Chicago is arguably the birthplace of the leather and fetish scene in the US. The exhibit “Excavating Experience: The Presence of LGBTQ People of Color in Cook County, IL” shows how people of color contributed to this culture.
The Leather Archives & Museum is a precious gem of a museum in the Rogers Park/Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. The leather and fetish world, not unlike the court system in the drag world, is a stabilizing substructure of the LGBTQ world at large. Organized balls, events, parties, and special interest bars have assured a cohesive community that documents its history.
The Leather Archives & Museum, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this fall, has been repeatedly named to popular offbeat tourist destination lists (Chicagoist, RoadTrippers, Chicago NPR station WBEZ, and more), and acts as a community hub for adult programming throughout the year, welcoming locals and tourists alike. Lectures, screenings, and events at the museum are diverse in nature, and its programming — such as the "Excavating Experience" exhibit — seeks to reflect contributions from everyone involved in the BDSM/leather/fetish/kink communities.
"Practicing kink is universally a part of sexual exploration,” says museum executive director Rick Storer. “The LA&M is excited for this exhibit to show how people of color in Chicagoland have practiced and performed leather/fetish sex, and how they have built community around it." Storer says exhibits like this one are critical to the museum's core mission, and that contributions to BDSM/leather/fetish/kink communities by people of color must be visible.
"Excavating Experience: The Presence of LGBTQ People of Color in Cook County, IL" runs until January 8t at the Leather Archives & Museum, 6418 N. Greenview Ave. in Chicago.