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[personal profile] shirtlifterbear
Non-paying hangers-on are what kills Bear Runs.

And Pride events.

And Democratic grassroots organizations.

And liberal churches.

You know what you call those non-contributing cling-ons?


The leeches come to the events, they party with the out-of-towners, but they won't register for the event or join or volunteer or contribute in any way. They want to romp, but not earn the right to do so.

And the runs go under like IBR and Bear Bust. And the groovy church has to let go of their exciting new minister. And the idiotic Republican former-sheriff gets re-elected to Congress in a toss-up district.

If you want to vote in an organization's election, you must be a paid member in good standing. If you aren't, I'm sorry, but you've abdicated your right to complain and frankly, you have demonstrated that you aren't interested in being on the team. If you want to change how things work at an event, show up to the planning sessions. Don't have any money to pay for the registration? Volunteer. Don't have the time to volunteer, either? Then you don't have to time to party with us, do you?

Getting to exercise the privileges means that you also have to fulfill the responsibilities of membership.

I have no sympathy for comments from hecklers in the peanut gallery, which is all non-paying attendees are.

Just thought I'd point that out.

Don't like being called on your leeching ways?



I may have some frustration tied up in this exact issue, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

I told a whining complainer at Spring Thaw "I'm sorry, [redacted], but did you come to a single meeting? Did you volunteer on the committee that planned this event? Did you help in any way, shape or form? No? Then I don't have to listen to a word you're saying."

And I turned on my heel and walked away to go do something constructive.

It's the little things that make it worthwhile.

It may not have been politically astute, mind you, but in all honesty, if I'd had to placate one more leeching bitch-mouth, I was going to quit the organization.


Date: 2011-07-12 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ROFL! Perfect, absolutely perfect. Please provide the YouTube link hahahaha

Date: 2011-07-12 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh how I wish there were a video of me telling him off!


Date: 2011-07-12 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
wait...Bear Bust is folding too?!?

Date: 2011-07-12 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The first incarnation of it died at the P-House!

Date: 2011-07-12 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
awww. that all sucks. I'll admit back in the days when I was active in things like churches or girl scouts, and broke- I wouldn't always have the extra money to contribute, but I'd give as much of my time as I could. But I did get tired of those who had opinions about things they never got involved enough in to have any influence over.

Currently we have some friends who own a small art shop and while we can't afford any of the art, we attend all the opening parties with booze (I make customs drinks for each show) and snacks for the customers. It's a small way to help support a friend's business and it's better than nothing!

Date: 2011-07-12 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's exactly what you do when you're broke:

You help how you can!

If you don't help in anyway, you don't have the right to bitch!


Date: 2011-07-12 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2011-07-12 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Or at least have suckers.

Date: 2011-07-12 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you want to vote in an organization's election, you must be a paid member in good standing.

I would counter argue that if organizations are going to take membership dues from people, the organization needs to allow people to do more than open up a wallet once a year and actually get involved with the organization.

I would say that leeches are part of the problem. The other part of the problem is insular bear club leadership that won't let new people get involved, instead maintaining a system of hegemonic selectivity that allows only the "right" people in--and that's when leadership feels like actually stepping down.

When I lived in Orlando, Florida (1995-2009), I tried to get active in the BOCF many times--both the club and Bear Bust. Every time, I got the same run around: "Oh, we'll try to find something for you to do." Leadership never returned emails or phone calls. People had the same problem, and it looks like the club has severely withered even in the two years since I left.

Once settled in NC, I joined the Carolina Bear Lodge and again tried to get involved. The local coordinator plans one dinner a month and won't let anyone else use the local mailing list to plan things. Pitch an idea, and he'll run it as his own. And moreover, the one dinner a month is a chance for the coordinator to pitch his latest MLM/get rich quick scheme to the people there. "Hey guys, we're a community, and I'm starting something. Support me?" as business cards or flyers are circulated around the table. Not even the local board members attend the monthly dinners.

