"I like to think that I have been a force for kindness and cooperation… for Strength, versus Force. "
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a letter released today from FetishMen San Diego Papa Tony:
It has been a very, very good run, and…
Now that I'm almost sixty-one years old, I'm ready for my next phase.
Tonight's Men's Discussion is the last event that I will be hosting for the foreseeable future.
I'm okay with that.
I've been a community leader for decades, and it's been an incredible journey.
Starting in 1981, I've created a lot of events for the kinky gay leathermen's community that became traditions.
I've hosted thousands (no exaggeration) of dance parties, discussions, annual events, educational classes, potluck socials, bar socials, kinky demos, play-parties, cruising events, and on and on.
I've also gladly helped with many other people's events and fundraisers.
I've judged, tallymastered and emcee'd many, many titleholder contests, and other fundraising events.
I've photographed many hundreds of public events and posted them online, because we lost so much of our history when so many of us died.
I've written thousands of articles, and made videos and audios.
I've created many websites, social columns, blogs and email lists.
I've mentored hundreds of new, rising stars, and I'm proud to have been the first to see their magnificence before anyone else ever did.
Best of all, I have connected many couples to each other, because I believe in love.
I know how rare that I am - I'm a gay leatherman of my age and experience, who didn't die, and who still stepped out to try to heal a Tribe that lost so much.
The wound in our hearts is going to still be around, long after I'm gone, but at least the newer generations are stepping up, and the healing is slowly taking place.
I'm proud of my record.
It hasn't been perfect, but nobody can say that I didn't put my whole heart and soul behind everything that I did.
I like to think that I have been a force for kindness and cooperation… for Strength, versus Force.
I can go into a different kind of future, knowing that I never held back from taking chances, and lived every day as if it were my last.
So, now what? My husband Dennis and I are heading off to Europe for the Grand Tour, as a way to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary (we got married in 1991).
After that, it's time for me to work on my own life, after taking care of so many others for so long.
If you see me at a public event, be sure to come up for a sweet, sweet hug.
I will never hold back from being present, holding space, and treasuring you, heart to heart.