Tag Archives: GMSMA

Remembering Gil Kessler

Gil Kessler GMSMAGil Kessler, a longtime educator and a pillar of the leather community, passed away on June 5, 2022, at age 85. Gil was a kind-hearted man and a dear friend. He touched countless lives over the years.

Gil was born June 27, 1936. He was a longtime resident of the West Village of Manhattan, and he had a home in Port Jervis, N.Y. He also had lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. He worked as a math teacher in the New York City public schools, and in his retirement he co-authored a mathematics textbook. He was an avid reader of books, and he enjoyed movies, TV, theater, and the performing arts, all of which he could discuss at length and with great enthusiasm. For many years he was active in Times Squares, an LGBTQ+ square dancing club in New York City.

Gil is survived by a husband, Damani, as well as biological family members, many former students, and countless friends. He was predeceased by two life partners, Rick DiOrio, who died of AIDS in 1990, and Augie Kalin, who died of a major stroke in 2011.

As those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Gil will attest, he was an absolute joy to be with. He was friendly, charming, caring, and endearing. He was a gentle soul. He played the piano. He was known to smoke a little pot once in a while. He was also highly organized and efficient. He carried with him always a BIC 4-Color Retractable Ballpoint Pen and a small miniature notepad, which he would use to make notes to himself.

Gil, along with many others, was among the key officers and directors who served the gay male leather community via GMSMA (Gay Male S/M Activists), a trailblazing organization that disbanded in 2009. Gil was also a member of the Delta Brotherhood, the Eulenspiegel Society, and an honorary board member of the Leather Archives & Museum in Chicago. He served as a judge at IML (the International Mr. Leather contest) one year in Chicago.

It was through his work with GMSMA that Gil had the greatest impact. Among the organization’s many educational endeavors were SIGs (Special Interest Groups) designed for novices to learn about s/m play in a safe and supportive environment. The SIGs taught participants all about safety, technique, and the psychological aspects of engaging in such activities as flogging, whipping, rope bondage, chains, mummification, and many other activities — all without any hint of shame or embarrassment whatsoever.

As Gil himself reported for NewsLink, the GMSMA publication, his Novices group for the 1997-98 season had 22 participants with everyone taking part as both top and bottom. The 13-session course went from November to June, meeting every other Sunday afternoon, with four-hour sessions workshopping all the basic topics, plus others such as strapping, verbal abuse, body and head harnesses, and temperature torture. By the third session, Gil said, the group was like a family, and by the last session, no one wanted it to end.

Gil led dozens of these SIGs over the years for hundreds upon hundreds of participants. It’s impossible to overstate the impact of Gil’s work over the years.


While these words are heartfelt and sincere, they are incomplete and do not do justice to Gil’s memory. I am saddened that there has not been a celebration of life for Gil, or even an online memorial where people can post memories. If someone who is reading this is interested in organizing a gathering, perhaps something at the Center at some point, I do hope that they will step forward.

Excellent book: ‘Twentieth Century Leatherman’ by Drew D. Kramer

I just finished a fantastic book by Drew D. Kramer, “Twentieth Century Leatherman: An Argument, A History, A Love Story.”

Drew is a seasoned BDSM veteran who recounts his exploits at several legendary NYC establishments including the Mineshaft. There is some hot bondage, as well as lots of flogging and whipping. The story, lovingly told, takes place over several decades.

A semi-autobiographical novel depicting the life, loves, joys, and heartbreaks of a gay man as he evolves from novice submissive in 1970s New York City to mature leatherman in early 21st-century Palm Springs, California

I was greatly moved by his book, and I hope the author writes another one soon! You can purchase ‘Twentieth Century Leatherman’ on Amazon. Highly recommended!

Save the date: Memorial service for Andrew Harwin

Andrew Harwin, who died recently, was a member of Inferno, Delta, GMSMA and many other organizations. He was one of the organizers of the popular Folsom Street East block party here in NYC. There will be a memorial service for Andrew on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the LGBT Community Center in New York. It will be a wonderful opportunity to reminisce, to connect with those who knew and remember Andrew, and to help celebrate his life.

Andrew harwin

David Stein: Writer, editor, activist and publisher

I learned with great sadness last night that David Stein, also known as slave david stein, has died. I do not know any of the details.


David was an author and publisher of BDSM-themed books, both fiction and nonfiction. His most popular works included “Carried Away: An SM Romance,” an erotic novel; and “Ask the Man Who Owns Him: The Real Lives of Gay Masters and Slaves,” a non-fiction book in which a number of real-life Master/slave couples share their stories. David self-published his books — along with many more by other authors — via his publishing company, Perfectbound Press. His fiction and non-fiction writing was also published in Drummer, DungeonMaster, Mach and many other gay underground magazines back in the day.

David was one of the founders of GMSMA (Gay Male S/M Activists), which was a New York City-based organization of gay men dedicated to “safe, sane, consensual s/m.” As an officer of GMSMA and longtime volunteer and editor of NewsLink, the organization’s newsletter, David helped educate countless others on safety and technique. He wrote a column on safety for Bound & Gagged magazine, called “Bond+Aid.” Over the years he was a volunteer, speaker and presenter at many leather and SM events, including numerous International MAsT (Masters and Slaves Together) weekends, the Leather Leadership Conference, the Master/slave Conference, South Plains Leatherfest, and Leather Pride Night.

