TLJ-VT: Tell me about your favorite charity.
IMsL Contestant Summer: During my year as Ms. Texas Leather I got to raise money for a charity very near and dear to my heart. Youth First Texas is a program run by Resource Center of Dallas that provides recreational and educational programming, counseling, and career services to LGBTQ kiddos here in North Texas. They create a safe space for the kids to make friends and build a support network. Just recently they helped me provide temporary housing information to one of my high school teachers who was trying to help her student who had been kicked out of their home after coming out as trans. Youth First and Resource Center of Dallas are favorite benefactors for many of our community fund raisers here in Dallas, and for good reason. I wonder how much time and heartache I could’ve saved myself if I’d had these resources available to me as a gayby.
TLJ-VT: Tell me in your own words how you feel about community service.
IMsL Contestant Summer: One of the very first entries in my submissive journal is a Martin Luther King Jr. quote,
"Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
I find inspiration and comfort in this quote so often. By shifting our focus away from ourselves, and helping lift other people up, we gain a lot of perspective and it ends up being uplifting for us as well. Taking care of others is one of my favorite versions of self care because of that.
TLJ-VT: What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack?
IMsL Contestant Summer: I’m a leather woman because I like wearing leather and having kinky sex! When I found the leather community a tiny piece of my heart that was missing clicked into place and I thought, “Oh. I found it. This is where I go in the world. These are my people. My supportive, queer, perverted, special people.”
TLJ-VT: Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?
IMsL Contestant Summer: Seriously?! One?! How about two? They’re married so I feel like that means they can count as one. Jimmie and Mera Tucker were some of the first leather people I met. I was in the middle of having my world turned upside down (in mostly good ways, just all sort of at once) and they basically picked me up and said alright baby girl, we’re your family now. What do you need? Their compassionate, gracious and loving attitudes have definitely left their mark on me. So have their paddles and canes! Mera is famous for her Tucker Inn cookies that she makes for absolutely anyone that asks and they always go for a very high price at our charity auctions. Jimmie doesn’t stir the pot, she doesn’t put other women down and she is not about dwelling on the negative. Because of this, people really listen to what she has to say and they value and respect her opinion. They are the type of leather women I want to be.
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 Summer: I think one of the most hurtful misconceptions about leather, kink and BDSM is that everyone here is emotionally or sexually damaged. People assume that because I call my dykey girlfriend, Daddy, I have “daddy issues.” Actually, my biological father was present and attentive my entire childhood. He came to all my plays and coached my basketball team. So suck on that. I think this misconception is dangerous to the people in the community because how many times can you hear something before you start to believe it, even a little bit? I know a lot of us have had moments where we feel like just because we’ve seen some dark and ugly days that we are broken, and this is simply not the case. I combat this misconception by being here, choosing to live authentically, being honest about my short comings, asking for help when I need it, giving it back to others when I can and all the while being strong in my vulnerability. We’re not damaged. We’re resilient and sexy as hell.
TLJ-VT: In 100 words or less what will you do as IMsL or IMsBB to promote your title?
IMsL Contestant Summer: If chosen to be IMsL 2015 I promise to dish out as many orgasms as possible. That’s a promise! I’ll use my sweet and innocent looks to lure newbies to the dark side mwahahaha! In all seriousness, I’d like to be an approachable, friendly face that encourages people who may have otherwise been too intimidated to experience all the wonderful things our community has to offer. Finding leather helped me realize I wasn’t wrong or dirty or alone. I’m a darling pervert surrounded by some of the best people in the world! I want to share that gift with others. I would strive to represent the IMsL title well by being genuine and kind to everyone I come in contact with.
TLJ-VT: What do you say to those who feel that the Title system is outdated and no longer necessary?
IMsL Contestant Summer: Would we all likely be doing the same community service without having titles to put a spotlight on it? Probably. Would the leather community die without titleholders and contests? Nope. But I see the purpose that contests and titles serve. My year as Ms. Texas Leather was transformative. I spent the year having amazing experiences and making friends I may not have met otherwise. I got to raise money and organize volunteers for causes that mean a lot to me. And contests are FUN! We get to get all gussied up, see friends from all over in one place, and enjoy the excitement of watching people get on stage to show us their leather hearts. If that doesn’t sway you, ok. If you are adamantly against contests, then don’t run for a title and don’t judge me for doing so. We can agree to disagree and there are tons of other events and opportunities for us to hang out.