Scene from Southwest Leather Conference 2017. Photo by Dave Rhodes
Southwest Leather Conference - Take the Plunge
Southwest Leather Conference 2018 - Take the Plunge will highlight the annual Southwest Master/slave Contest and Southwest Bootblack Contest in gorgeous Phoenix, Arizona. Southwest Leather Conference also includes Dance of Souls hook pull ceremony, keynote brunch, play parties, a large number of classes and workshops, Leather Tribe Revival and other socials. http://www.southwestleather.org/content/registration NOLA Leather to Geaux 2018 March 16 - 18, 2018 hosted by NOLA Leather to Geaux March 16-18 at 6 PM at the Phoenix, 941 Elysian Fields Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117-8535.
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 Southern California Leather Gathering (SCLG) 2014 will be held on Saturday, June 21 at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in South El Monte, CA, from 11 AM - 4 PM.
SCLG is an annual outdoor picnic gathering that is open to all Leather/BDSM/Fetish, kink, motorcycle and bear individuals and/or groups of all genders and orientations. The aim of the Southern California Leather Gathering is to provide an opportunity for these various folk to interact in a relaxed atmosphere, have fun and raise awareness about the size and diversity of the Leather/BDSM groups within Southern California. There will be games and prizes. Several clubs and groups bring tents or umbrellas.
Bring your own food and beverages (non-alcoholic only). Feel free to bring extra food to share. There will be grills heated up and available for anyone that wants to grill food.
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 dynamic nature of Washington, DC’s urban redevelopment has allowed the landlord to grant the DC Eagle yet another extension of their lease at 639 New York Avenue NW. The DC Eagle will be staying at this location though January 2014. During the weekend of Mid-Atlantic Leather the DC Eagle will be testing out their first pop-up location which is at the other end of the DC Eagle's current block - 607 New York NW, the Fringe Building.
At a time where many established Leather, gear and biker bars are closing across the globe, the DC Eagle has viewed the challenge of a location move as an opportunity to create a stable home for the DC Eagle and a destination for all members of the community. If all goes to plan the new home will be at 3701 Benning Road NE with an anticipated settlement in February 2014. After renovations and improvements, the DC Eagle management anticipate an opening in late summer of 2014.
Mufasa Ali is Great Lakes Leather Alliance keynote speaker
By Christina K. Court
Great Lakes Leather Alliance (GLLA) announced that Mufasa Ali will serve as the GLLA 2018 keynote speaker. Mufasa Ali, a member of the Leather community for over 20 years and the inaugural Mr. World Leather 2006/2007, is the founder of ONYX, an international club supporting Leathermen of Color and the recipient of the 2013, 2016 and 2017 Pantheon of Leather Large Club of the Year Award. He currently serves as the Chair of the ONYX National Council, and he is the founder and primary facilitator of the People of Color Leather Caucus seminars at IML and Black Beat, Inc. GLLA 2018 will occur September 6-9 in the same Indianapolis, Indiana host hotel as GLLA 2017. Event registration will open January 1.
Mid-Atlantic Leather judges named
By Patrick Grady
The judges for Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather were named. They are Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2017 Martel Brown, International Mr. Leather 2017 Ralph Bruneau, International Mr. Leather 1992 Lenny Broberg, Mr. Eagle NYC 2016 Darkqwolf, American Leatherwoman 2012 Doc, Mr. Leather Europe Joe King and Sister Tiny Bubbles. The scores will be added up by Mark Branson of COMMAND MC and International Leather Sir 2015 Tug Whitehead. Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend will be held January 12-14 in Washington, DC. Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2018 will be a contestant in the International Mr. Leather contest in Chicago, IL, Memorial Day Weekend. Go to http://www.leatherweekend.com/ for details.
You can list your club event, Leather contest, kink fundraiser, Fetish convention in the Calendar on www.The LeatherJournal.com Follow the simple instructions below to get you started.
On the home page click on the word Pantheon on the blue menu bar near the top of the page.
When you do that, a window will open and near the top center will be the phrase Login to Add Your Event! Click on that.
The next window will ask you for your User Name and Password. If you have not registered yet, click on Don't have an account?
Click on that and follow the instructions. Once complete, you can add events.
The Leather Leadership Conference 2014, to be held at the DoubleTree Hotel and the William Way Center in downtown Philadelphia April 11-13, has done an internal inventory of what it has offered, combined with conference feedback forms and with the results of their 2012 community survey, with the result of that inventory being the creation a new Do It Yourself (DIY) program that will debut in Philly with a new delivery system for that program.
LLC has been the offering leadership training for Leather/BDSM/Kink/Fetish and LGBT communities for nearly 18 years. During that time, several changes have taken place and there has been more acceptance for those in alternate lifestyles, including more positive media. The Internet has given endless opportunities for contact, communication, and networking. There are a multitude of groups, munches and events to attend; sometimes so many that one could go to at least one event a week or have to choose where to participate.
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!
By Anthony Harmon
January 26-29 Drummer North America held its Third Annual Drummer, Drummer Boy, and Drummer Bootblack contest at the re-known Alexis Park Resort in Las Vegas, NV with the winners being Drummer - Jack MacCullum, Drummer Boy - Pup Cruze and Drummer Bootblack - Boy Tig. The annual Brotherhood Award, voted on by the contestants, went to Boy Tig.
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.
Don Thompson passes
Don Thompson, perhaps best known as San Francisco Leather Daddy VIII, passed away on the morning of January 5, 2018 in Cathedral City, CA due to a long time illness. Don studied at Cambridge and Oxford University in the United Kingdom, country of his birth. Professionally, Don was a concert organist and president of Pipe Organ Presentations. Much of Don's Leather community service was as producer of Fetish Balls in San Francisco in the 1980s and 1990s. He was a member of the California Eagles Motorcycle Club. For several years he was co-emcee of the Pantheon of Leather Awards. One proud moment in his early years was as the organist for The Beatles' Mr. Moonlight. Thompson is survived by his husband Henry Jordan. A memorial service is being planned for Don. Photo gallery which will not leave one with dry eyes https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157037282395968&set=rpd.1132007819&type=3&theater
CODE: Dress Rehearsal
CODE: Dress Rehearsal - MAL Discount Tix Night will be hosted by CODE at the Glorious Health Club on Saturday, January 6 at 9 PM. With MAL just around the corner, try out your best gear at CODE - it's "dress rehearsal" time! Harnesses, chaps and jocks, oh my! Don't be caught by surprise - it's always best to have a Dress Rehearsal. Glorious Health Club, 2120 West Virginia Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002. https://www.facebook.com/codedc/
Avatar's 35th Anniversary Celebration and Exposition
By Tommy Trafelet
Avatar Club Los Angeles will present an exhibition of erotic art at Highways Performance Space on February 17. A celebratory gala will be hosted by International Mr. Leather 2017 Ralph Bruneau, featuring his live performances. A new metal sculpture by Wim Griffith is available as a commemorative for the occasion. On display will be exclusive erotic art from noted artists Wim Griffith, Drubskin, Dean Cameron, Turk McNanty, B.B., Leo Garcia, Don Tingling, Joe Rodriguez and Michael Kirwan, and pieces never seen before. Two no-host bars, a silent auction, and Master of Ceremonies International Mister Leather Ralph Bruneau! Special dinner catered by Layne Sanden and special guest chefs. Tickets for the gala are $40 and all information is available at http://www.avatarla.org/35