"Providing leadership in education, health and safety by facilitating strategic collaborations and developing outreach programs to allow individuals to explore alternative expressions of sexuality in a safe environment." -- Since 1983.

Message from the President of Avatar

Messages from the President of Avatar

[Posted June 20, 2019]

Avatar Los Angeles has just celebrated our 36th Anniversary. Some of the men who founded the club are still vital and valued members of our club and our community.

While we welcome and value our younger members and take great pride in celebrating their accomplishments and the evolution of our scene, we want to take a stand against any forms of agism that would diminish our elders.

Ageism, like any other form of discrimination, has no place in our club, and our larger community, and, we believe, does a great disrespect and injury to those who founded, guided, and fought, for our rights to healthy BDSM play.

      - Dr. Ralph Bruneau
        President of Avatar, 2019 - 2021

[Posted February 10, 2019]

Thirty-six years is a long time.

There have been countless changes in our scene during the last 36 years but through it all Avatar Los Angeles has been here providing leadership, mentorship and education for the Los Angeles BDSM community and beyond.

I moved to LA from the leather and fetish community in New York back when Avatar LA was less than a year old. Over the years I had taken bootcamp classes, attended monthly programs and even convinced my husband to join me at one of the Summer BBQ events. Even with my sporadic attendance, my early courtship with Avatar wasn't without complications. I remember sitting awaiting the start of a CBT class when one of my patients walked in to take the class as well. I discreetly left before the "hands on" part of the program to maintain professional boundaries. I thought long and hard about the personal and professional risks involved in my participation or lack thereof, before I returned.

When I did return, it was to attend an Avatar BBQ about 15 years ago with my husband, Joe. The BDSM and fetish world was something that I was missing, terribly. Joe, not so much. I convinced him to join me but, in the course of the evening no one from the club came to welcome us, chat us up, hit on us, or integrate us into the event, so we left a bit confused and resentful. Again, I didn't return to Avatar for a number of years. And, when I did, I made it a priority that no one feel excluded if I could help it.

With or without my attendance, though, through all these years, Avatar remained committed to its mission. I doubt there are many in our community whose lives haven't been touched, in some way, by Avatar's work. Whether attending a class, party, event, status as former or current member, Avatar remains at the center of the leather and BDSM scene in Los Angeles.

I have had the good fortune, on a number of occasions, to have listened to Alexei Romanoff, one of the club's founding and still active members, orient new members to our club - its history, by-laws, mission. The thing that always resonates with me is the importance that Avatar places on respect - respect for the community, our leaders, our history, our tradition, and each other.

In a world and a community that finds respect and values often in short supply, this is what makes our club singular. We hold our history, our values, our mission and each other with the greatest respect. This isn't to say that we aren't evolving as our scene does, but we choose to evolve with precision and care, integrating new with old, while valuing each.

As president of the club, I commit to you that we welcome your participation, we value your input, and we hope you will allow us to grow along side you. I am committed to making everyone who walks through our door, member or no, feel like a valued partner.

That's not to say we don't, or haven't, had our struggles.

We need to stay committed to change and evolution. To that end, we have seen our membership open to a younger, more diverse generation of leatherfolks. One that more closely resembles our home-town and the evolving nature of our scene.

We remain committed, as our mission states, to strategic partnerships with events like the one planned for April 7, 2019, on Leather and Race, presented in collaboration with our brothers at Onyx and Payasos.

So, here, on this, our 36th birthday, please join me in thanking those who have helped create one of the most healthy and vibrant leather scenes in the world. We look back with gratitude and appreciation at 36 years of history, leadership and involvement as we renew our dedication to the next steps of our evolution as a club and as men.

      - Dr. Ralph Bruneau
        President of Avatar, 2019 - 2021