Capitalizing on the momentum generated at Great Lakes Leather Alliance where two Minnesotans won regional titles, Minnesota Leather Pride announced the first Ms Minnesota Leather Pride contest. The new contest will be part of Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend, which also features the first Minnesota Leather Sir and Minnesota Leather boy contests, to be held April 3-5, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“When we began planning for Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend, we started with Minnesota Leather Sir and Minnesota Leather boy with the expectation additional contests would be added over time,” said Tim Holden, chair of the Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend committee and member of the Minnesota Leather Pride board. “When Tim Hotchkin won Great Lakes Leather boy and Riches won Great Lakes Ms. Leather Pride, the board agreed the timing was right to add the Ms. Minnesota Leather Pride contest to what is already shaping up to be an exciting weekend!”
The winner of the Ms Minnesota Leather Pride contest, along with the winners of Minnesota Leather Sir and Minnesota Leather boy, will go on to compete at Great Lakes Leather Alliance held Oct 1-4, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Contestants for Ms Minnesota Leather Pride must be 21 years old and identify as a woman in the Leather/Kink/BDSM community.
“With the addition of Ms Minnesota Leather Pride to Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend, we feel this event will have something for everyone,” said Holden.
The 2014 version of the Folsom Street Fair took place in perfect Leather weather on Folsom Street between 8th and 13th Streets on Sunday, September 21, one week earlier than the usual fourth Sunday of September. It was cloudy, not sunny, but was perfect for Leather/BDSM/Fetish/Kink/Gearfolk wearing plenty of Leather - not too cold. The Fair seemed to be crowded earlier than normal and several booths were open just after 6 PM as that usual 5 PM wind did not arrive.
The move one block west did what organizers hoped it would do. That, and the stage moved to 10th Street not far from Howard made for better viewing. The short walk from Folsom Street over to the San Francisco Eagle at Harrison and 12th Streets worked. What had been a parking lot across from the Eagle was converted into a party area with a $20 admission.
Most of the usual suspects had vendor or social booths including The Society of Janus, Steamworks, the San Francisco Bare Chest Calendar Men, Mr. S Leathers, Orchid and Serpent.
Beyond Vanilla will be held September 26-28 in Dallas, Texas, celebrating almost a quarter of a century on fun in the Lone Star State. Hotel Rooms are going fast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Downtown Dallas. Reserve yours in the Beyond Vanilla block to get the lowest rate. In addition to discounts in overnight parking.
The fun begins Thursday evening at 6 PM at The Dallas Eagle for the Beyond Vanilla Kick-Off. A complimentary shuttle bus will be running to and from the Crowne Plaza and The Dallas Eagle from 5:30 PM to 2 AM. Early Check-In will be available at The Eagle so you can avoid the lines on Friday.
Friday registration opens at 10 AM, with Vending, and Silent Auction opening at 12:30 PM. Workshops run from 1-6:30 PM. The night's entertainment starts at 7 PM.
Saturday will pry eyes open at at 8:30 AM when Vending, and Silent Auction opens. Workshops start at 9 AM and run all day with a break for lunch.
The Southwest Leather Conference celebrated its 10th Anniversary at the Hilton Phoenix Airport the weekend of January 19-21 with about 525 full registrations plus many others attending single events.
The highlights of the weekend were the Dance of Souls on Sunday afternoon, the Southwest Master and slave contest won by Sir Mystic and Marika; the Southwest Bootblack contest taken by Bear, keynote speeches by slave pug and Alia, presentation of awards, workshops, vendors and two pansexual play parties.International Mr. Leather 2009 was a complete riot as the emcee while Great Lakes Bootbkack 2011 Gabriel was the ASL interpreter.
Since moving to Phoenix, Sir Mystic and Marika have become active members of TNG-AZ, APEX, and Kinky and Geeky AZ. Marika has been on the board of TNG-AZ, with Mystic supporting her by helping as he can. They both serve on the board of Kinky and Geeky AZ in advisory roles.
