1. For those who don’t know you, please tell us about yourself & what your titles are.
First the easy part: As far as titles are concerned, all mine have been given to me as honorary titles.
1999 Man of the Year from National Leather Association International
2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from National Leather Association International
2010 Recipient of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Leather Leadership Award
2012 Presidents Award - Pantheon of Leather
Now the hard part: I am a native Texan and have been active in the LGBT community since the early 1970's. I became fascinated with Leather in the late 1970's and stepped into my first Leather bar sometime around 1978. Since that fateful day I have continued on my Leather journey and am a former member of the Dallas Motorcycle Club, Leather Rose Society, National Leather Association, Discipline Corps and a founding member of Inquisition Dallas.
I have written many articles on Leather/BDSM topics and am the author of four books currently in circulation including "Family Jewels, a Guide to Male Genitortureand Torment "and” Soul of a Second Skin-Memoirs of a Gay Christian Leatherman."
I have also directed a few films on Leather/BDSM subjects including "Leather" a short film-poem about the gay male Leather experience and "Out of the Darkness, the Reality of SM" a documentary on the critical difference between SM and abuse.
Professionally I am a Marketing Specialist and I live in Dallas with my boy/partner of 18 years Patrick and our feline mistress, Elvira.
2. What or who got you started in the leather community and for how long?
What drew me to Leather was the hyper-masculinity of it. I never considered myself feminine; nor was I attracted to feminine men. Leather just pushed all the right buttons for me and once I got involved I fund that I really liked rough sex and SM.
The community, as such, didn't really exist when I came in, but the subsequent AIDS crisis pulled us together and gave us a real sense of purpose. We, in Dallas, started educating our community to the many ways sex could be hot and kinky and still be safer-sex.
3. Which club or bar are you affiliated with and tell us more about the history?
Currently I am a member of NLA: Dallas and Discipline Corps. NLA: Dallas is a pan-sexual organization with a mission to educate and network Leather/Fetish/BDSM folk of all sexual orientations and genders.
Discipline Corps is a men-only social and play group whose primary focus is monthly dungeon parties and having a good time!
When I go to a bar it is the Dallas Eagle, our local Leather bar, though I am not officially affiliated with it the owners, Mark Frasier and Jeffery Payne are close friends of mine.
4. How did you enjoy being one of the judges at IML XXX5 and what were your favorite moments?
Judging at IML was an amazing experience. I was worn out form the long days, but energized by the great men I met during the experience. I knew most of the judges before the contest, though I did make new friends since a couple of the judges were new faces to me. We all bonded immediately and the contestants were all outstanding. The final choice was very hard, since any of the Top 20 could have easily been a wonderful IML.
My favorite moments were getting to meet so many folks from outside the US, and the South African delegation was a particular joy!
5. Tell us about your charity involvement and goals.
As far as charity work I have several. My contributions to my church, Cathedral of Hope are an ongoing passion of mine. We even have a full pew of Leather folk wearing their colors every Sunday. I also work with Kiva, a micro loan organization that funds small businesses and individuals across the world.
I serve as Chairman of the Board for the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance in Washington, DC and work raising funds to support it and its many programs.
6. Tell us about your leather family.
My leather family is small, just me and my boy/partner. My extended Leather family is larger. About 8-10 close friends who I think of as family. Beyond that I have a large circle of friends who I have met at events and contests all over the continent and they too, are like family. I consider them my Leather cousins.
7. Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
I have to say my father. He taught me a lot as far as values and how to treat other people. He was authentic and honest and I try to emulate that. He loved his work and his family. He was intellectually curious and being a scientist, he never stopped learning, and that is something I think I got from him.
8. In your mind, what’s the biggest misconception of the leather community?
The biggest misconception I see about the Leather community is that we are some sort of homogenous group with a written code of conduct and values. No such thing. We are as varied as the general population, except for our love of kink and Leather. As a whole I have found our community does communicate more than the average vanilla folk, and I attribute that to the fellowship of our organizations and to the need for communication when we play.
9. What would you say are the most important strengths to have as a Leather man?
Honesty, authenticity and a good bull-shit detector.
