A house of Leather can be ran by male or female, there are those who do follow the old ways of the lifestyle, there are those who still believe in the hierarchies and protocols.
While the Slave is pretty much still free they are like someone in waiting, someone who is not collared. In order to have more than just general conversation you must approach the one who controls the house, and yes they do have the final decision.
Courtship within the community is still alive and well, some still believe in the old ways of the lifestyle.
I do believe some do take it a little to far almost like living in medieval times, but the ones who live in a Leather house do so by choice. If the house is true, and it is ran by someone who is truly in control, and is not just a control freak.
If you have been in the lifestyle for sometime, I would consult with other Dominants to kinda get a feel of their thoughts, the same goes with starting a new group or Munch. It is just a respect thing.
I am not a member of a leather family nor do I have the desire to be part of, or start my own, leather is not my fetish. I do not have to wear clothing to prove who or what I am. I am not saying wearing leather is the main part of a leather family but it does play a role.
If you did have the desire to start a new local group, such as a Munch, check the dates that others hold their munch. You would not want to hold one on the same day, there is another that has been in place for sometime.
A house of Leather could run the same as a fine tuned machine, everyone has their own job, their own task, everyone works together.
I was never impressed when I tried to talk to a slave I was interested in and she would say you have to speak with Master Bob, yea that is just not me, although I did see her point of view. The thing that got me, what is Master Bob did not like me? Then my time would of been wasted.
When you first meet a new slave you invest a lot of time trying to build a relationship, it can be days, weeks or even months, and for one person to have the ability to say no, nah I am not down with that.
One who belongs to a house of leather is not a bad thing, it does offer structure, rules, and guidelines, as well as protocols. It does offer stability and a place you can call home. Although today not many do live together as they did in the past, I do believe a family that does live together does benefit from it in many ways, even financially because everyone is putting into the pot to support the house.