Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General

What Is Leather List?
Leather List (“L L”) is a State of Washington Non-Profit Corporation which owns & operates LeatherList.org . It is applying for Federal 501(c)(3) status.

L L is a fundraising portal or platform for non-profit organizations (“NPOs”) which support Leather peoples’ lives, cultures and vital interests every day. L L provides services & resources exclusively to local Leather memberships (clubs, & conference organizations too) via the Leather List Local Program.

L L is not a national membership organization. It’s a coordinated program: online driven, and reinforced by local action.

How did the idea of L L begin?
Robert Odell, LICSW actively developed L L from late 2015 through 2017. It began with a personal search to provide local Leather “community service”.

With 19 years as a licensed mental health professional (LICSW), social and political science training, non-profit leadership & management and private sector entrepreneurial life, he re-examined Leather’s nearly 40 year legacy of mutual aid, charitable fundraising and philanthropy. 

From experience growing up in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Pacific NW Leather, L L is the culmination of his life’s work.

What is LeatherList.org?
LeatherList.org is the online platform for Leather Service To Communities. It lets people directly support Leather people and cultures through a portfolio of local and national NPOs in the fields of social services, health, research, education and law.

LeatherList.org uses well-established, secure software to create an internet portal, connecting donor and recipient securely and directly, through an established payment service (PayPal).

The site allows visitors to learn about the different NPOs that serve Leather people and cultures LeatherList.org allows individuals to “bundle” donations, to several NPOs at a time, in a single, secure online transaction.

How does L L support Radical/Sex-positive life, the core of Leather culture?
L L supports Sex Positive Centers (SPCs) that are qualified Federal 501(c)(7) non-profit corporations. In line with L L’s mission to support education, these 501(c)(7) must sponsor on-site, in person classes on best radical/sex-positive practices (including full consent-based classes). This education must be available to members, and the eligible public. Classes may be programmed through a separate 501(c)(3) foundation or other NPO entity.
Is L L a resource list?
Absolutely yes! In fact, all eight Leather Lists is a reference site for people seeking nonprofit services and resources. Both nationally and locally, people can refer to resources such as Leather institutions, sexuality, gender, health and relationships. And then there’s the Resources pages on top of that!
Why does L L support NPOs that deal with reproductive freedom and health?
Because of the intersection between Radical/Sex Positive Life, a core part of Leather cultures, and reproductive freedom and health. It’s irresponsible for L L to support the former and not the latter. For many women, these issues are not divisible, and L L agrees 100%!
What is L L's status as a non-profit?

L L has officially applied for Federal 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, with results expected in August 2018

What is "Leather Service To Communities"?

Leather Service To Communities (LSTC) is the program that captures L L’s mission and vision. It empowers local Leather clubs and cultures. LSTC seeks to honor Leather history and represent today’s Leather’s sexual, racial, gender/non-conforming and relational cultures.

Is "Leather Service To Communities" the same as Leather "community service"?
No. Leather “community service” typically means service by Leather people to the Leather community in some way.  L L is about service by Leather people to the wider communities they live in. It’s all about committing to serve their own vital interests, and seeing the world benefit as a whole. Because Leather life is so diverse and rich, they can choose from a wide range of Leather Service To Communities.
How did L L decide on these five ways to support Leather?
Leather people populate many different oppressed communities in America, be they racial, sexual or (non)gender-oriented. Leather cultures have historically stood up for their most vulnerable members. This belief motivates L L.

L L developed its five ways of supporting Leather-identified people and cultures by asking basic questions that help organize communities and the basic principles of mutual support:

Who are Leather people? What do they do? How do they relate to one another? What vital interests do they share? What is the best way to achieve them?

The answers began an organizational development process that honored Leather’s history while also serving today’s highly diverse Leather.

The process of Leather people developing a social support system began nearly 4o years ago with the onset of HIV/AIDS. It has grown greatly since, primarily through multiple organizations within Men’s Leather cultures. L L commits to continuing this work, supporting NPOs currently funded by Leather, and developing new areas of support.

Is there more information on these five ways?
Yes. Here’s additional background on the five ways that L L supports Leather.