10. What does leather mean to you?
I could prattle on about this topic forever but I would sound like I was doing a canned speech for a title contest. In reality leather means as many different things as there are people involved in it. Some simply are drawn to the fetish. Leather clothes and gear are sensual, organic and arousing. Some are drawn to the BDSM aspect of it. That was part of my attraction.
Leather folk, the energetic and intense encounters that SM play offers. I went into it thinking I would be a "grey Hankie" guy. Only into bondage and light SM but quickly realized that bondage was really not very interesting to me and more hard-core SM was my thing. Changed my hankie to black and never looked back.
11. What do you see for the future of leather in your community and internationally?
It is in a state of flux. Leather always changes, as sexual pioneers we are on the edges of what is possible physically and sexually and so there will always be something different and new. I see a disturbing trend to try to turn back the clock and relive the glory days of Leather in the 1970's, but surprisingly the people who are trying to do that are predominately straight. They have adopted the Leatherman look as though it was a codified uniform and remind me of " Renfair" folks, donning period costumes and role playing at Leather.
12. What does sexual freedom mean to you?
As someone who came of age I the late 1960's sexual freedom means being able to define my sexuality on my own terms Being able to enjoy consensual activities with other adults and not have to conform to any rigid rules. I have begin to think of myself more as "Queer" than gay, not because I do not have an affectional orientation toward men, but because I enjoy playing with anyone so long as we click and our goals are the same. Sexual freedom is a basic human right, it is up to us to define it and express it and celebrate it.
13. Whats your view on the huge anti-gay wave that is happening in certain states in America? What do you think people can do to protect their rights and help others retain it?
What you mentioned as the "anti-gay wave" sweeping parts of the country is not a massive display of anti-gay sentiment in my opinion. It is the last gasp of the hard core bigoted right. Their attitudes are dying out. Public opinion polls show most Americans believe in equality for LGBT citizens. What these anti-gay laws are is an attempt by the right to change the framing of the issue from "equality" to "religious freedom" or as I call it the freedom to hate.
All of these attempt have failed and even in far-right leaning states like Arizona. Even there the Governor recognized it's not a religious freedom issue it is equal rights. The laws are clumsily crafted and over reaching to begin with and would not withstand judicial scrutiny, so I have o believe its just politics and its not working.
14. We all have so many issues we want to highlight, please tell us what cause is close to your heart right now and how are you involved?
The issue closest to my heart is the cause of sexual freedom. I believe sexual freedom is a fundamental human right and as such it needs to be protected and nourished. To that end, I work with the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance, a human rights group with the focus on sexual freedom. In fact I am chairperson of the board. That's how involved I am and how important it is.
We work to affect policy concerning sex education, freedom of speech, sex workers and gender and sexual inequality. It's a great organization that has made a real difference for our country. Woodhull holds the gender and sexuality seat on the US Human Rights Network, the group which monitors our country's adherence to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
15. What advice can you give a future title holder?
Be authentic, approachable and honest. Bull-shitters stick out like sore thumbs. The title holders I know and admire are all down to earth folks who try to use their titles to benefit the community not themselves.
16. Tell us what your favorite piece of Leather is and why?
Other than my hat, my favorite piece of Leather is my flogger. It was made by Janet Hartwood and designed to fit me perfectly. The falls are longer than most folks like, but they balance perfectly with the handle and the flogger becomes an extension of my body when I play. I have several floggers and all were custom made for me. I believe if you invest in quality your toys will live as long as you do.
17. In your own words, can you tell us the difference between BDSM and Leather?
Hard to say. I used to think of them as the same, but apparently there are folk who see a big distinction. Leather does not imply SM, it can simply be a fetish. It is also a different kind of community and that is what sets it apart nowadays. To some folks Leather can only be gay men and BDSM is pan-sexual. There is another word that is loaded with nuance. Pan-sexual was a word coined by the Leather community to describe its inclusion of all sexual orientations, but has been co-opted by the straight community to mean "heterosexual" sexual orientation with some lesbians thrown in for spice. If I sound cynical, that's because I have seen this in practice. Play space where two women playing together was acceptable if they were playing in ways that the men enjoyed, but men playing together got stares and snide comments.
Personally I don't have problems playing in the newly defined "pan-sexual" spaces, I think a Leather person can define their own Leather-space and create a scene wherever it works.
