A brief history
The first known open discussion of BDSM within Unitarian Universalist circles was during the creation of UUs for Polyamory Awareness in the 1990’s. One member quipped that a subgroup for BDSM people might be formed, and even suggested the name “Organized UUs for Consensual Hierarchy” or OUUCH.
While it was meant as a joke, and no actual organizational effort followed, BDSM educator and writer Sensuous Sadie created a Yahoo discussion list for UU kinksters, and gave it the OUUCH name. This was the first platform for connecting UUs who identified with the BDSM community.
Another BDSM activist, Desmond Ravenstone, joined Arlington Street Church in Boston as openly kinky and polyamorous. Along with his work in the congregation, he began to network both with other kinky UUs and with UU educators and leaders. He soon found himself in the role of an unofficial advocate for other UU kinksters, especially in providing guidance and support, especially in educating UU leaders.
Later on, with the advent of FetLife in 2008, a Unitarian Universalist group was formed by SwitchWitch. Ravenstone was then added as this group’s co-leader. By this time, the OUUCH list had become less active, and it was decided to centralize discussions in the more secure FetLife group. Ravenstone also started the Leather & Grace site as an educational resource for all Unitarian Universalists interested in the subject of BDSM – ministers, religious educators, lay leaders, and UU kinksters. Discussions about creating a more formal, “real-time” organization eventually led to the formation of L&G as an educational, support and advocacy group in 2011.