The Southwest Master and slave judges were head judge Daddy Sal, Glenda Rider, Douglas Connors, Master Konraad, Stephen Bloom, Slave Patrick and Master Stephen – Great Lakes Master 2005
Southwest Bootblack Bear has been in the BDSM community for 14 years and has been a member of the Dragon~Clan family for three years. An active member of the community, Bear has enjoyed many years of giving service as a volunteer at APEX, Butchmanns Experience, Southwest Leather Conference and as a member of The Grand Canyon Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Bear has given presentations on Fisting and Single-tails at APEX and Desert Dominion.
Elegant was the Bootblacks head judge and was assisted by Jim Dueder, KD, slave tabitha and Dave Rhodes.
Southwest Leather Conference director Joseph Brumley noted that full registrations were up from last year.
Almost everyone was impressed by the staff of the Hilton Phoenix Airport. Even the hotel manager Rick helped stack chairs in the hurried change over from theater format to the dungeon in the main ballroom. The staff wore event T-shirts and fit in well. They made everyone feel very welcome.
Slave pug was the endnote speaker during the Sunday brunch.
Master Skip headed the program and was the speaker for the Southwest Leather Conference awards. Honors went to: Southwest Leather Conference Spiritual Development Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 went to Lady Hawke; the Leatherman's Heart Award recipient was Master Obsidian, the Leatherwoman's Heart Award was given to Slave Alia, the Spirit of Service Award was presented to Daddy Kenneth, the Volunteer Of The Year Award went to boi moe and the Master Steve Sampson Golden Paintbrush Award honor was given to Viola Johnson. Master Obsidian and Viola Johnson were unable to attend, but had acceptance speeches read on their behalf.
The Red Dragons Lagniappe chapter will be co-sponsoring the Mardi Gras Madness, Vendors Fair and Ball 2014 with The Black Orchid Society of Slidell.
This will be the first big event for the Red Dragons - Lagniappe Chapter based out of the New Orleans area and all Red Dragons are
excited and extremely proud of it's newest chapter.
Come visit Louisiana for Mardi Gras and enjoy a week long BDSM Open House with Black Orchid Society at The Bastille. Wednesday Feb 26, 2014 through Fat Tuesday March 5, 2014. To Learn More about the The Black Orchid Society of Slidell or Mardi Gras Madness, Vendors Fair and Ball 2014.
The weekend of February 28 will see three full days of demo's, vendors, parties including a full Mardis Gras formal masked fetish ball. In addition to vendors there will be an auction and what Masked Ball would be complete without a contest for best dressed? The weekend will be full of fun and fantasy including a spanking contest, as well as a pick a scene contest.
Some demos scheduled are:
- Branding by Mr. SE Olympus Leather 2014 MasterSgt
- Keys to a successful relationship by Ms. SE Olympus Leather 2013 & 14 mstrsgtspvt
- Knife demo by Magickman15
other demos are on deck: Erotic art and Body art, Wax Play, Tattoo's and Piercings
In 2014 the world's largest Leather/BDSM/Fetish event, the Folsom Street Fair, will take place on Sunday, September 21 from 11 AM to 6 PM. The Folsom Street Fair is usually held on the last Sunday of September.
Things get back to normal in 2015 with the Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, September 27.
According to Jacob Richards, outgoing Board President, “The decision to move the fair date this year was not taken lightly. When we have a conflict with Sales Force or Oracle Open World, the entire inventory of hotel rooms for the city is sold out. To avoid conflicts with other important events that bring visitors and revenue into San Francisco, we must look at the last two weekends in September. We hope that this announcement will give everyone with plenty of advance notice."
Click here for more information on Folsom Street Events.
As in every year, there are stories that define a year, mark a change for the better or worse, establish the end or beginning of an era, lend recognition to achievement, or just simply make a statement that cannot be forgotten. Here are ours.
The Leather Journal's Top Story of 2013
US Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8 - Marriage-ban states fall like dominoes
Not long after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs who sued to have Proposition 8 reinstated had no standing, enabling same sex marriages to resume in California, marriages resumed.