18. Please tell us exactly what is beyond vanilla & what are your favorite activities you indulge in?
I would think anything that goes beyond plain sex would qualify as beyond vanilla. Spankings, role play, bondage, SM all of it moves beyond vanilla for me. My favorite activities are floggings and clothespins and CBT, but most often these are woven into some kind of erotic experience. I think all SM is better with an element of Eros. It doesn't have to be penetrative sex, but without a sexual aspect it has less appeal for me.
19. What’s the funniest safe word that you have heard?
Then comes the safe word. I have heard lots of strange ones from "aardvark" to "Pontiac". Personally, I like this system. I tell my bottom or sub to call me "Sir" as long as he or she is having fun, and to call me "Hardy" if they need to talk. It keeps the communication going and has never failed me.
20. What’s your favorite drink? And if you could invent a cocktail for the Leather community and what would you call it?
Well I stopped drinking in 1986 so my favorite drink is sparkling mineral water. My drink for the community would be just that, mineral water with a chaser of mouthwash, cause I love kissing and detest bad breath!
18. We would love to have you visit South Africa in the future, what classes do you think we could benefit from?
I do a lot of classes, but my favorites are a workshop I call "Putting Sex Back in SM." The pan-sexual dungeons in the US are notoriously tepid when it comes to palpable eroticism. Many do not allow sexual activities for legal reasons and some just are uncomfortable with sex. This workshop is intended to put that spark of the erotic back into the play in the dungeon and discusses and demonstrates how scenes can become erotic encounters with no "traditional sex" happening.
My "Family Jewels" workshop is always fun. Concentrating on CBT and how it can become part of a scene. I explain the use of toys, safety and exploration of various aspects of genitorture.
I have a complete list of classes I present I can provide you.
19. In conclusion, anything you would like to add to this interview for the Leather community of South Africa?
I would add that the Leather community in South Africa seems to be vibrant and growing and I encourage you to continue to explore, share what you learn and nurture the next generation of Leatherfolk. To them you will become the "Old Guard" and with that is the heavy responsibility of knowing you are setting an example for future generations. Play hard, play safe, have fun!
On November 2 The Threshold Society will present its annual Bizarre Bazaar. In addition to numerous vendors, there will be sampler booths, food, and entertainment.
This event is open to the entire community, with the doors opening at 1 PM and the fun winding down at 7 PM. Admission is $10. There will be vendors from around the country and locally who will be selling some of the finest and most interesting wares in town. Here is an opportunity to handle and size those "special" items for which one has been looking.
The sampler booths will give Leather/BDSM/Fetish/Gearfolk a chance to try some activities they may only have been fantasizing about. Try out the violet wand, or a flogger, or a needle or two. What does a cane feel like? Here is a chance to get a small taste in a safe and fun atmosphere.
Join Threshold on the night of November 1 for the club's version of Dia De Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, play party. It is the night the "spirits," so get closest to the land of the living and celebrate the night away. This party is open to the community and admission is $20.
Carter/Johnson Leather Library Florida Annex opens
By Rae N Chris
We are wrapping up the first night of a full weekend, March 30 - April 1, at the new Carter/Johnson Leather Library Florida Annex. Vi Johnson just got done giving a wonderful history talk for our local community. Miss Rae and Vi Johnson were surprised by Luke Monaco with a memorial frame of memorabilia from his personal collection. This memorial was created by him and his slave victor to honor the memory of his uncle David Weinbaum and is on loan from Sir Luke. The library annex housed in the SFC10 Community space in Oakland Park. https://www.facebook.com/groups/carterjohnsonleatherlibrary/
IMsL and IMsBB winners
International Ms Leather 2019 Haley Alice and your new International Ms Bootblack 2019 Gretchen Wellman in San Jose, CA. There are three IMsL and two IMsBB contestants. The IMsBBs are Brooklyn and Gretchen, and the IMsLs are Haley, Heather Kelley and Tuesday Niles. There are many other awesome events to keep everyone busy including Seduction on Thursday night which raw women's energy. Special guests include Barbara Carrellas as keynote speaker and Ruth Marks who will be interviewed by Sarah Humble as part of the Inside the Leather Series. The weekend includes play space, hospitality parties, the Amy Marie Meek pool party and an IMsL IMsBB pet park. DoubleTree by Hilton San Jose, 2050 Gateway Place, San Jose, CA 95110.
