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Vivian

Written by

VivianLeatherJournalBasic 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:

Vivian, Chicago, Illinois

I am one of the bootblacks on hand for the Women's Cruise Night and Gear Nights at Touché in Chicago. I have also begun volunteering with the Chicago Leather Community Outreach, a group dedicated to helping various local charities by offering time and knowledge.

My favorite leather item in my arsenal of bar/fetish wear is a pair of white leather and lace gloves that one of my cherished, longtime lovers gifted me from her own collection. These gloves represent me, at first seemingly delicate and innocent with their white lace backing, but as you take in the details you realize that the entire underside and edgings are made of the most sensuous and beautiful white leather, hidden just out of site by the details of the white lace; delicate and strong, expertly honed.

Facebook - Vivian Samanthe ()

Instagram - femmeviv

Fetlife - kitten-V

Sponsors:

Since my announcement to run I've had several people step forward to help me in various unofficial capacities. In particular though, I am very lucky to have Touché Chicago specifically step forward to sponsor me in my run for IMsBB 2018. Touché Chicago is one of the oldest leather bars in the country, currently celebrating their 40th Anniversary!

Favorite Charity:

Over the last ten years that I have been involved in kink and leather, I have had the pleasure of working with a number of charities in unofficial capacities. Trying to pick on charity is hard because there are so many amazing causes both within the leather community and in general. The one that immediately comes to mind is the Broadway Youth Center in Chicago, IL. The Broadway Youth Center provides a safe place for more than 1,500 LGBTQ teens and young adults experiencing homelessness or instability due to housing. They provide not only refuge, but medical, social, and mental health care services for those 12 to 24, regardless of ability to pay. Their clinic specifically offers HIV testing and STI screenings. You can find out more about this incredible organization and donate at https://howardbrown.org/byc/

How you feel about community service?:

For me, community service can be summarized in once concept: offering your skills and/or knowledge to the community of your choices without the intention of getting anything of monetary value in return for that time and effort. For me, Community Service is integral to how I feel fulfillment. I enjoy helping people and offering my knowledge and skills. Oftentimes it is easy to put on leather and go to the bar and cruise, but sometimes it is harder to look those who are in need in the face and offer what you can, even if it is not enough to solve all of their needs. It is an important reminder that what is often needed is not easy to fulfill, however you should still give as much as you can to help others, no matter how big or small it may seem

What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack?:

I am a leather woman because I choose to be. Every day, in everything that I do, I am a leather woman. I choose to honor the history that has come before me, while looking at new ways to move into the future. I choose to stay true to my word and hold myself accountable when I do not. I choose to learn from my mistakes and grow from them, while helping others who are struggling. In those things I choose to be a leather woman every day, and that choice allows me to embody it. In much the same way, I choose to be a bootblack. I feel most myself when I am on the stands, working on leather, with my hands dirty and the challenge of a difficult boot or piece of leather before me. I choose to allow myself to become fully, the leather woman and bootblack that I am, as I find solutions for those challenging problems, unafraid of the work it will take to make it happen. I am exactly who I am because I choose to be."

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:

My favorite leather woman is slave angie, International slave 2014. slave angie played a crucial role in my being accepted as a bootblack in Chicago when I first moved in August of 2017. As the resident bootblack of Touché at the time, she welcomed me to share her chair with open arms, in the way only another femme bootblack could. Getting to hear some of her stories and learn from her has been a true honor. She brings grace, strength, and dedication to everything that she does in a way that inspires me to reach for more in myself. She approaches hard conversations with compassion and kindness, standing firm in her beliefs, and in her service to both Master Michael and her community. She is my favorite leather woman because she demonstrates that remaining true to yourself and what your heart tells you is the most important thing one can do in life.

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?:

I think one of the most dangers pieces of mis-information that affects our community right now is that we all are "the same" leather and just need to love one another more. One of the most beautiful things about humans are their differences. We are not all the same. We are all vastly different. We all have different needs, experiences, and privileges that intersect in unique ways. To not acknowledge these is damaging and detrimental to our community. We are already seeing this through the many lateral aggressions and macroaggressions that take place daily via social media. Worse, we are seeing this manifested in people in positions of power who are using that power to further an agenda of racist, ableist, transphobic, misogynistic, and many other oppressive beliefs. By remaining silent, one is accepting and agreeing with these ideas. Resistance is the only option for me and for those I love and hold dear. Resistance that looks like call ins, discussions and breakdowns of privilege, working to elevate marginalized voices, believing victims, and call outs when all other options have been exhausted.