Only a handful of states allowed same-sex marriage at the beginning of 2013. By the end of the year, 18 states, plus the District of Columbia, permitted same-sex marriage, with a few more likely to change. The last of the bunch, Utah on December 20 because a court judge ruled their same-sex marriage ban that was voter-approved in 2004 is unconstitutional. This was the biggest surprise of all. A dagger was struck into one of the main arteries of the devil that has fought against same-sex marriage.
The NCSF's (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom) Consent Counts project is holding discussions around the country to gather input on their Consent Statement so they can move forward to change laws and and perceptions of BDSM. Kinky people still have significant legal, political and societal issues facing them. The majority fears the very real threat of being prosecuted or losing our jobs or families. To change the assault laws, the world needs to know what we think of consent. What is ethical consent? What are the gray areas? Are there things people shouldn't be able to consent to in a BDSM context?
The NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom) is inviting Leather / BDSM / Kinkfolk to take its Mental Health Survey. They would like to know more about your BDSM practices, mental health and relational violence experiences.
The NCSF is working with researchers at Sam Houston University's Department of Psychology and Philosophy who will compare our responses to two other sample populations - one college-aged and the other LGBT-identified.
The NCSF will use these results to help with its advocacy, benefiting both existing and developing programs. Specifically, the study's results will assist in educating law enforcement, legal and psychological professionals about the practices and mental health of BDSM practitioners.
The survey will take approximately 35 minutes of one's time.
This survey is anonymous. Neither the NCSF nor outside researchers have access to any identifying information about participants.
1. For those who don’t know you, please tell us about yourself & what your titles are.
First the easy part: As far as titles are concerned, all mine have been given to me as honorary titles.
1999 Man of the Year from National Leather Association International
2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from National Leather Association International
2010 Recipient of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Leather Leadership Award
2012 Presidents Award - Pantheon of Leather
Now the hard part: I am a native Texan and have been active in the LGBT community since the early 1970's. I became fascinated with Leather in the late 1970's and stepped into my first Leather bar sometime around 1978. Since that fateful day I have continued on my Leather journey and am a former member of the Dallas Motorcycle Club, Leather Rose Society, National Leather Association, Discipline Corps and a founding member of Inquisition Dallas.
I have written many articles on Leather/BDSM topics and am the author of four books currently in circulation including "Family Jewels, a Guide to Male Genitortureand Torment "and” Soul of a Second Skin-Memoirs of a Gay Christian Leatherman."
I have also directed a few films on Leather/BDSM subjects including "Leather" a short film-poem about the gay male Leather experience and "Out of the Darkness, the Reality of SM" a documentary on the critical difference between SM and abuse.
Professionally I am a Marketing Specialist and I live in Dallas with my boy/partner of 18 years Patrick and our feline mistress, Elvira.
2. What or who got you started in the leather community and for how long?
What drew me to Leather was the hyper-masculinity of it. I never considered myself feminine; nor was I attracted to feminine men. Leather just pushed all the right buttons for me and once I got involved I fund that I really liked rough sex and SM.
The community, as such, didn't really exist when I came in, but the subsequent AIDS crisis pulled us together and gave us a real sense of purpose. We, in Dallas, started educating our community to the many ways sex could be hot and kinky and still be safer-sex.
3. Which club or bar are you affiliated with and tell us more about the history?
Currently I am a member of NLA: Dallas and Discipline Corps. NLA: Dallas is a pan-sexual organization with a mission to educate and network Leather/Fetish/BDSM folk of all sexual orientations and genders.
Discipline Corps is a men-only social and play group whose primary focus is monthly dungeon parties and having a good time!
When I go to a bar it is the Dallas Eagle, our local Leather bar, though I am not officially affiliated with it the owners, Mark Frasier and Jeffery Payne are close friends of mine.
4. How did you enjoy being one of the judges at IML XXX5 and what were your favorite moments?
Judging at IML was an amazing experience. I was worn out form the long days, but energized by the great men I met during the experience. I knew most of the judges before the contest, though I did make new friends since a couple of the judges were new faces to me. We all bonded immediately and the contestants were all outstanding. The final choice was very hard, since any of the Top 20 could have easily been a wonderful IML.