  • HEALTH & MEDICINE

Support for local, affordable, preventive and kink-aware medical services honors Leather history. It remains anchored in AIDS prevention & treatment, with more gender and Kink-aware medicine. LeatherList.org also supports Kink and Poly-aware medical and mental health services, as well as community based, sliding fee and discounted and pro bono programs. As national health care policy falters, the “heart” of Leather culture and charity originates in the history of early AIDS response.

  • LGBTQ SUPPORT

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual people are heavily represented in Leather cultures, both historically and today. Socially, economically and politically, all LGBTQ communities have been under constant challenge from bigotry and hatred in the U.S. Queer/Non-conforming genders have received the latest brunt of reactionary attack, and acted out “gender panic.” The cultural & legal pushback to equal marriage continues. Leather people and cultures have historically stood up for their most vulnerable members.

  • NATIONAL LEATHER INSTITUTIONS

In any culture, the existence of a range of national (non-regional) institutions carrying that culture’s name is an important development. National institutions represent permanence and importance, particularly critical considering that Leather’s diverse minorities are often subjected to erasure, discrimination and marginalization. A larger number of such organizations, across different areas of life and work, validate that a culture is a permanent part of a country’s population. (On Local Leather Lists, “State Leather Institutions” reflect this value at the state level.

  • RADICAL/SEX POSITIVE LIFE

The historic roots of Men’s Leather show how erotic and sexual freedom, even when severely threatened, was a core element of a human liberation movement that is still active today. We see this liberation today in Leather cultures (Leathersex defines its more radical, spiritual and erotic elements) and the Sex Positive movement. BDSM, Kink and Power Transfer are major areas of diversity developed as a liberation movement by Leather cultures over four generations. Historians, anthropologists and sociologists have validated Leather’s position in human and cultural sexual development.

  • RELATIONSHIP FREEDOM

Relationship Freedom is a well understood part of Leather cultural history. Master/slave and power transfer relationships, which bridge monogamy and  consensual non-monogamy (“CNM”) is core to many Leather cultures.  Leather also knows different types of community: Families; Nations, Tribes; Houses, Packs, et al. Leather conferences often include education on these relationship skills. Yet in U.S. workplaces and many families, anyone in these relationships are subject to discrimination at work and socially.

Is Leather List a business, and what does the Board stand to gain from its operations?
L L is not a “business” like a for-profit, private enterprise. Leather List is a nonprofit corporation. Financially It must operate without enriching any Board or staff member or it risks losing its status.. Its financial reports and minutes will be published on its blog, the LSTC Journal. L L was begun as a service to Leather people & cultures.

How Leather List Works

Why are there National and Local Leather Lists?
Leather List is actually eight (8) lists: National plus seven Local Lists. Leather people are everywhere in the U.S., increasingly diverse and appear (not formally measured) to be growing in number. Support is needed in the form of local services and national resources. Leather people’s vital interests, including human sexuality, relationship freedom, social support and health are at stake.

The eight lists also reflects L L’s knowledge that local Leather leadership is at the heart of Leather people & cultures.  

What is a LeatherList.org membership about?
Free site membership speeds contributions – pre-loads basic contributor data into the cart so that NPOs can say thank you. Members can also comment on the blog (LSTC Journal) Add your leadership voice!
How do I know if a Leather List NPO is properly managed?
All Leather List NPOs have registered with Guidestar.org, the leading directory for NPOs, filed mission statement, and submitted required tax and financial statements. Leather List interviews NPO leaderships, and consults GreatNonprofits.org for additional qualitative information.
How do these non-profits help Leather people and cultures?
LeatherList.org’s NPOs either PracticeProtect, ResearchEducate, or Care for who Leather people are, and the lives they lead. L L presents a monthly updated “portfolio” of NPOs that work every day for Leather’s most vulnerable members.
Can you say more about how they help Leather?
The NPOs supported by L L serve Leather people and cultures in five ways:

  • Practice: The ability and freedom to safely practice leading a radical/sex-positive life, explore relationship freedom and express erotic, sexual and gender identities.
  • Research: Psychological, medical.and health care research into Leathersexuality, including BDSM, Kink and spiritual practices. Psychological, sociological research into relational life, including intentional and power exchange forms, and consensual non-monogamy
  • Education: Education in the arts and skills of Leathersexuality and intentional/power exchange type relationships. Continuing medical education to develop appropriate standards of care for radical/sex-positive patients
  • Protection: Legal and social service support for LGBTQ people & cultures, radical/sex-positive life and relationship freedom.
  • Care For:To provide medical or mental health or preventive services at low sliding scale cost; sexuality and gender knowledgeable