In 100 words or less what will you do as IMsL or IMsBB to promote your title?:

As IMsBB my priority will be visibility on an international scale. I will be travelling internationally as much as possible, assisting, learning from, and helping grow the women's leather and bootblack communities outside the US through networking, fundraising, and use of social media to bring awareness. Within the US, my focus will be on continuing to build the bootblacking community in lesser known areas and show that Femmes can and are skilled and amazing bootblacks. Promoting IMsBB for me, will be about educations, awareness, and helping fund smaller communities that are still finding their footing.

girl ang

Written by

girlangLeatherJournalBasic 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:

girl ang Melbourne, Victoria

Provocation

Gear Up

Oz Kink Fest/Fetish Expo

My favorite Leather item is my hooded coat with tails, I made it last year.

Facebook: Angela Saide (girl ang)

Facebook: Little Miss Leather

Instagram: The Girl Ang

Instagram: Little Miss Leather

Fetlife: girlang

Sponsors:

I have four major sponsors, all of whom I know on both a personal and professional level. Wayne; owner of Lucrezia & De Sade, Mz Mallice; creator of Oz Kink Fest, Fetish Expo and Provocation, Bella and Paulus; owners of Piercing HQ, and Adrian; owner of Aphrodites Pleasure. Their sponsorship and support has been so greatly appreciated. It is an honor to represent Australia with their blessings.

Favorite Charity:

With the recent trauma resulting from the same-sex marriage vote and it's associated media, I believe now more than ever our youth need our help. Minus 18 champions for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) youth Australia wide. This organization creates events, provides peer support, and delivers workshops and campaigns. I have spoken to numerous LGBTIQ youth and heard stories of how Minus 18 has helped them. I believe if we nurture and support the younger generations coming through we offer strength to the foundations they stand upon, this positive impact can then influence future generations to come.

How you feel about community service?:

Community service is the motor that drives the cogs. Community service is a significant part of what drives me at my Leather core. It is how events happen, how we educate, how we build up, help and maintain our community.

What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack?:

My heart and my choices. Finding the Leather community and understanding who they are as individuals and a community was like finding family. I know I am a Leather woman as I have Leather values and my heart feels at peace surrounded by my chosen family. My choices reinforce my place within my family. Leather values are a guiding force that streams from the past to direct my future.

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:

Sarge IMsL 2015 is my favorite Leather woman. She has been family since the night we met, and a mentor and my Sir for the last two years. Her love and involvement with the Leather community worldwide is strong. Sarge's campaign 'You Are Not Alone' involving peer support for people struggling with mental health has opened up conversations where assistance has been given and received. I feel honored to know her intimately and strive to walk my path with the same level of integrity, accountability and reliability with which she walks her own.

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?:

The most dangerous mis-information that has passed through media is the image or perception of what it is that we do. The way we do kink is not portrayed by 50 Shades or Tarantino's gimp in Pulp Fiction, yet these are common thought associations for those who are not kink-aware. This incorrect portrayal is a catalyst for negative stigma and dangerous behaviour to develop and spread. Through visibility and communication, I have and will continue to combat misconceptions, and educate and grow awareness of kink, BDSM and Leather.

In 100 words or less what will you do as IMsL or IMsBB to promote your title?:

Smile, talk, travel, listen, invite, share and be involved. I believe being visible, available and open to authentic communication opens doors for connections to be made. These connections between people provide strong fibers for the weave of our community. By bringing the title back to the Australian community it will show people the strength and reach of this title, this action in itself will promote.

Tig, Ms. SouthEast LeatherFest 2017

Written by

TigLeatherJournalBasic 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:

Tig, Ms. SouthEast LeatherFest 2016 and 2017 from Charlotte, North Carolina

Three of my favorite events include SouthEast LeatherFest, South Carolina Pride in Leather, and Trademark.