My favorite moments were getting to meet so many folks from outside the US, and the South African delegation was a particular joy!
5. Tell us about your charity involvement and goals.
As far as charity work I have several. My contributions to my church, Cathedral of Hope are an ongoing passion of mine. We even have a full pew of Leather folk wearing their colors every Sunday. I also work with Kiva, a micro loan organization that funds small businesses and individuals across the world.
I serve as Chairman of the Board for the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance in Washington, DC and work raising funds to support it and its many programs.
6. Tell us about your leather family.
My leather family is small, just me and my boy/partner. My extended Leather family is larger. About 8-10 close friends who I think of as family. Beyond that I have a large circle of friends who I have met at events and contests all over the continent and they too, are like family. I consider them my Leather cousins.
7. Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
I have to say my father. He taught me a lot as far as values and how to treat other people. He was authentic and honest and I try to emulate that. He loved his work and his family. He was intellectually curious and being a scientist, he never stopped learning, and that is something I think I got from him.
8. In your mind, what’s the biggest misconception of the leather community?
The biggest misconception I see about the Leather community is that we are some sort of homogenous group with a written code of conduct and values. No such thing. We are as varied as the general population, except for our love of kink and Leather. As a whole I have found our community does communicate more than the average vanilla folk, and I attribute that to the fellowship of our organizations and to the need for communication when we play.
9. What would you say are the most important strengths to have as a Leather man?
Honesty, authenticity and a good bull-shit detector.
10. What does leather mean to you?
I could prattle on about this topic forever but I would sound like I was doing a canned speech for a title contest. In reality leather means as many different things as there are people involved in it. Some simply are drawn to the fetish. Leather clothes and gear are sensual, organic and arousing. Some are drawn to the BDSM aspect of it. That was part of my attraction.
Leather folk, the energetic and intense encounters that SM play offers. I went into it thinking I would be a "grey Hankie" guy. Only into bondage and light SM but quickly realized that bondage was really not very interesting to me and more hard-core SM was my thing. Changed my hankie to black and never looked back.
11. What do you see for the future of leather in your community and internationally?
It is in a state of flux. Leather always changes, as sexual pioneers we are on the edges of what is possible physically and sexually and so there will always be something different and new. I see a disturbing trend to try to turn back the clock and relive the glory days of Leather in the 1970's, but surprisingly the people who are trying to do that are predominately straight. They have adopted the Leatherman look as though it was a codified uniform and remind me of " Renfair" folks, donning period costumes and role playing at Leather.
12. What does sexual freedom mean to you?
As someone who came of age I the late 1960's sexual freedom means being able to define my sexuality on my own terms Being able to enjoy consensual activities with other adults and not have to conform to any rigid rules. I have begin to think of myself more as "Queer" than gay, not because I do not have an affectional orientation toward men, but because I enjoy playing with anyone so long as we click and our goals are the same. Sexual freedom is a basic human right, it is up to us to define it and express it and celebrate it.
13. Whats your view on the huge anti-gay wave that is happening in certain states in America? What do you think people can do to protect their rights and help others retain it?
What you mentioned as the "anti-gay wave" sweeping parts of the country is not a massive display of anti-gay sentiment in my opinion. It is the last gasp of the hard core bigoted right. Their attitudes are dying out. Public opinion polls show most Americans believe in equality for LGBT citizens. What these anti-gay laws are is an attempt by the right to change the framing of the issue from "equality" to "religious freedom" or as I call it the freedom to hate.
All of these attempt have failed and even in far-right leaning states like Arizona. Even there the Governor recognized it's not a religious freedom issue it is equal rights. The laws are clumsily crafted and over reaching to begin with and would not withstand judicial scrutiny, so I have o believe its just politics and its not working.
14. We all have so many issues we want to highlight, please tell us what cause is close to your heart right now and how are you involved?
The issue closest to my heart is the cause of sexual freedom. I believe sexual freedom is a fundamental human right and as such it needs to be protected and nourished. To that end, I work with the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance, a human rights group with the focus on sexual freedom. In fact I am chairperson of the board. That's how involved I am and how important it is.
