Top and bottom: categories based on gay men giving or receiving dick and, perhaps more terrifyingly, on attributes measured by “femme” and “masc” qualities. High-pitched voice, struts and listens to Kylie? Definitely a bot. Kills it at the gym, doesn’t dance at parties and has an ever-so-slight Patrick Bateman energy? A top, of course. These are just a few superficial traits used to categorise gay men – categories being part and parcel of the gay community. But when those categories are used to instil a power-structure, well, that’s when problems arise.
Enter DICKPRINT – a magazine challenging all of the above. When creator and founder, Kacion Mayers, set out to create the magazine as part of his Central Saint Martins final major project, he dived head-first with an agenda to change the way we perceive gay men – specifically, bottoms.
“I am a gay man, a bottom and unashamedly so,” he writes in the magazine’s intro. “Attempts at regulating my sexuality are rife and often carried out by men who see other men like me as innately sexually subordinate. We, as gay men, have fought for our own rights and freedoms only to mirror heterosexual norms.”
With themes centring fetish, kink and “dressing for pleasure”, DICKPRINT is both sexually-charged and sexually-liberated, with Mayers’ black heritage a consistent narrative throughout (a result of “not seeing many of these conversations [discussed] within the black gay community”). DICKPRINT is a place for discussion without fear of taboo, for those who resonate with Mayers’ experience of being a gay bottom.
The magazine is backed by a wealth of contributors, including gay icons Bruce LaBruce and Hal Fischer. “They’ve all helped and supported not just my project, but also my understanding of what it means to be a gay man – my sexuality, fetish and culture at large, too,” Mayers says. Perhaps DICKPRINT will do the same for the gays picking it up and having a flick through.
We speak to Mayers about DICKPRINT, followed by a kinky quick-fire round, below.
Photography by Ajamu
Tell us a bit about your magazine then.
DICKPRINT is a style and culture publication for boys who like boys and those who are merely curious. Its central themes explore fetish, dressing for pleasure, kink, homoerotica and my own sexuality. It is my final major project for my BA Fashion Journalism degree which I’m graduating from in July. It’s taken on a life of its own now which has been equal parts exciting and daunting.
How did you go about establishing this narrative for your zine?
It’s gaining recognition that others before me were denied. Perhaps, in fact, they never wanted the recognition at all! There is a pleasure to be found and fun to be had in the underground, the taboo and the unknown. We don’t usually have the opportunity or space as black gay men to talk about our sexuality openly and critically. This was really just a self-wanking project in which I could explore myself, my limits and my sexuality. I just wanted to feel and be sexually liberated.
How did your experiences of being a gay man influence the magazine?
There are countless attempts at regulating my sexuality, often carried out by men who see other men like me (especially bottoms) as innately sexually subordinate. This is the reason why so many of us forfeit our true selves in favour of sexual attention from the undeserving. I coined the phrase “mascuerading” to summarise the phenomenon. It’s easy to find yourself manoeuvring these stifling unwritten codes of conduct in the gay community – codes made-up by “men who like their men to be men”.
“You don’t have to be a black gay man to relate to what is at the core of this.”
Why did you decide to hone in on fetishwear?
I was reading Man Ray’s autobiography, and there’s a section in which he arrives in Paris with a trunk full of his work which he’s trying to get through customs. He describes one of the works as a “fetish”. From there, I spiralled into the origins of fetish and the Nkisi Nkondi or “power figures” from The Congo. These are small man-made objects or figures believed to be vested with supernatural powers. That got me thinking about the power of dress and the connotations of fetish and fetishwear. I thought about how we vest so much power into what we wear especially when we think about the clothes we wear in the bedroom. And this sort of spiralled into DICKPRINT.
Who is the magazine made for?
While I wanted DICKPRINT to specifically pertain to black gay men in parts, it is still extremely relevant across the board, regardless of race. You don’t have to be a black gay man to relate to what is at the core of this or to try and comprehend our personal experiences. It’s this lack of comprehension and understanding which is often at the core of many of our problems in society at large. DICKPRINT is made for anyone who cares to read it. I want it to reach as many people as possible. But predominantly, I want this to touch other gay men like myself.
What’s next for you and DICKPRINT?
DICKPRINT is actually just a moment in time. This was my final major project for university that now amounts to just over 250 pages worth of advert-free content. All of the writing is me. It’s been a lot, although I’ve had a tonne of help and support from friends who I am forever indebted too. I don’t think I’ll continue DICKPRINT physically but it will forever exist in spirit. That is, unless I manage to find funding for a second issue.
Leather or lace?
Chaps or harness?
PVC or Lycra?
Pleasure or pain?
Pleasure, although it’s worth pointing out that the two can be synonymous.
Favourite fetish night?
The places I visited weren’t really up my street though I’ve heard the boys over at Adonis know how to have a good time.
A bottom should always aim to be on top.
Finish the sentence: I feel sexiest when…
Men are visibly shy/nervous/intimidated by my presence.