Conversations in Leather - The Leather Journal

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Jaco interviews Mark I. Chester

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1.  For those who don’t already know, please tell us about yourself and your titles.

My name is Mark I. Chester. I am a San Francisco gay *radical sex* photographer. I use the term radical sex the way other people use the term leather. It is an inclusive term and could include leathersex, sadomasochism, BDSM, bondage, fetishism, puppy play, spiritual ritual play and just about anything else you could think of. Unlike S/M (sadomasochism), a word whose origin and history is one of medical dysfunction and psychopathology, radical sex has no baggage. And I think it is far more accurate and inclusive than the term leather. But because of its widespread acceptance, for practical reasons, I frequently use the term "leather.” I think it is important that we name ourselves and claim our own identity, rather than giving the medical industry the power to name us and shame us.

Conversations: Sir Spencer Bergstedt

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1. For those who don’t already know, please tell us about yourself and your connection with the leather world and what Leather title(s) do you hold?

I am an attorney, activist, consultant, and author.  I have been involved with the Leather community since the late 1980’s and have been an active participant in community organizing since then.  I was Washington State Ms Leather 1993, International Ms. Leather 1994. Since I transitioned from female to male in 1995, many affectionately call me Mr. IMsL.

I have served on various community organization boards including Generic Leather Productions of Washington, NLA: International, and I presently am the Secretary for the IMsL Foundation board.

2. Please tell us who got you started in the Leather community and for how long?

I got started in the Leather community in the late 1980’s though I can trace my interest back to when I was a child in the 60’s. Initially, I met some wonderful Leather women who helped me connect to others in the community,  but it was really in the men’s Leather community that I found my place.  The men embraced me in and taught me and I found my first Leather family with them.

Being the kind of person I am, once I found my people I soaked up as much information and education as I could.  I jumped in with both feet into community organizations including joining the board of NLA: Seattle and helping to organize a conference it used to hold called May Days.  I started presenting workshops and writing articles on legal issues for the Leather community around 1991 or so.

Conversations: Master Michael Shorten and slave Angie

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1. For those who don’t already know, please tell us about yourself & your connection with the leather world.

Master Michael is a 47 year leatherman. Slave angie is a (mumble,mumble) year old leatherwoman.  They’ve been together for almost 11 years in a Master/slave relationship. Both are active in the leather/kink community of Chicago and the M/s community around the world. Michael is a co-founder of the Chicago Leathermen’s Group, a discussion group for leather and leather-curious men. He’s a community member of the Chicago Hellfire Club’s McAdory Committee. Michael is a co-director of MAsT: Greater Chicago (Master And slave Together). Slave angie is a member of MAsT: Greater Chicago. She is a former Board Director for the LRA Chicago, a pansexual dungeon social club.  Angie volunteers as a bootblack at many local events.

Our connection is through our involvement with our leather club - Chicago Leather Club, our involvement in the leather and Master/slave community both locally and across the world as presenters, learners and listeners. Together, we are honored to hold the titles of International Master/slave 2014, Great Lakes Master/slave 2013 and Illinois Master/slave 2013. 


Master Michael slave Angie


Conversations With Leather Featuring Toni Solenne

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2013 Photos 603


1.     For those who don’t already know, please tell us about yourself and what your titles are.

 Hi Jaco! Thank you for interviewing me as part of this very interesting project. I am not your average bear… I’m a sometimes warm and cuddly- and-a sometimes passionate and ferocious leatherdyke bear! I identify as a leather woman on a path of Mastery. Initially working with a Mentor to master myself,  I am presently continuing to work on myself as I guide the development of four terrific leatherwomen that are part of my leather family called the House of the Dove. I hold two leather titles, Mid-Atlantic Leatherwoman 2012 and Ms Woods Leather 2011, as well as being honored to be 2012 American Leatherwoman first runner-up, and part of Mama's family as "Mama's Story Seeker."

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