We work to affect policy concerning sex education, freedom of speech, sex workers and gender and sexual inequality. It's a great organization that has made a real difference for our country. Woodhull holds the gender and sexuality seat on the US Human Rights Network, the group which monitors our country's adherence to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
15. What advice can you give a future title holder?
Be authentic, approachable and honest. Bull-shitters stick out like sore thumbs. The title holders I know and admire are all down to earth folks who try to use their titles to benefit the community not themselves.
16. Tell us what your favorite piece of Leather is and why?
Other than my hat, my favorite piece of Leather is my flogger. It was made by Janet Hartwood and designed to fit me perfectly. The falls are longer than most folks like, but they balance perfectly with the handle and the flogger becomes an extension of my body when I play. I have several floggers and all were custom made for me. I believe if you invest in quality your toys will live as long as you do.
17. In your own words, can you tell us the difference between BDSM and Leather?
Hard to say. I used to think of them as the same, but apparently there are folk who see a big distinction. Leather does not imply SM, it can simply be a fetish. It is also a different kind of community and that is what sets it apart nowadays. To some folks Leather can only be gay men and BDSM is pan-sexual. There is another word that is loaded with nuance. Pan-sexual was a word coined by the Leather community to describe its inclusion of all sexual orientations, but has been co-opted by the straight community to mean "heterosexual" sexual orientation with some lesbians thrown in for spice. If I sound cynical, that's because I have seen this in practice. Play space where two women playing together was acceptable if they were playing in ways that the men enjoyed, but men playing together got stares and snide comments.
Personally I don't have problems playing in the newly defined "pan-sexual" spaces, I think a Leather person can define their own Leather-space and create a scene wherever it works.
18. Please tell us exactly what is beyond vanilla & what are your favorite activities you indulge in?
I would think anything that goes beyond plain sex would qualify as beyond vanilla. Spankings, role play, bondage, SM all of it moves beyond vanilla for me. My favorite activities are floggings and clothespins and CBT, but most often these are woven into some kind of erotic experience. I think all SM is better with an element of Eros. It doesn't have to be penetrative sex, but without a sexual aspect it has less appeal for me.
19. What’s the funniest safe word that you have heard?
Then comes the safe word. I have heard lots of strange ones from "aardvark" to "Pontiac". Personally, I like this system. I tell my bottom or sub to call me "Sir" as long as he or she is having fun, and to call me "Hardy" if they need to talk. It keeps the communication going and has never failed me.
20. What’s your favorite drink? And if you could invent a cocktail for the Leather community and what would you call it?
Well I stopped drinking in 1986 so my favorite drink is sparkling mineral water. My drink for the community would be just that, mineral water with a chaser of mouthwash, cause I love kissing and detest bad breath!
18. We would love to have you visit South Africa in the future, what classes do you think we could benefit from?
I do a lot of classes, but my favorites are a workshop I call "Putting Sex Back in SM." The pan-sexual dungeons in the US are notoriously tepid when it comes to palpable eroticism. Many do not allow sexual activities for legal reasons and some just are uncomfortable with sex. This workshop is intended to put that spark of the erotic back into the play in the dungeon and discusses and demonstrates how scenes can become erotic encounters with no "traditional sex" happening.
My "Family Jewels" workshop is always fun. Concentrating on CBT and how it can become part of a scene. I explain the use of toys, safety and exploration of various aspects of genitorture.
I have a complete list of classes I present I can provide you.
19. In conclusion, anything you would like to add to this interview for the Leather community of South Africa?
I would add that the Leather community in South Africa seems to be vibrant and growing and I encourage you to continue to explore, share what you learn and nurture the next generation of Leatherfolk. To them you will become the "Old Guard" and with that is the heavy responsibility of knowing you are setting an example for future generations. Play hard, play safe, have fun!
On November 2 The Threshold Society will present its annual Bizarre Bazaar. In addition to numerous vendors, there will be sampler booths, food, and entertainment.
