Name: Thorsten Buhl
Age at election: 37
Club: LMC Vienna
My election promise was “building bridges”, bridges between young and well-established fetishists and clubs, bridges between East and West. With this intention I set out on a journey and, in addition to the large fetish events such as Leatherpride in Antwerp or Folsom in Berlin, I primarily visited smaller and remote events in the European leather scene. To do this, I advertised the dates in advance and reported on them retrospectively in order to motivate and inspire those interested in fetishes to look to the right and left and to bring smaller events into focus. So many clubs and organizations strive to shape and revitalize the leather and fetish scene every year. It is precisely this effort that deserves to be valued and recognized – by all of us.
Another concern that was important to me was the visibility of our lifestyle. By making fetishes visible to the public, it is possible to reduce prejudices and the associated rejection. Public relations is just as important for newcomers, simply to provide information about opportunities, contact points and appointments. Numerous television and newspaper reports have helped me immensely, as have direct conversations with people who are unfamiliar with fetishes but are interested. Although it is sometimes very time-consuming, it is always important to listen to people and provide support with advice and support, perhaps even just with words of encouragement. The majority of the response was positive, I was only confronted with a few negative things. I was aware from the start that my life would suddenly be very public and I was ready for it.
A personal highlight of my title year is the numerous new contacts and friendships that I made. Many valuable encounters have enriched my term and I am grateful for the mostly unvarnished look behind the scenes of the European leather scene. Honest feedback and genuine interest gave me motivation to work tirelessly and happily for our community. It was important to me to remain authentic and not to follow the wind. You can’t please everyone. That’s why you shouldn’t bow to other people’s ideas and don’t act elitist and arrogant, just as you shouldn’t feel better than others. We are a community with the same spirit and needs. The sash does not make me better, but equal to one of us, representing us for a limited period of time. Accordingly, every member of our community deserves respect for being a part of the whole and for increasing the diversity.