Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-07-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

The Chicago Hellfire Club: A closer look
by Ross Forman
2010-07-14

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


The Chicago Hellfire Club is one of the most mysterious organizations within the LGBT community, but, as the private gay men's club prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary starting this November, club president Roger Scheid sat down for an exclusive interview. He spoke with the Windy City Times' Ross Forman about the Hellfire 13's members, memberships, practices and attitude toward transgender people, among other topics.

The Chicago Hellfire Club is one of the oldest, and certainly one of the leading, BDSM ( bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism ) leather organizations in the United States.

There are about 400 members, including 70 who live in the Chicagoland area. Members are as young as 21 and some are in their 70s. The group is commonly referred to as Hellfire 13 after its 13 original founding members—and one of the 13 is still alive and active in the organization.

"It's a safe place to come and play, a great place to learn," said Roger Scheid, in his fourth year as president of the club. "We are a private gay men's club that believes in practices of a leather lifestyle, including BDSM; that's the common bond that brings the group together."

Typical Hellfire activities include flogging, bondage, wrestling, rubber gear, water sports, master-slave, daddy-boy, role-playing and more. Scheid said many club activities are fetish-driven.

"When the club started, the BDSM aspect was a very buried subset of the gay community, probably even more closeted than the gay lifestyle [ as a whole ] ," Scheid said. "Many in the Chicago area didn't think [ the club ] would succeed when it started, but the club has prospered and done well.

"Like any group or organization, we've had our trials and tribulations over the years, our ups and downs, but we've always persevered. And the common bond has made it successful."

Plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary are now being finalized, Scheid said. But they plan to start celebrating this November with Associate Applicant Weekend, an in-town get-together with events at its private Chicago clubhouse, along with a banquet and more.

Membership is limited. New members must be sponsored and each must be approved to join. Annually, they bring 10-40 new members into the club.

"Everyone has different interests. Not everyone is into everything. It's what you feel comfortable doing, or what you're expertise is in, or what they enjoy as a recipient or the giver," Scheid said. "Bondage is always very popular, including rope and metal restraints. I haven't yet seen the current hot trend.

"The biggest misconception is the whole concept of BDSM; people don't understand it. Some people might consider it to be abuse or perceive it as hurtful, but, there's a huge bonding between people [ who participate ] . People don't understand the energy exchange and the love that can be exchanged between those [ participating ] people; I think it's at a different level of connection, and a lot of people don't understand that; they only look at it from the outside or at a very surface level. I think people pre-judge people in the club."

And yes, the public "absolutely" would be surprised by the Hellfire Club's membership, which includes professional, along with others who work in retail, government, education and factory jobs, among other areas.

However, the Chicago Hellfire Club employs a controversial policy of not including transgender people.

"They are not [ allowed ] ," he said. "We are a private club and have the ability to set our memberships, and they are currently not accepted in our club."

Do you foresee the membership expanding and inclusion of transgender people?

"It has been discussed in the past, and is reviewed annually," Scheid said.

"I think everyone in the leather community [ across America ] knows about the Chicago Hellfire Club," Scheid said. "We're very proud to have reached our 40th year."

The club's website is http://hellfire13.org/.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

In the Life: Ashley Perrin 2015-07-01
Gay United Airlines pilots on their careers, life outside of work 2015-06-24
In the Life: Sage Celimene-Rowell 2015-06-24
BUSINESS Gay Chicagoan opens Wrigleyville hairstyling facility 2015-06-24
Event company aims to shatter stereotypes on Pride Weekend 2015-06-24
Video game represents LGBTQIA community 2015-06-23
Louis (LC) Johnson IV talks Currency jewelry, other endeavors 2015-06-23
Chicagoan is a proud Pezhead 2015-06-23
Boeing soars when it comes to diversity, inclusion effort 2015-06-23
In the Life: James Craig 2015-06-17
Sonoma to host LGBT business expo 2015-06-16
epoch.floral: A blooming business 2015-06-09
New Town Alano Club survives to aid LGBTs in recovery 2015-06-03
In the Life: Martin Luna 2015-06-03
In the Life: Mack Savage 2015-05-27
Starwood shows strong support for LGBT rights 2015-05-26
Gay-owned barber shop opens in Uptown 2015-05-26
Chicago couple builds arts-enpowerment program for girls 2015-05-20
In the LIFE Luis Tipantasig 2015-05-20
Affinity at 20: Marking two decades of grassroots accomplishments 2015-05-13
In The Life: Kim Chi 2015-05-13
Designs for Dignity helps give LGBTQ spaces new looks 2015-05-05
In the Life: Erin Sanders 2015-04-29
Gay activist reflects on Stonewall, music and recovery 2015-04-22
New chamber ED comes from career built on inclusion 2015-04-15
In the Life: Greg Cox 2015-04-15
iCandee: From idea to flourishing business in four years 2015-04-14
Openly gay Chicagoan promoted to law firm partner 2015-04-08
In the Life: Anthony DiFiore 2015-04-01
Chicago artist Bautista increases presence 2015-04-01
Filmmaker Michelle Citron looks at pre-Stonewall lesbians 2015-04-01
Camp Aranu'tiq: A place for transgender and gender-variant youth 2015-03-31
In The Life: Jason Kennedy 2015-03-11
Diversity and inclusion are priorities at Hinshaw & Culbertson 2015-03-03
At the heart of 'Mama' Gloria Allen 2015-02-25
In the Life: Matt Lind 2015-02-25
Frankly Speaking ...Expert tips to plan your wedding expertly 2015-02-19
Snapshots of Love 2015-02-18
HEARTSONGS Picking the right music for your big day 2015-02-18
PICTURE THIS Photo book documents '80s same-sex couples 2015-02-18
 



Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.