TLJ-VT: Tell me about your favorite charity.
IMsL Contestant Becca: Rather than one favorite charity, I prefer to help the communities I’m in at the time in a way where I can make personal connections as well as help support the community’s needs in a tangible way. While serving my state title, I raised money for all sorts of things from the Chicken Soup Brigade in Seattle, to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, to helping to fund scholarships for people to attend Leather Reign by putting together a kit and certificate for 2 hours of one on one teaching leather care, and helping my co-title holders raise funds for Lifelong AIDS Alliance and Bailey-Boushay House. I have had the luxury of being welcome in many spaces from pan spaces to women’s to some men’s spaces. In the past, I have participated in, donated tips or spread awareness to help raise money for surgeries for community members. I’ve helped Dara, IMsBB 2014, raise money for Willamatte Valley Planned Parenthood while s/he was Oregon State Bootblack 2013, and I’ve helped to raise money for a title run, for a competition kit, as well as travel funds for various titles. I love that if I win IMsBB, I can use the IMsL Foundation to help match funds to make community money stretch even further for charities that are approved by the Foundation.
TLJ-VT: Tell me in your own words how you feel about community service.
IMsL Contestant Becca: I was an avid 4H kid from the ages of 10-16. We walked in parades, visited the elderly, cleaned parks, and did animal sitting, donating our payments to local shelters. I have continued that role in my adult life. I think that community service looks like playing supporting roles wherever they are offered, whether it’s spreading the word about an event, offering coaching or skill shares with people who want some one on one help, to offering crash space when someone is traveling to an event in my area. Sometimes it looks like not passing along vicious gossip; sometimes it looks like rallying a group of friends to help someone in the community move. Other times it might be bringing along a friend to help with tear down or set up of an event, as I cannot physically help with that stuff myself. Even tiny things, like offering a snack out of my purse to the person working a security shift are an offering of service. The community is made up of individual people. Being a compassionate listener helps with burnout, offering a ride home looks like saving someone time and energy, being upbeat and sassy helps with group dynamics. Currently, my most visibly offered community service is bootblacking. I am preserving leather history, I am hearing stories, and I am making connections. I teach, I learn, and I listen with every interaction. Leather IS service.
TLJ-VT: What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack?
IMsL Contestant Becca: When I started learning how to do boots, I had a long list of self imposed “requirements” that I felt I needed to fulfill before I could call myself a bootblack. All that was tossed out the window the first time I did boots in public. There was an awesome scene with several of the PDX Bootblacks and after Nick checked over the boots I did, I was proclaimed a bootblack. For me, the difference between someone who does leather care and a bootblack is bootblacking in public. There are amazingly gifted leathercare people who offer their gifts to a single person, a family, or simply to themselves. This is no less than bootblacking, it is just a different application of similar skills.
TLJ-VT: Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?
IMsL Contestant Becca: Arli is my favorite leather woman. She is a fierce leatherdyke who is so many things to so many people. She is a Glammy, a submissive, a Momma, an owlet, a girl, a Lady, a community leader, and a keeper of memories. She holds decades of leather history and stories- I could listen to her wisdom for hours. Arli lives her life proudly and with a bravery, grace, and style that is a pleasure to witness. Arli is someone I am proud to call family, and she has named me her Wendy Lady for my ability to collect lost boys and girls.
TLJ-VT: What do you feel is the most dangerous mis-information passed through traditional & social media affecting our community today, and how would you combat it should the opportunity arise?
IMsL Contestant Becca: Consent. Each adult participating in an intentional relationship is garnering informed consent the entire way. I feel that in a lot of mainstream media, tops are portrayed as abusers and bottoms are helpless and infantile- incapable of knowing what they want or what they are saying yes to. Consent is free to give. That withdrawal of consent is welcomed. That the “awful” thing that I am consenting to be done to me today, I may not consent to tomorrow. The things I do to one person, I may not be willing to consent to doing to someone else. But- stories about fun, spanky, happy, and giggling times don’t sell clicks. I talk openly and often about consent. I educate people about how I garner consent- which doesn't always look like stopping the scene for a quiet check in. I talk about (and publicly play) believing that bottoms are fully capable adults who can convey their consent or their withdrawal of consent.
TLJ-VT: In 100 words or less what will you do as IMsL or IMsBB to promote your title?
IMsL Contestant Becca: Teach, play, fuck, learn, and eat chocolate cake!
TLJ-VT: What do you say to those who feel that the Title system is outdated and no longer necessary?
IMsL Contestant Becca: I think that when titles are no longer necessary, no one will run for titles. We have more and more titles every year as our communities grow and expand. We have pony trainer and pony titles, Master/slave titles, pup and handler titles, trans* titles, little titles, men’s titles, women’s titles, bar titles, play/fun titles, state titles, national titles and international titles- just to name a handful. Each one serves a different part of the enormous BDSM/kinky community. I think many people like to have a person that they somehow indentify with, in a role that they feel has some sort of visibility to it. The visibility could be to draw people to their event, visibility adds power to raise funds for a community need, or it could be the very thing that makes the future movers, shakers and doers run for a title themselves.