Events for November 2022

Gina Ortiz Jones official Air Force headshot.
Gina Ortiz Jones: From Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to Under Secretary of the Air Force
July 19, 2022
Covers of How We Do Family by Trystan Reese and What’s in a Name? edited by Sherri Martin-Baron, Raechel Johns, and Emily Regan Wills
5 Books to Support You As A LGBTQ+ Parent
July 23, 2022
Jordan Relena

Relena Jordan

We are all too familiar with the discourse surrounding kink, especially kink at Pride. It has a historically negative connotation and parents even within the queer community are often against children seeing kink at Pride events. Kink and queerdom however, go hand-in-hand and even hand-cuffed. Relena’s Vegan Bondage is a queer-owned vegan bondage business based in Long Beach, that is dedicated to creating kink for the queers and everyone else who identifies as kinksters. 

Ball gags, chokers, boot straps, four-way-hog-ties and floggers. What began as a hobby in 2015, eventually grew into the business that Jordan Relena, 31, who identifies as gender fluid, now runs out of her home. 

“I started doing it because I wanted some bondage gear and it was pretty hard to find good quality vegan bondage gear. So I just started making it for myself and for my partner at the time,” said Relena. 

Relena says she began exploring kink and Bondage, Dominion, Sadism, Masochism (BDSM) within the cultures and subcultures associated with music. Generally the punk and psychobilly styles incorporate bondage gear such as belts, buckles and chains. 

“I come from punk and psychobilly and there is a kind of aesthetic of bondage within their subcultures. Also, from watching porn on the internet,” said Relena with a sly chuckle. 

The BDSM acronym represents a lot more than it’s short for in the context of sexual practice. The ‘D,’ can also represent discipline and the ‘S,’ can interchangeably be recognized as submission. A fundamental and perhaps radical difference between BDSM and any other sexually lived experience, is that BDSM is about the erotization of power  and the use of toys and bondage accessories to act out that power. 

The BDSM community is open to, and based on, different aspects of gender expression, sex, sexuality, role playing and unpacking the inner sexual desires that exist in every one. Sex among partners is about safety, respect and trust. 

“To me, it seems a lot safer that vanilla hetero sex, because there is a lot more discussion and dialogue and setting up what [sex partners] are actually planning on doing,” said Relena.

This discipline goes hand-in-hand with the LGBTQ+ community and it allows practitioners to take on roles that they would not usually take in other social settings. Some partners may be feminine in social settings but take on masculine or dominant roles within BDSM. 

Some people dress up and act as another gender, some take the opposite role that they usually take in public, such as being submissive or dominant. Relena makes collars that practitioners use to role play as dogs, cats, and other animals who answer to an owner or master. 

Relena’s Vegan Bondage, as the name suggests, uses vegan materials. Traditionally, bondage is made out of leather because it has a long-standing reputation as a durable material. 

However, Relena has been vegan for many years so when she began to explore kink, it became a conundrum to choose between durable leather and cheaper materials that were vegan. Shortly after realizing that the choices were slim for good bondage gear, Relena began making her own. She chose to make her gear out of coated webbing, which is a material primarily used to make durable equestrian gear. The webbing is nylon-based and has Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) coating. Not only did she choose this material for its cruelty-free purpose, but also because the material is soft to the touch, easily cleaned and it doesn’t absorb smells or body fluids. She also uses metal and brass buckles, O-rings and ribbets for the finishing touches. 

Other materials that are commonly used as vegan or cruelty-free replacements, are pleather or faux leather but these usually crack and break easily.

Linda Kaiser is a returning customer and friend of Relenas. She has bought various types of belts, including a belt that transforms into restraints. 

“I have other friends with small businesses that I support but the reason I feel so attached to this particular business is because I know the person behind it and just the fact that they make vegan bondage gear that anyone could wear, no matter how kinky you are…,” said Kaiser. 

Relena custom creates each design to fit each customer according to their true measurements. She asks for specific sizes and usually won’t make an accessory without the measurements so she can be sure it will fit the customer. She makes some smaller accessories like collars and ball gags without the measurements, since they have ribbets for different sizing. Relena says her best-selling item is the ball-gag, which is a collar meant to be worn around the head, with a rubber ball that fits inside the mouth between the upper and lower jaw. 

A ball-gag is one of the few items that a customer who goes by the name Chaos, 25, has purchased. Chaos identifies as queer, polyamorous and a switch. Other than the ball gag, they have also bought; a set of hog-ties —which are ankle and wrist cuffs that interlock in various ways across the body— a collar for one of their partners, and a chain collar for themselves. Chaos says they plan to buy more. They became friends with Relena shortly after becoming a customer. 

“I was on the search for high-quality vegan bondage products for a while and a play partner at the time had a harness made by Relena. I pulled that partner to the ground by that harness and it didn’t break or anything. So I thought, ‘I gotta get some gear from this company, holy shit,’” said Chaos enthusiastically. 

Relena accepts orders through her website and has an Instagram account where she posts about new accessories and colors.

 

 

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Gisselle Palomera
Gisselle Palomera
Gisselle Palomera is a QTBIPOC multimedia journalist, whose mission it is to highlight and uplift other QTBIPOC voices in the media. They are currently a project intern for The Queer 26, a non-profit media platform for creatives. Gisselle mostly focuses on photojournalism, but also does wedding photography, music photography, commercial, nature, wildlife photography and portraits.