He was also an active on many online discussion groups over the years, including FetLife.

His most recent project was “Our Lives, Our History: Consensual Master/slave Relationships From Ancient Times to the 21st Century,” a non-fiction anthology edited by Peter Tupper, which he published under Perfectbound Press. His books are also available on Amazon.

According to his profile on FetLife, David was in service to Sir Brian. He is also survived by many former Masters and fellow slaves, as well as countless friends. He will be greatly missed.

TBT: Chastity striptrase at Folsom Street East

I took these pictures of my dear friend Ray (of blessed memory) at the Folsom Street East block party here in NYC back in 2015. Ray sure knew how to rock a chain collar and fetish wear — and he showed off his metal chastity cage underneath! Check it out:


Folsom Street East recently held its 20th event, and I am proud to have been involved in helping launch it along with many others from GMSMA. The event has raised many thousands of dollars for charity over the past two decades. Official website here.

Sports and S/M

I just dug this one out of my GMSMA newsletter archives. The article below is from the publication NewsLink, of which I was editor for several years. That’s ME pictured on the left hand side in the picture below. I was the tied-up football player model for the demonstration conducted by Greg. What follows is a “program report” from an event that GMSMA, a NYC-based educational organization, offered on sports-themed S/M scenes:





Having Fun With Jocks and S/M

By Richard

Blowing a referee’s whistle, GMSMA kicked off its second fall program, “Sports SM,” on September 27, 2000. A packed crowd of people wearing wrestling gear, referee’s uniforms, and football gear were eager to hear about the four panelists’ experiences with sport fetishes and SM.

Whether or not you are athletically inclined, the jockstrap remains the ubiquitous accessory of kink, says Peter B. Did you know that the jock strap’s history spans over 120 years? From its humble beginnings as the “jockey strap” for Boston bicyclists, it was given to soldiers around the turn of the century to reduce “scrotal fatigue.” Today, the jock strap has evolved into a variety of designs, along with its pal, the groin cup. On display were jocks for hockey and boxing, with groin cups for cricket (from Australia), for hockey (from Sweden). For more information, visit the quintessential jockstrap web site at https://www.allkink.com.




“Hockey is my mistress and domination,” says Mr. Z. “It’s a sadistic mistress because hockey gets you injured.” Mr. Z spoke about the parallels between SM and hockey.   Take the “cup check,” for instance — taking the butt end of his hockey stick, a player will come up behind a fellow player and put the stick between the other player’s legs and tap his cup. Or, remember the film Youngblood (1986), when hockey teammates pinned Rob Lowe to a table and shaved his groin?

He suggested the following scenes for “hockey SM”: 1) putting clothespins on your bottom’s butt, then snapshooting them off with the hockey stick; 2) shooting street hockey balls at the bottom; or 3) the bottom, wearing hockey gloves, tries to get at the hockey puck while you play keep away.


Football Gear Fetishes


Dressed in football gear, Greg is drawn to the mouthpiece and the neck roll. He gets a turn-on dressing up another guy in football gear, then tying him up. He gave us a demonstration of how to properly don football gear, using Fred as a model:

1) Start with a guy with a cup

2) Put on the official NFL socks

3) Put on hip pads

4) Don the girdle

5) Pull up the football pants

6) Put on the football shoes

7) Put on the shirt

8) Put on triceps pads and elbow guards

9) Put on rib pads (for quarterbacks)

10) Put on shoulder pads

11) Tape things down

12) Don the football jersey

13) Lace up the football shorts/pants




A boxing scene can be a good mindfuck, says Guy. He presented a dramatic reading of his experiences with a bottom in DC who had face punching fantasies. Before meeting him, Guy instructed his bottom to take aspirin and drink lots of water, “to bleed more satisfyingly when [he] busted him up with [his] fists.” The most important part of the scene is the insertion of the mouthpiece-“it pushes out the lips, makes you looked stupid, really turns you into a human punching bag.”


You get the picture. Guy says that, “in ‘edgeplay’ stuff like this, you learn profound things about yourself, and about other people-about the power of the unconscious.”


Getting into SM Sports Scenes


Adding sports fetishes to your SM repertoire shouldn’t break your budget. Almost all the items shown this evening can be found at your local sporting goods stores. A hockey stick runs about ten to forty dollars, while it costs $300 for a new football uniform. However, because football helmets must be sized to the wearer, sporting goods stores will not let you buy a football helmet for someone else who is not there to try it on.


Finally, as with all SM scenes, it is very important to have a discussion with your fellow player before getting into the scene. Gauging the player’s experience and knowledge is especially important where a sports scene involves injury (such as taking punches in the gut or face). For instance, people who have fantasies about being seriously injured may only have a limited understanding of the reality of having those injuries.



For more information about GMSMA NewsLink, click for this posting

Also check out this posting about the final meeting of GMSMA, which was in 2009.