By Anthony Harmon
January 26-29 Drummer North America held its Third Annual Drummer, Drummer Boy, and Drummer Bootblack contest at the re-known Alexis Park Resort in Las Vegas, NV with the winners being Drummer - Jack MacCullum, Drummer Boy - Pup Cruze and Drummer Bootblack - Boy Tig. The annual Brotherhood Award, voted on by the contestants, went to Boy Tig.
The Leather Leadership Conference 2014, to be held at the DoubleTree Hotel and the William Way Center in downtown Philadelphia April 11-13, has done an internal inventory of what it has offered, combined with conference feedback forms and with the results of their 2012 community survey, with the result of that inventory being the creation a new Do It Yourself (DIY) program that will debut in Philly with a new delivery system for that program.
LLC has been the offering leadership training for Leather/BDSM/Kink/Fetish and LGBT communities for nearly 18 years. During that time, several changes have taken place and there has been more acceptance for those in alternate lifestyles, including more positive media. The Internet has given endless opportunities for contact, communication, and networking. There are a multitude of groups, munches and events to attend; sometimes so many that one could go to at least one event a week or have to choose where to participate.
Mr. LA Leather title goes to LA Leather Bear
The Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2018 contest saw Mr. LA Leather Bear Ben Johnson win he Mr. LA Leather 2018 title and the Brotherhood award which was selected by his fellow contestants at the Globe Theater on Saturday night, March 24 in los angeles, CA. First runner-up was Mr. Precinct Leather Spike and second runner-up was Mr. 562 Eagle Leather Pup Yoshi. 11 men have won preliminary titles all over los angeles County and it all comes down to this. The LA Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence gave a rousing blessing. Jeremy Ronceros and Jasun Mark rocked as emcees and Pup Dazzle was amazing in his A Capella rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Legion Meets Megawoof, the Official Mr. LA Leather Victory Dance immediately followed the contest. For more go to https://losangelesleatherpride.com/
The Tampa Bay Leather and Fetish Community came out in full force as they participated in the first Tampa Bay Leather n Fetish Pride event hosted by the Tampa Bay Leather Tribe November 11-13, 2011 at the Flamingo Resort in St. Petersburg Florida. The three-day Pride event also hosted the Tampa Bay Leather Sir and Tampa Bay Leather boy contest.
The overall attendance for the entire weekend was well above 1,000 participants who took part in many of the activities. Friday evening’s portion opened at sunset with the National Anthem, sung by Fort Lauderdale’s Ms Kitty, as the Pride board of directors raised the American flag a few hours earlier. The Leather Sir and Leather boy contest meet and greet followed. Master of Ceremonies for the event was the one and only Bobby McKenzie, Mama’s Tampa Craftsman, Mr. Florida Leather 1996, and Co-chair of the Tribe. Matt Wolf, Mr. Gulf Coast Florida Leather 09, Chief of the Tribe, and Mama’s Muppet was presented the 2011 Florida Pantheon Regional Award by fellow Pantheon winners, Bill Hoeppner, Woodie Barnes, and Dave Watts. The evening continued with poolside demos which included fire play, rope suspension, food play, whips, and electro play.
Saturday, participants attended three educational workshops as the contestants for the Tampa Bay Leather Sir and Leather boy concluded their interviews with the judges. The workshops were Safe, Sane, Consensual and RACK themed beginning with a health presentation on HIV/AIDS and Cancer, followed by a Leather History and Herstory panel lead by International Ms Olympus Leather 2005 Caro and Mama’s T Regina along with other Elders of the Community. Lastly, the educational workshops concluded with a Sensation Station RACK - themed class allowing folks to explore new skills and forms of play. Along with various area vendors, demos continued throughout the course of the event as Saturday afternoon’s Living Memorial lead by Ross Scudder, member of Chicago’s Hellfire Club was held poolside at sunset. MCC Reverend Phyllis Hunt and the Tampa Order of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were present to assist.