This event is open to the entire community, with the doors opening at 1 PM and the fun winding down at 7 PM. Admission is $10. There will be vendors from around the country and locally who will be selling some of the finest and most interesting wares in town. Here is an opportunity to handle and size those "special" items for which one has been looking.
The sampler booths will give Leather/BDSM/Fetish/Gearfolk a chance to try some activities they may only have been fantasizing about. Try out the violet wand, or a flogger, or a needle or two. What does a cane feel like? Here is a chance to get a small taste in a safe and fun atmosphere.
Join Threshold on the night of November 1 for the club's version of Dia De Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, play party. It is the night the "spirits," so get closest to the land of the living and celebrate the night away. This party is open to the community and admission is $20.
CLAW XV (Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend) announced that its host hotel has opened their room block at the Holiday Inn Cleveland South for April 23-26.
Rooms are $129/night. The Holiday Inn Cleveland South is located 6001 Rockside Road, Independence, Ohio 44131. A three-night minimum stay is required.
For those that have never attended CLAW, it is an event not to be missed. While the focus is major fundraising, one never feels that they are being fundraised to death. One can participate in as many or as few of these events as one wants. The shows, the live demos such as the bondage presentations and special presentations were top notch. The formal Leather dinner on Saturday night is a must. The Leather camaraderie as many of us remember from the 1980s and 1990s is there from day one to the closing revue on Sunday night.
CLAW XV organizers are hard at work planning the best CLAW ever and we would love to have help. All kinds of skills needed. Planning meetings are scheduled for October 11 and 12 and are open to everyone in the Leather/BDSM/Fetish/Kink community. One doesn't need to live in Ohio or attend the October meetings to help with CLAW 15. Contact Bob to find out more at
The Avatar Club Los Angeles educational program for Wednesday, August 27 is Fire Play with Orpheus Black at MCC in the Valley, 5730 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601 starting at 8 PM.
Fire Play by Orpheus Black will include discussion on Basic Fire Safety: Preparing private or public fire play scenes, checking tools, fuel storage and transportation, safety equipment and measures, treating burns. Preparing the Sub: Easing fears, outlining safety protocols, negotiating safe words, phrases and gestures, cultivating the head space. Technique: Types of torches brushes and their differences, review of basic torching methods and basic cupping, tips and tricks Advanced Techniques Fire Painting Techniques:How to perform half body trails and full torso transfers Advanced Fire Cupping:Demonstration of horning, using cups as tie points and leads Torching Techniques: Safely combining rope bondage and fire play, safely increasing the heat and intensity of the flame.
International Mr. Leather 2014 Ramien Pierre will be attending the La Fraternitie du Loup-Garou CampOUT the weekend of July 16-20 at Our Haven Nature Sanctuary in Southern Indiana.
CampOUT will feture dungeon parties, classes and demos on Fireplay, Rogh Body Play, Negotiating With Strangers, Chest Harness for Power and Flight, Front Hole Fisting, Rope 101, Kinky Laughter Yoga, a variety of meals including a Chili Cookoff, midnight snacks
Ramien Pierre will be the first International Mr. Leather titleholder to attend a La Fraternitie du Loup-Garou CampOUT.
La Garou is a traditional Levi/Leather club whose main focus is trans/men and other masculine gender outlaws. In our first Bylaws, La Garou defined masculine gender outlaws as people who were born female or intersexed and raised female but whose gender identity is male or masculine, including but not limited to trans/men, tg butches and butch women. It is also for people who are interested in showing support for masculine gender outlaws in the Leather community.
Michael "Nefarious" William Roache, born on May 24, 1967, passed away on Monday, December 30, 2013 in Spartanbug, SC. Michael is Mr. Southeast Leather 2009, was a handler and major assistant for the Southeast Mr. and Ms Olympus Leather contest, a well-liked bootblack and presenter at many Leather/BDSM/Fetish conventions.
A memorial service was held for Nefarious at the Green Lawn Heritage Chapel in Spartanburg.
By Boy Andy
Life is all too short. This has been brought to the forefront of our minds so much in recent days. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. We are not even guaranteed more than the moment we are currently living. My best friend died less than a week ago. It was sudden, it was unexpected, and it was devastating.