Letter to the Editor

A Letter to the editor of Dom-sub Lifestyle eZine....

There are rights violations going on in the Utah leather community that I have no desire to see spread to other communities. Some are being censored, some are being asked to 'out' confidential information and disclose the identity of someone who wishes to remain anonymous. There are sanctions and litigation's currently in force and in progress in Utah.

The facts:

#1. Utah Power Play was an incorporated nonprofit in the state of Utah. They didn't meet filing requirements and were involuntarily dissolved by the state. They continued to function as a corporation, publicly stating they were UtahPowerPlay, Incorporated after the dissolution. They reincorporated under a slightly different name while failing to disclose financial information to board members in good standing. There is current litigation on this issue.

Utah Power Play has moderated their elist and removed their website, resources which belong to and remain in the possession of the membership body. This was done without a vote and without listing the criteria for posting. They have censored some members and have refused to allow discussion by those members on this issue via the UtahPowerPlay elist.

#2. UPEX has sanctioned a member for refusing to 'out' confidential information. Specifically, a complaint was made to one of it's members regarding a demonstration and this member refused to divulge who made the complaint. This member was given a letter putting her on probation and barring her participation in voting activities unless and until she divulged this information as she was deemed to be acting on behalf of UPEX though she holds no office in UPEX and did not ask to act on behalf of UPEX but rather was contacted without prior knowledge by the complainant and without her consent. She refused to out the complainant and resigned from the organization upon receiving notification of the sanction against her. The board of UPEX, by insisting this information be outed to them violated their own bylaws ratified by the first membership body and amended and ratified subsequently on several occasions. The board of UPEX has stated that since the complainant was not a member of UPEX, they did not enjoy the rights given to UPEX members to have their identities be free from disclosure. The fact is, while the board of UPEX feels it was 'implied' UPEX does not 'know' who made the complaint, so doesn't know if this person is a member of UPEX or not.

These two organizations are not linked other than by the fact they are both in Utah and there are individuals who enjoy membership in both organizations. Currently, because of the censorship on the UtahPowerPlay elist, UtahPowerPlay members are using the UPEX elist for discussion.

This, however, is not about Utah or even leather in general. It's about the rights we all enjoy as citizens of this country. The right to free speech. The right to remain silent. The right of privacy and even the right to complain anonymously without fear of repercussion. I am not personally effected by these events unless one considers that 'all' of the citizens of this country are effected by rights violations of a single individual. If your organization currently enjoys reciprocity with either UPEX or UtahPowerPlay or you are considering joining one of these two organizations, you have the right to know you may be sanctioned by either one for simply insisting on your basic American rights either by speaking or by refusing to speak on any given issue. You have the right to know that you may have your name disclosed to complete strangers whether you belong to the organizations or not for simply voicing a concern or making a complaint.

The vanilla community is running scared of leather folk right now. Canceling events, calling in the big guns etc. They would still our progress and our voices given half a chance. Let's not give them that opportunity by closing the door even a tiny bit on basic human rights. Let us not go quietly into that good night. I urge you, as my fellow leathermen, to find out for yourselves, to determine for yourselves, and judge for yourselves, if UPEX and UtahPowerPlay are the sorts of organizations with which you want to be associated.

In leather pride,

Celeste Mejia