Care For dates back nearly 40 years of Leather charitable support for AIDS cure, treatment, and prevention

What is the L L blog?
The blog provides a forum with ongoing, influential dialogue about Leather people, cultures and service. It is a vital part of L L’s commitment to transparency and inclusion.
How does Leather List manage its Board of Directors?
Leather List is formally committed to the standards developed by BoardSource. Here are the key areas: Board Orientation; CEO Oversight; Board Composition; Ethics & Transparency; Board Performance
Does LeatherList.org share information about contributors to NPOs?
Technically, no.PayPal forwards the contributor’s name and email address. This allows the NPO (including Leather List, when it receives a tip) to directly acknowledge the gift from the contributor. Each NPO has its own policy about other use of information it receives.
How does L L itself earn money?
Presently, L L has one source of income. At the end of each donation made on LeatherList.org – to local and/or national NPOs  – contributors can decide whether or not to leave a tip for Leather List. This income is used to maintain LeatherList.org, and to fund L L’s services to local Leather clubs and organizations.
Does Leather List provide other services besides fundraising?
Yes. In addition to operating LeatherList.org, it creates sponsorships between local NPOs and Leather clubs. It also supports clubs with social media services. The L L Local Program Guide gives clubs a model for making their sponsorship successful.
Does L L report its own income and expenses?
L L is committed to maintaining a high level of transparency in all of its operations. Over and above reporting required for Federal 501(c)(3) non-profit status,L L will provide a quarterly performance summary on its blog.
Can contributors support local Leather anywhere in the U.S.?
Yes! A Leather person in Miami can support another in N. Carolina, Kansas or Arizona. Use L L / Local to find – and fund – services anywhere in the U.S.! This is a very strong capability for Leather people needing support in specific locations.
How does L L create secure, direct contributor-to-NPO donations?
The ability to create direct funding to NPOs online has been developed with well-established software developers, including Paypal.
How does L L practice diversity and inclusion?
By inclusively building L L leadership from the ground up. L L solicited feedback about its core structure & services from a diverse panel of Leather leaders around the U.S. L L’s By-Laws are requirements to reflect that diversity on its Board. The combined effect of all L L NPOs is to bring the fight against racism, sexism and gender discrimination. Visually, LeatherList.org validates Leather’s diversity, attempting to represent today’s diverse Leather people.
Who handles customer service if there's a question about a donation?
All customer service is handled by Paypal

For NPOs

What must NPOs do to be considered for LeatherList.org?
They must work within one of the five ways that L L supports Leather: Radical/Sex-Positive Life, National Leather Institutions, LGBTQ Support, Community Health & Medicine and Relationship Freedom.They must either PracticeProtect, ResearchEducate, or Care for Leather people & cultures.  They must be 501(c)(3), 501(c)(7) or state NPO, and registered financial statements with Guidestar.org
Are there any costs for NPOs to be on LeatherList.org?
The only direct cost is the PayPal service fee on each donation. This is 2.2% + .30 charge per donation. Any NPO leader will tell you that that is well below their average cost of securing donations.
How will Leather List promote and market LeatherList.org?
LeatherList.org will launch with L L/ National and L L/Pacific NW. A professional-level word-of-mouth campaign will build over a six month period following a Spring 2018 launch. A tour of speaking engagements and focused internet & professional social media marketing will be pursued. Leather conferences throughout the U.S. will receive promotional materials. Emphasizing LeatherList.org’s unique intersectional strategy, Leather List will emphasize in-depth editorial coverage.
How can other NPOs apply to get on Leather List?
The application to be on a Leather List will be posted online on Connect.

After Board approval of the application, each NPO is interviewed. L L seeks stability of leadership; clarity, quality and relevance to Leather of mission & vision; achievable goals; track record of results.

Eligibility recommendations for new NPOs to be added are made by the Finance Committee to the Board of Directors on a monthly basis.

Is there a way for List NPOs to fund special campaigns?
Yes! Once an NPO is qualified to be on L L. Please contact L L for details through the Contact page.
What if my NPO is new or isn't listed on Guidestar.org ?
Sometimes, filling with Guidestar can be overlooked by an NPO. Please contact L L through the Contact page if that’s the case.