Basic Information: Name Current Title City, State website (if any) regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3) Favorite Leather item in your arsenal of bar/fetish wear & social media:
Teagan, Southwest Bootblack 2017 Oakland, CA
regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3)
I’m the producer of the San Francisco Bootblack Contest. I coordinate the main bootblack stands for Folsom Street Events. I’m also a member of the Bay Area Bootlab.
My favorite item is my pair of Wesco Voltfoe 16 inch black boots. They are comfortable, sexy, and make for a really wonderful thuddy kick.
I’m so lucky to be sponsored by four amazing organizations. The first is my regional title and the Southwest Leather Conference. SWLC is an amazing event in Phoenix every january. I’m also sponsored by San Francisco’s own Leather Bar, The SF Eagle. My third sponsor is Folsom Street Events, which produce the Folsom Street Fair and the Dore Alley Street Fair. The last sponsor is the Bay Area Bootlab, which holds a monthly bootblacking skillshare.
My favorite charity, and the one I’ll be working to raise money for should I win the title of IMsBB 2018, is Trans Lifeline. I know the founders personally and I really believe in the work they are doing. Suicide is an immense risk for transgender, non binary, and gender nonconforming folks. Trans Lifeline is a vital resource to the trans community -- providing crisis hotline services to those in need.
How you feel about community service?:
Service to me is vital both as a leather person and as a human being. I’ve volunteered for as long as I can remember. If there is one thing I’ve kept from my christian upbringing it is living my life with an attitude of service. To be honest it’s why I started bootblacking. I was struggling to find my place in community. When I’m struggling to find my place, the first thing I do is find a job for myself. I find a way to give back to my community, and for me bootblacking serves as a reminder of the footwashing ritual of my youth.
What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack?
I am a leather woman because I am a bootblack. I discovered the community in 2013, but I almost left in early 2015 after failing to find a safe refuge to be myself. Bootblacking is what kept me in the community. I discovered bootblacking right after I joined the community but I did it only in private. I had a ticket to IMsLBB 2015, and when I saw 5 bootblacks working beside each other, I decided to stay. I decided to become a bootblack. It’s because I became a bootblack that I’m a leather woman. It’s because I’m a leather woman that I’m a bootblack.
Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:
The two are synonymous for me. It was in bootblacking that I found my identity as a leather woman. One of my favorite leather women is Mamma Vi Johnson. When I walked into my first IMsLBB, I found myself in the auction room and she had a leather history display set up. I sat down and asked her a question that had been burning in my mind: What did she know about the history of trans women in the leather community. She took the time to just sit and have a conversation with me, and try to answer my question about leather history. That really stood out to me. I admire all of her accolades and awards, but what has stuck with me the most was her willingness to make a human connection with an individual she had never met before. At its best, that is what this community is about.
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?:
One of the most dangerous beliefs that I’ve witnessed over the past few years is the belief that a trans woman's place in our community is contingent on our appearance, our perceived femininity, and our surgical bodies. When we speak up about our oppression, on social media, or otherwise - we are told we are crazy, we are being aggressive and divisive, or we are ignored and silenced. Over the past year both online and in person i’ve had my appearance and perceived gender expression used to invalidate and question my womanhood. While I do not think this is an issue that is easily solved, I plan to continuing to combat this dangerous belief, which is based in mis-information and ignorance, by being a boldly out, gender non-conforming, transsexual woman.
In 100 words or less what will you do as IMsL or IMsBB to promote your title?:
One of my favorite things I’ve tried to during both my local and regional title years is travel to small communities who do not have the same access to the large conferences and classes. I think it’s important not just to promote the title within the International Leather Community, but to find the places where we can still grow the community and the IMsLBB weekend. I’ve taught in small communities at homes in Reno, Vegas, Bakersfield, and Santa Barbara. In addition to the normal duties of the title, I want to continue that work.