Tell me about your favorite charity: I support many charities all of which have a similar end goal. That goal is to help individuals overcome barriers to achieve acceptance through self-empowerment and the shattering of their, as well as other’s stereotypes. My favorite is Oklahoma Special Olympics, where everyone involved is transformed along with the disabled person. Here is a link if you would like to help out.
Tell me in your own words how you feel about community service: I have a service heart and devote the greater part of my life to serving my community. My “pay the bills job” is as a teacher of special education, in service to individuals whom I have the honor helping maximize their abilities. For most of my life I have had a sense of purpose and a driving need to serve others. That same need to serve is what lead me to join the US Army. There is a deep sense of connectedness I feel when helping others. It’s this connectedness that serves me; I suppose it’s the selfish portion of giving. It helps me feel of value, and not just needed but wanted.
What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack: I find that what makes me a Leather Woman Bootblack is a deep seeded love of leather and boot care. So much so that I find my bliss in it, while it can sooth it might also ignite my passions. I live my life by my own code. I was surprised when I found that others have similar beliefs. We matched and that match is called Leather. Having said this, I would like to remind others that what makes me a Leather Woman Bootblack is not necessarily what makes anyone else one.
Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why? There are so many amazing women to choose from. I continue to meet more, while deepening my understanding of those I have had the honor of meeting. I am in awe of these remarkable women, so much so, that choosing just one is extremely difficult. Leslie Anderson is my choice. Through her, written history and presentations, I have been empowered. She gave me lessons on my worth and is the role model I sought. She not only stood up for female identified bootblacks when she saw injustice, but she backed her words with actions by stepping up to lead. She continues to do the same today; leading the leaders and guiding the teachers. I owe her a debt of gratitude, Thank you Leslie Anderson.
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? Currently the biggest miss-information is the misnomer that “BDSM is Abuse”. This has been brought back to the forefront through 50 Shades of Grey, the book and now the movie. I already work to correct this, reminding people that 50 Shades is a fantasy, not an autobiography. It’s also important to remind those already in the lifestyle that there are a number of paths that bring people to this lifestyle. Which often includes many different works of fiction.
In 100 words or less what will you do as IMsL or IMsBB to promote your title? I will be one of the voices and leaders from within the ranks of Bootblacks that can publicly stand forward and be a positive professional role model. More importantly through my words and actions I will convey to the rest of our community that Bootblacks are so much more than just someone that blacks boots. We are whole kinky Leather people. We have lives that go beyond the passions of the chair.
What do you say to those who feel that the Title system is outdated and no longer necessary? We still need this title for the same reason it was created -To have highly visible female identified Bootblack leaders. To have these same leaders actually bootblack publicly, teach others about the art of bootblacking, and to encourage other bootblacks to do the same. The title gives an amount of weight and validity to the words and actions of the title holder. Also a greater responsibility to lead in a way that allows them to be heard. We need honest female identified mentors to nourish our next generation of bootblacks. This system of Bootblack titles is helping to move bootblacks away from being second class members of our community. I have been to big cities where the bar owners have pulled a bootblack stand out of storage and dusted it off in excitement. I have been to visit several communities where the majority of those present did not know what bootblacking was. I cannot even count the number of people who wished to learn and improve their skills in this art that have no one to learn from. So we need Bootblack titles to bring back the blacking.