At the club and run level, I've tried to get involved, and every episode has been little more than lies and broken promises. "Oh...I know I said you could (insert position here), but things changed..." or "Well I know we gave you ______ position on the run, but ________ came along and really wants it. We'll find you something else to do." No follow ups are made and queries are met with silence, but of course, every January first, they're there, hand out, demanding annual dues.

The modern bear club exists to do one thing: separate men from their money, so that the leadership can enjoy a pseudo-sash-queen presence within the larger community. "I'm (insert position title) at (insert club/run name here), wanna hook up?"

It's not right, but I can see why people ghost bear events. Leadership in bear clubs rarely allows "outsiders" (always declared by leaders) the chance to do little more than act as a life support system for a wallet.

Date: 2011-07-12 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I totally see your point, but at least you TRIED to help!

It's the people who don't even try, but feel empowered to bitch about things that they did nothing to support, that piss me off!

Date: 2011-07-13 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm gonna devil's-advocate for a minute here. I've been involved in leadership in various bear clubs over the years, and my approach has always been to try and find self-starters who would take an assignment then do it with a minimum of fuss and drama. I need self-starters, not people who need to be told every step in the process, then nagged and reminded and nagged and cajoled and nagged in an attempt to get them to finish the task... before I give up in disgust and just do it myself, because that's faster, easier & less stressful.

I'm not saying that's you, mind. I know absolutely nothing about you, so I'm in no position to judge.

I've also run into bear club organizers who don't understand that the club exists independently of the officers. Some guys can't give up control over the tiniest piece of any given activity; they have to do it all (or at least want to be PERCEIVED to do it all, even if someone else has to chase after them picking up the pieces and cleaning up the mess they leave in their wake.)

I spend 2 YEARS getting one of these guys disconnected from the local club. It was pure hell.

I'd always prefer someone else share the work, rather than own it all myself. But it has to be someone who will OWN part of the process, and figure out some of the answers for himself.

The club president's primary responsibility should be to identify and train someone to take over when he steps down. If there's nobody prepared to lead when he leaves, he has failed one of his primary responsibilities.

Date: 2011-07-13 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've also run into bear club organizers who don't understand that the club exists independently of the officers. Some guys can't give up control over the tiniest piece of any given activity; they have to do it all (or at least want to be PERCEIVED to do it all, even if someone else has to chase after them picking up the pieces and cleaning up the mess they leave in their wake.)

So you've been in the CBL before then? ;)

Date: 2011-07-13 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Nah, but some of this stuff is universal....

Date: 2011-07-12 07:50 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-07-12 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My problem with IBR was that I didn't want to pay for something I didn't like. I'm not into club dancing, and I'm not into beauty pageants, that's like 99% of what goes on (as far as the run package is concerned).

Back in LA, I gladly paid for things that were more to my liking. The Bears Ventura trips to Pine Mountain Club (which included a membership to the club if you weren't already) was always a good time.

Date: 2011-07-12 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think the difference is that you didn't GO to the things you didn't like, and you certainly didn't COMPLAIN about them when you didn't!

You know, you were reasonable and adult about it!

The Bitchy Birds will squawk about anything, and I'm not having it anymore!

Date: 2011-07-13 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
When it comes to MAL, you'd probably consider me one of those leeches. I don't register or pay, except for the vendor mart this past year -- which previously was always free. I didn't mind paying, since it's not an unreasonable amount, and it's something that I'll actually use. See, the problem with MAL is it's close to $200 ($175 last year?) for a contest (don't care), a brunch (which the one year I did go to was kind of bleah), and one afternoon "be there to be seen" event, when most of the IML contestants appear together for the first time. I'd actually be willing to pay for that last, except it's not worth $200 when that's the only thing I'll bother to go to.

Even though they could make a lot more money by allowing a la carte sales, they don't. (It's possible they prefer to keep the numbers even at each event, but that still blocks out a lot of people.

Mates Leather Weekend -- would be the same issue, but they *do* let you buy tickets just for the parts you want. And yay, because I *do*!

I get your point, but at the same time -- I expect to get some value for my money.


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