Friday, June 10, 2011

Leather Bear Tails: AEL - 20 years of Service

This Saturday marks AEL’s 20th anniversary. For twenty years, AEL took on serving the community by providing consistent events every month that strengthen and educate the New Mexico community. Although they started out with play parties, 12 years ago they also started the power munches. Now every month Stan and Kathryn put on a play party and a power munch, both safe venues for all levels of player as well as people that identity as poly, kink and fetish. This Saturday the anniversary party carries on the tradition of service to community and is giving out free door prizes to the attendees! Amazing, it is their 20th anniversary, and they are still giving back! As luck would have it, I sent off some questions to Stan and his girl Kathryn the organizers of AEL about the organization and its history. Here is what they had to say:


LB: Where did the group gets it’s name AEL, Alternative Erotic Lifestyles?


AEL: Remember that we were not there at the beginning, and did not found the group. The founders where a small group of people that got together at D. M.’ s home and decided to form, and name AEL.


The logo/colors were designed by me (Stan). In addition to the traditional meaning of the BDSM triskal, the addition of the Zia is to represent "BDSM in NM". The AEL colors were submitted to Quagmire, creator of the BDSM triskal, before being used. He approved its use by the group, and gave us rights to use this work as part of the group colors.


LB: What keeps the both of you doing this?


AEL: The fact that it is not just us doing the work makes it easier to keep going. It has evolved into a community effort. All of the people that host, you (Leather Bear) and your slave organizing Kinkskills, the individuals that regularly offer presentations, all make it happen. The other reason is seeing the need for continued community education/service.


LB: Did you ever think that AEL would keep going this long and this strong (no pun intended)?


AEL: Never stopped to think about it. There was always the thought of what to do next, and we never entertained the idea of AEL not continuing to develop.


LB: What has been your biggest surprise with AEL?


AEL: The reaction of people when asked to help. There has been an overwhelming willingness to join in and help. This has been especially true when it comes to more philanthropic efforts. This is a community filled with more creative talent than most would ever believe.


LB: What do you feel AEL brings to the table that is unique?


AEL: We are not a big group, but offer a balanced combination of social, play and educational outlets. Also, the fact that we have some very talented and skilled members makes the group great for the novice, as well as the experienced player.


LB: What have you learned from AEL?


AEL: That a group of people can come together to create something amazing. Personally, I have had to learn assertive diplomacy. Realizing that you have to take the unpopular stance at times, and need to stick to your standards, even if it is going to make some people less than happy, has been a hard, but important lesson.


LB: What do you want people to know about the group?


AEL: People should know that we are an open pan sexual group. We encourage tolerance, and aim to have a welcoming environment for everyone with an alternative bend to feel at home.


LB: What do you see as the future of AEL?


AEL: I see AEL continuing to develop as a cutting edge resource for community education, social networking, and community outreach.



Thank you to Stan and Kathryn for taking time to answer my questions!

On a personal note, I would like to say that when my slave and I were new to this community not only did AEL greet us with open arms. We also never felt awkward of gawked at, and this is a rare thing for a lesbian couple.We have always felt safe to play and relax. That you to AEL for giving us a home!



If you are interested in power munches, play parties, of hands on workshops in the Albuquerque area please contact:

aelmailing@gmail.com


If you are interested in an active online community please find:

Fetlife.com

Group name:

New Mexico Fetlifers

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