discovering pain, rubber, leather, flogging, bondage and the whole spectrum, who could I talk to?
So, to deal with this I travelled the length and breadth of the continent attaching myself to European Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (ECMC) all over, looking to belong to a fetish family. Unfortunately, that family couldn't be in my home. Why was this?
Now working with young people on a weekly basis I am now aware that in a short space of time, it has changed. People are celebrated for being who they are. Returning from MRM8 last year I thought (perhaps in my still drunken state from a fantastic weekend) to travel home in my Rubber. Arriving in the early afternoon in my gear, alone, I was suddenly aware of my outfit, and felt that four letter F word grow inside, expecting to be mocked. But it never came!
I had forgotten one thing that Scottish people are - accepting. It is a well-known fact that we are famous for backhand compliments, the harsher they are, the more the person loves you. In the West coast where I live, it is another well-known fact that C-U-N-T is another name for your best friend. So why should I be nervous?
Following this experience travelling home from MRM, I was at Pride representing my work - an international bank - where I was encouraged to wear my Rubber to represent them?! Crazy. Later that day I travelled home to a small town. No issues? Why after all this time was I able to do this? Maybe I had nothing to fear after all?
For a few months now, we Scottish Rubbermen have been able to truly celebrate who we are. Bank holiday, DILF was on, so to the streets we took. For the first time, showing people just who we were. Men who like men but who love Rubber. And also, that we are normal. Bizarre how a pub crawl can be educating and inspiring to people. Very quickly developing a fan base and a following who enjoyed who we were, hearing comments like 'Your courage is inspiring' and 'wish more people would celebrate them' and personally hearing Fuck man I love your outfit'. And now there have been other Scottish Rubber men events since.
Since then several more drinks have been poured and bars have been introduced to our way and there's no looking back now.
I have spent years, working, encouraging, showing and leading. Lending out gear to guys, not (just) because I want them to wear it to jump into bed with me, but to help them discover who they are.
I am so thankful for the Italian leather and rubbermen who started helping me, and we as a community need to return the favour. So, to the Scottish men who have discovered who they are - help others, encourage others and work hard to grow our community. To those all over the country and the world reading this, who are awaiting their own discovery - take the help but remember that respect must be paid and earned to those who have gone before. We walk in their footprints and the path is clearer and freer of traps and weeds because of their struggle and strife.
It takes courage to put it on. Once you have done that then take that leap of faith and jump, we will be there to catch you. That is my promise.
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