Caressa Lyric Dunn. Photo by Fetish Photography by Alpha Bayard

As I walk into the leather contest area of Embers in Portland Oregon, I hear the murmur of a multitude of conversations and breathe in the most wonderful concoction – the scent of leather, musk, and something sweet. In scanning my surroundings, I find the source of sweetness as I am instantly fixated by the wearer. I was mesmerized by how neatly the corset stays ran along her body, the way the crinoline made her dress flow, and how fierce she looked.

Femmes… They hold a variety of roles and positions in our community as Leather continues to diversify and we continue the process of purging our misogyny. I had the pleasure of getting a small glimpse into the world Femmes in the kink community speaking with Northwest Handler 2017 and newly sashed International Puppy Trainer 2018 Caressa Lyric Dunn.

So far, in the history of the contests, Caressa was the first female Northwest Handler.So far, in the history of the contest, Caressa was the first female Northwest Handler. Though amongst International Trainers, she is not alone, Mistress Simone, who coins herself as a “curvy professional domina,” and Daddy Rose brought Femmes front and center to the international kink world. These International Trainers carry around this powerful essence in their presence – the power of authenticity, and the will to be who they are regardless of the opinions of others.

When did you start your journey in Leather? When did you realize you were kinky?

Looking back, I’ve always been kinky. Playing “military” as a kid where you had to take a certain amount of lashes to advance, or finding the BDSM themed chat rooms on AOL/Yahoo Messenger in my teens.

I started my journey into Leather in March of 2012.

What obstacles have you faced as a Femme and as a female in kink spaces especially as a Handler/Trainer?

Femme invisibility is probably the most prevalent obstacle I’ve faced. I think not being acknowledged or seen as a Queer woman in Queer space has sometimes been a challenge. As a female & Fierce Femme Handler/Trainer in a largely gay cis male dominated fetish, I am sometimes met with apprehension because of people’s preconceived notions about why I am there, due to my appearance.

As a person who often passes for cis and white, I have been given a level of privilege to walk in those spaces and not feel questioned. Often in our spaces, if you’re not the type of person the attendees find attractive or want to sexualize, you might be feeling the same apprehension.

How has having won NW Handler as well as IPTC Trainer empowered you to be a self advocate?

Winning the titles has not increased my ability to self advocate. I have always been a confident, outspoken, self-actualized individual. What it has provided is an increased reach within the community that allows others like me, or others that feel outside of the norm to advocate for space for themselves within the community.

If you could spend a weekend with any Leather/Kink person, who would it be and why?

I would love to go on a long road trip with Tig Natious, Ms. SELF 2016-2017. I know we would have an amazing adventure and lots of Femme bonding and scheming for future fun!

I had the pleasure of having Tig Natious black my boots in July and I’m currently fanning myself at the thought of such a road trip, please video series it ladies!

The more we accept the differences in journey’s and expressions in our communities, the more beautifully authentic we will be. We should be willing to flow like a river, strong with diverse life and fed by the waters of many, or else we will become stagnant.