Tag Archives: In Memoriam

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.

Remembering Master Jack

I learned yesterday with great sadness that Master Jack passed away a few months ago, in November 2021, of a heart attack. Over more than two decades, Master Jack hosted countless men from all over the world for heavy, multi-day bondage scenes at his home dungeons in California and then in Arizona.

Master Jack was also a trailblazer on the Internet with his very own subscription-based website — Bondagezine — which dated all the way back to the 1990s and had tons of hot stories, photographs and lots of original videos.

Master Jack Bondagezine

Although it was a bit clunky, the Bondagezine site was a vast resource. Sadly, it is no longer available. This is a shame because the site had so much irreplaceable content. Master Jack also had a second site called Bondagemaster, which is still online although I suspect it too might be coming down soon.

Master Jack Bondagemaster


Master Jack didn’t share many pictures of himself, but here are a few pictures of some of the many prisoners he hosted over the years, taken from his website:

Master Jack Bondagezine


Master Jack also encouraged and inspired countless other men over the years, including Mark Bind, PFC Pflege — and myself! If anyone would like to share any memories of Master Jack, I invite you to post a comment in the comments section below, or you can send me an email.

Thierry Mugler in leather

I think the brilliant fashion designer Thierry Mugler, who died yesterday, was at home at gay leather bars. Here’s a great picture of him that I stole from the internet:

Thierry Mugler in leather


Among many other accomplishments, Mugler designed the dresses worn by internationally renowned fashion models for George Michael’s video for his song “Too Funky.” These dresses were part of a recent exhibit at the art museum in Montreal.

Remembering Harold Cox

Harold Cox passed away on September 8, 2021. Among his many accomplishments, he was a founder of the Delta organization and a founder and owner of the L.U.R.E. bar in New York City. For many years he was the editor of Checkmate magazine.

Harold was a collector of handcuffs and knew how to use them. He mentored countless men over many decades, myself included. I was among many men who were lucky enough to spend time locked in Harold’s chains, behind bars in one of his many jail cells!

He was a military veteran, and he was a college professor. He loved opera.

He is survived by his longtime partner, Bob.

Harold Cox Delta

Harold Cox

On a personal note, Harold was one of the primary influencers in my own journey. He locked me up in metal many, many times over the years. He inspired me to launch the Metalbond site, and he often encouraged me to keep this website going.

I have so much love and respect for this man.

An article about Harold is here

His Recon profile is here

Photo credits: Jason C., SeriousBondage.com and SeriousMaleBondage.com

Remembering Mr. Bratman

The leather community has lost a kind-hearted Old Guard Master.

Mr Bratman


Mr. Bratman was a true bondage enthusiast who dished out plenty of restraints, discipline and protocol — and lots and lots of love. He grew up in Baltimore and lived in New York City and San Francisco before moving to North Carolina, where he frequently hosted play parties at his facility.

“He died peacefully of complications from his heart condition. He was alert and socially active up until the end,” wrote Dan in an email.

Richter says there will likely be a memorial in the fall.

I spent an entire week with Mr. Bratman in San Francisco back in the early 1990s. He took me out in public every day with a fresh mohawk and a VERY big collar. The picture of myself in front of my then-employer’s corporate headquarters that I posted recently, was taken by Mr. Bratman on that visit! Each night it was a different form of bondage. I’ll never forget those experiences.

I am sharing this with love and respect for Mr. Bratman. There will never be another like him.

— Metal, June 9, 2021

In memory of Paul

There’s an empty cage right now where a happy occupant ought to be. Paul, aka Bear Paul, a kind and loving man, died last week as the result of a health issue. Paul enjoyed bondage, especially locking metal restraints, and most of all, cages! He was a native of Ireland, but he spent much time in the United States with his companion and “partner in crime,” Mike, aka Master Mike, with whom he shared many memorable experiences over the years.

Bear Paul and Master Mike


Metal would like to express heartfelt condolences to Mike, whose heart is broken over Paul’s passing.