ONYX Prospective Q&A
Hello! Thank you for showing interest in the ONYX Northeast (ONYX-NE) Chapter. We have prepared a list of commonly asked questions with an answer that we hope will give you more insight into who we are. After reading, we hope you will consider joining us as a Full or an Associate member. Below, we have provided some information about our organization, our membership criteria, and our membership process.
“What is ONYX?”
— ONYX is an organization that supports ethnic and racial diversity in the gay leather community. For over twenty-two years, the organization has been the bridge between leather men of color and the broader leather community. As such, our activities support this particular mission. For example, our monthly beer busts provide a safe space for men of color (anyone minority group) to bond with each other, and other like-minded individuals who enjoy the BDSM, Kink and Fetish lifestyles. Additionally, we also fundraise to support charities that particularly focus on LGBT People of Color, HIV and Care Organizations, and organizations that aid youth.
“I’ve heard of ONYX before, but you guys are called “ONYX Northeast.” What is the difference?”
— ONYX-NE is a regional chapter of The Men of ONYX Inc., which is a National Organization. That means we exist as a chapter to a larger organization that is nationally governed. In addition to ONYX’s presence in the Southwestern region of the United States, ONYX has a major presence in the leather/BDSM/kink community throughout the United States and abroad.
“What are the times and places of ONYX events and meetings?”
— "Generally, our monthly bar nights are held on the second Thursday of every month at the Evolve from 7 PM – 11 PM. Any changes to this schedule are announced at the meeting and will be emailed from (firstname.lastname@example.org) in advance. We also have events that ONYX supports. These events can be local (e.g. NY Black Pride, Folsom Street East), regional (e.g. New York Pride in June, Mr. NY Eagle and most regional leather competitions), national (e.g. Blackout, IML in Chicago, MAL in Washington DC, CLAW in Ohio – nationally sponsored ONYX events), or international.Additionally, while Purple Passions is currently under construction, our meetings are held at Pleasure Chest at located at 1150 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10065 on the second Sunday of the month from 4:00 - 7:00 PM. These are closed-door meetings and are only open to those wanting to know more about Onyx and possibly join the "
“I don’t identify as a gay/bisexual man of color. Can I still join ONYX?”
— Yes! ONYX is an inclusive organization that supports all forms of diversity, including members that do not identify as gay, bi or transgendered men of color. This group includes Caucasian men & women, women of color, transwomen, and heterosexuals. All are welcome to join the organization as “Associate Members.” As an Associate Member, you will be a part of the organization, however, you will be unable to vote in general or board meetings. Again, ONYX is one of few organizations that are inclusive where several others are exclusive.
“I am a transgender person of color. Am I allowed to join ONYX as a Full Member?”
— "Yes, but only if you identify as a gay or bisexual transman. Transmen and transwomen who identify as heterosexual can only join as Associate Members. I identify as a gay man of color who is into BDSM, kink, fetishes and leather/bears, but I don’t live in the NY/Northeast region. Can I still join ONYX Northeast?Gay, bi or transgender men of color who live outside the NY/Northeast region are welcome to join as an associate member. Our region encompasses: New York City, Connecticut and New Jersey."
“Isn’t ONYX’s membership policy discriminatory against non-men of color?”
— No. ONYX sets as its goal to provide an informational and social organization to address issues specific to people of color who chose to project the positive aspects of the leather lifestyle. In order to do this, we have to do so in a forum where we can express our thoughts openly and freely. As allies, it is important to recognize the need for gay leather men of color to have an organization that serves their interests and needs. By doing so, we provide a unique contribution to the diverse array of leather BDSM, kink and fetish groups.
ONYX Membership Process
Once a person meets the membership criteria, he is eligible to become a Full Member of the organization. Anyone wishing to join as Associate Members can automatically choose to do so.
“How do pledges become full members of ONYX?”
— Anyone wishing to join ONYX starts the process as a pledge. Pledges go through a “pledge period” that lasts three to four months in which they are required to participate in ONYX events and meetings. During this process, a pledge decides if he can fully commit to being a full member. Additionally, pledges are required to learn about the history of ONYX, show dedication to ONYX, and will undergo a final evaluation by the officers of the chapter. Only by completing this process can an individual become a full member (or a full brother) of the organization.
“What does it mean to be a full member of ONYX?”
— The prerequisites for being a full member of ONYX is that you are current on your annual dues; acquire the basic uniform (blue or black jeans, leather vest and leather boots), and have an interest in the BDSM, Kink, Bear, Leather, Levi lifestyles. As an active full member, you have the privilege of attending our closed meetings where we discuss ONYX business, plan our calendar of events, etc. Additionally, you have a vote in deciding major ONYX decisions as well as deciding ONYX leadership. You will receive one large patch and a small patch as a sign of your membership.
“What are Associate Members?”
— Associate members are members of ONYX but do not have voting rights. They are still welcomed into the organization, and will receive 2 small patches as a sign of membership.
“Do ONYX members pay dues? ”
— Yes. We ask full members to pay $100 and associate members $50 in annual dues to help with operating costs, etc. Both levels of membership will have up to 90 days to submit full payment of said dues.
“How much time will I have to dedicate to the organization on a monthly basis?”
— Generally, members and pledges typically dedicate six hours per month for both our bar night (four hours) and our monthly meeting (two hours). We note that these hours may vary depending on the event(s) and discussions at our meetings.
“I love ONYX, but it seems like it is too time consuming, my needs are met elsewhere, or my pledge process was not successful. Can I still be a part of ONYX? ”
— Of course! Everyone is welcomed into ONYX regardless of their schedules, their needs, or if the pledge process was not successful. You are still welcome to join as an associate member.