5 Questions with Hardy Haberman
Hardy Haberman, 57, is an author, filmmaker, blogger, political activist, magician, BDSM expert and devout Christian. He has been involved in the Dallas LGBT community since the 1970s. Haberman, who’s done books and movies on BDSM, is education chair for the National Leather Association International. Haberman’s blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.
What is BDSM?
BDSM stands for “bondage and discipline, sadomasochism.” I prefer “sexual magic” for the SM part and others use “dominance and submission” for the DS and even “master and slave” for the SM or “boy and daddy” for the BD. Just a note, when I say boy, I mean an adult who likes to assume the role of a boy. It has nothing to do with an underage person.
In a nutshell, what does all that stuff mean?
Beyond the alphabet soup of the abbreviation, it’s really about a power exchange. Participants in the scene consensually exchange power. Each player in the scene either takes control or relinquishes control. For a person in an SM scene, that power usually takes the form of sensations. If the scene is good, both participants are invigorated, stimulated and often erotically aroused.
But you also view it as a political statement?
Any form of radical sexuality is a political statement in that it challenges incorrect assumptions. More specifically, living out in the open as a leatherman for me is about living an authentic life. If I were to hide my kink, I would find myself living a double life, and any lesbian or gay man who has lived in the closet can tell you that’s not a productive way to live.
Why has BDSM been so stigmatized?
Just as being gay or lesbian used to be considered “abnormal,” a lot of people see the trappings of leather/BDSM and immediately assume it’s dangerous. What we in the BDSM community do is safe, sane and consensual. Though we may be “differently pleasured,” most leatherfolk are no more dangerous than anyone else. Luckily, a new generation of BDSM enthusiasts is arriving without the emotional baggage. They don’t see their kink as anything other than part of who they are, just as the new generation of lesbians and gays have less trouble coming out.
How do you rectify this lifestyle with your Christian faith.
As a gay leatherman and a Christian, I don’t feel like there’s any conflict. Jesus calls us to live life abundantly, and that is impossible if you can’t accept yourself for who you are. My sexuality is a gift from my creator, and though it may be different from other people’s gifts, it is no less important. I even wear my leather to my church, the Cathedral of Hope. It is in many ways a ministry to other leatherfolk who may see me there. That way they will know they are welcome, too.
This article appeared in the October 19, 2007 edition of the Dallas Voice.