My favorite leather item in my collection is my earned leather vest with my North Carolina Leather Contest patch. It was presented to me by my Leather brother, family, and the Charlotte Tradesmen.

Facebook: Tig Natious

Instagram: msself2016

Twitter: Tignatious

Sponsors:

I am sponsored by SouthEast LeatherFest. I am Ms SELF 2016-2017 and have actively worked my title for two years. SouthEast LeatherFest was founded in 1995 by Jack Stice, Victoria G., David Armstrong, and several others with the goal of creating a place for everyone to be able to learn, share, and celebrate diversity. https://secure.seleatherfest.com

I am also sponsored by Mayfaire Moon Corsets and Costumes, maker and designer of couture corsets.     

Favorite Charity:

For me, as a Leatherwoman and as a human being, I feel it is my job to do what I can, when I can, for causes I believe in. I support several charities. Some of them are the House of Mercy who provide a home and care for people living with HIV/AIDs, Child’s Play that donates toys and games to children’s hospitals across the country, Triad Health Project providing support, education, and testing for HIV/AIDs, the Carter/Johnson Leather Library, and numerous others.  Each one is important, and needed in their own right, for both the local and national communities. Call me poly-philanthropic, but I could not rank one charitable cause above another as the need is great for all of them.

How you feel about community service?:

Being in service to my community is a part of who I am. Growing up, volunteering was just something my family did. There is a Ghandi quote that perfectly captures my feelings about service, “The best way to find oneself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Our community doesn't just magically function, it is run on the blood, sweat, tears, and passion of your everyday Leatherfolk. Enjoying all the community provides, without giving back in the ways that I can, feels wrong for me. So, I do what I can, when I can. Whether it's putting my literal ass on the line for a charity paddling, taking an extra volunteer shift, teaching, or simply helping to carry items for an event, it all counts and makes a difference.

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:

I choose to live my life with honor, being deeply loyal to my people and my principles, acting with integrity, and loving a good, rough, filthy fuck. For these reasons, I self identify as a Leatherwoman.  My favorite Leatherwoman is Lizzy, Ms. Atlanta Eagle 2013. She is an incredible woman who has worked tirelessly for years fundraising for charity and always managed to look amazing while doing it. The first time I saw her, I felt that she was the epitome of high femme. As another femme presenting, bi/pansexual woman in the Leather community, I have always looked to her as an example of authenticity. She has always been quick to help with charity fundraising, once even donating her own shoes to be auctioned off for the March of Dimes. Over the years, her health has presented challenges to her ability to volunteer, yet she has consistently met these challenges head-on and found new and creative ways to continue her work. Her determination inspires me daily.

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?:

A pervasive idea that has been ingrained in our community is that a young age denotes a lack of experience. We all have to start somewhere and the digital world that we live in today plays a major part in self-discovery. There are people who entered the community as soon as they were able to at eighteen and have now put in over ten years. The best way I have found to deal with this misunderstanding is to open a conversation, share my experiences, and find out why someone is holding onto this misconception. As a Leatherwoman, I combat this injustice by bringing up what young leaders in the community to showcase their achievements experiences, and find out what I can do to dismantle these preconceived notions by using positive dialogue and by building a personal connection.

In 100 words or less what will you do as IMsL or IMsBB to promote your title?:

 I hope to inspire and educate others in everything I do. I will to continue to invest myself in all of the events that I attend. When you work at an event, or a place, that isn't your home people notice. In my experience, pursuing this personal investment allows the title to be represented and makes me as a titleholder more approachable. I know that social media plays an important role in today's society. I believe that by combining it with personal connections that we build within our community- we are able to create a bridge that lasts a lifetime.

Thomas

Written by

Thomas LeatherJournalAuthor's Note April 5, 2018: Thomas is no longer competing for IMsL 2018

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:

Thomas from Oakland, California I don't hold a current title.

I think it is worth mentioning that many of our local titles are gendered in a way that makes non-binary womyn like me feel unwelcome.

That is why I have not run for a local title, tho I live in Oakland where leather and fetish are a part of the scene. IMsL is one of the few organizations that takes a modern stance on gender expression.

I have participated closely with Society of Janus, an all gender inclusive organization that puts on parties and educational events, and I have recently had the honor of being named their Instagram Guru. Look us up @societyofjanus !

I LOVE MY HANKIES. They are my favorite leather item in my arsenal of a wardrobe.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ThomasLeathe...

Instagram http://instagram.com/linnsieshaffer/

Tumblr http://thomasleatherboi.tumblr.com/

Fetlife https://fetlife.com/groups/150229

Twitter @eisnnil

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/t-l-shaffer-45164745

Portfolium https://portfolium.com/ThomasLinnsieShaffer

TheFuckinWebsite http://linnsieshaffer.wixsite.com/thomastime

Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/thomastime"          

Sponsors:

Society of Janus (soj.org) I have given service and volunteer time, as well as establishing and running our new IG (@societyofjanus) to help TNG leatherfolk find educational opportunities.

Safeword Tax Safeword's Christoforo and I met last year when they were also supporting my run! He is an excellent tax service provider with an acute understanding of BDSM and Kink related tax issues, he is my friend and allowed me the honor of BootBlacking his Playa boots from Burning Man. (If you get to know me you find, I love blacking Playa leathers!)"   

Favorite Charity:

I'm a big fan of Patreon. It may not be an official charity, but when the leather community almost lost our kinky coffee shop Wicked Grounds, the entire community came together and pledged monthly contributions to help keep it going; this is an example of the best kind of charity in my opinion. That is what being a part of the leather community is about, we hold each other strong, we help each other survive.  "Alice Walker once said, ""Activism is paying rent for being on this planet.""

How you feel about community service?:

I believe that every community has needs to fill and if you wish to be a part of that community you have find a way to pitch in. Like a good polyamorous interaction, we have to look out for each others needs and notice when someone is not getting what they need and work together to find solutions. This way, we can get happier as we get older." First off... define woman. I define myself as a womyn, it's a more modern term in my opinion and encompasses a more broad spectrum of valid womanly expressions like Trans womyn and non-binary womyn. I have swung from flesh hooks, birthed a child and made my own leather garments, I have submitted to Tops and Daddi's and experienced first hand, all the ways in which a boi can make an ass of themselves! ;-) and dispite the negativity and disinclusion I have faced in our community, I never let that stop me from looking for where I fit in. Even in this year's contest before we ever set foot in the hotel,  I was forced to face the fact that, exclusion is a part of our culture. As I participated in the early stages of IMsL2018 I found myself disappointed in some of my fellow contestants.

What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack?:

I am leather because I still love them. I love my whole community, the good the bad and the mean girls.

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:

Right after IMsL 2017, I watched Pixie Mary win International Ms. Olympus Leather 2017. She was the first single mom to win an international leather womyn's title, as far as I know. I reached out to her via Facebook and told her she was my hero and she was cool enough to write back and share some of her stories with me as a leather single parent. She gave me hope for my own experience. In the middle of her title year, she posted to her Facebook wall that she had woken to find her 13-year-old daughter had taken her own life, (name of minor redacted by editor) was gone. The devastation was deep, and I didn't know how she would proceed. She continued through her title year with an unbelievable Grace and strength. She renewed my hope in leather parenting and our ability to hold each other up.

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?:

I think that a large part of our community is convinced that we are not presently led by a psychopathic Dictator. If we remain blind to the danger he poses it could lead to the stripping of our human rights. He already enabled the Dakota Access Pipeline to violate the rights of the Lakota who live on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. It is wrong to think that Donald Trump is not a direct threat to our liberty and to justice itself. Should I be given the opportunity I would love to share what I have learned as a Native American growing up in a society that still puts a lot of pressure on us to assimilate. By sharing my perspective as a Native who is white presenting, I am hoping to teach people in a position of privilege that it is everyone responsibility to safeguard human rights.

In 100 words or less what will you do as IMsL or IMsBB to promote your title?:

Instagram! I am a social media wizard and a millennial, this gives me a unique and valuable understanding of the internet and social media. With my degree in Politics and international diplomacy and my skills on the web, I believe I can bring our contest into modernity and make it accessible in a whole new way.

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