Saturday evening opened the speech and jock portion of the Tampa Bay Leather Sir/Leather boy contest produced by Daddy Jeff and boy woodie. Tradition followed with the announcement of Tim Gill of Paragon Leather as winner of the 2011 Tampa Bay Brotherhood Award. A special performance was given by renowned performer Cyon Flare as DJ Phil DaBeatz (Chicago) spun till the late hours. The Leather Tribe is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Tampa Bay Leather Sir/Leather boy contest, Sir Frank and boy rick, who went on to represent the Tampa Bay Community at the 2012 Florida Regional Leather Sir/Leather boy contest in February.
The Co-chief of the Tribe announced and awarded the Bill “Trooper” Boyd “Best in Show” Memorial award to Pup Flip for his outstanding service as a puppy and for continuing the tradition Bill began as “Best in Show” at IML 31. Over 30 Leather Brothers and Sisters gathered for a Mama’s Family photo before the Sunday’s Family Luncheon/Contest Victory Party and further award announcements. The Community Choice award was presented to Puppy Graphics for outstanding dedication to the community and the Tampa Bay Leather Tribe Chief’s award was given to Tim Gill for his dedication towards increasing communication, helping to educate, and unifying the Community. Checks in excess of $500 were presented to the event-designated charities. Sunday’s luncheon was followed by a Military themed T-Dance and an afternoon of entertainment with a concert performed by Cyon Flare along with Tampa’s own Leather Drag Kamden Cass and the Face of the Flamingo Resort, Alexis De Lamar.
On Saturday, June 23 the los angeles Leather Coalition (LALC) celebrated its 15th Annual Southland Honors at Taix French Restaurant in Echo Park, CA. The awards and recipients are: Business/Business Person - The Leather Journal, Next Generation Award – Taz Efeek, Mentor of the Year – Sir Frank Cavallo, Cultural Arts Award – Francisco Perales, Nasty Puerquito Photography, LALC Chairman's Award – Dennis Beisbier, Community Choice Woman – Cypher, Community Choice Man – Ben Kaufher, Olga Perez-Stable Legacy Award - Olga Perez-Stable, Co-founder of Desire, Jeff Burnam Community Service Award – Romaldo Mancilla, Club/Organization of the Year – AVATAR los angeles, Event of the Year – AVATAR LA 35th Anniversary and Erotic Art Fair and George Wong Person of the Year – Ralph Bruneau.
IMsL and IMsBB just around the corner
The International Ms Leather and International Ms Bootblack send out recently noted that there are only 50 days until the big weekend in San Jose, CA. Besides the contests and the big Thursday night Seduction show which is a hallmark of IMsL IMsBB, there are many other awesome events to keep everyone busy. Special guests this year include Barbara Carrellas as keynote speaker and Ruth Marks who will be interviewed by Sarah Humble as part of the Inside the Leather Series. The weekend includes play space, hospitality parties, the Amy Marie Meek pool party and an IMsL IMsBB pet park. DoubleTree by Hilton San Jose, 2050 Gateway Place, San Jose, CA95110.
Smokeout - 20th Anniversary
Smokeout celebrated its 20th Anniversary in Las Vegas the weekend of April 4-7 at the Alexis Park Resort and Villas. Most of the hotel was reserved for Smokeout with its cigar and pipe studs, Leatherman, bikers, bears and friends, from all over the world. Smokeout is a free-flowing weekend so everyone could enjoy Las Vegas the way they wanted. Maximus had their barber chair going, the Bullet Bar and SF Eagle hosted a play area that was busy, Rocky Mountain Rebellion supplied booze and lots of Rock and Roll music, Desert Brotherhood MC ride to Lake Mead, Cigar Poker party, bootblacks, the Chicago Hellfire Club had a Scotch and Cigar social. There were groups going to cigar shops, restaurants, shows and bars. The pool area was busy at almost all hours. Great job Bob, Shadow, Leather Uniform Club of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas boys of Leather.
As in every year, there are stories that define a year, mark a change for the better or worse, establish the end or beginning of an era, lend recognition to achievement, or just simply make a statement that cannot be forgotten. Here are ours.
The Leather Journal's Top Story of 2013
US Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8 - Marriage-ban states fall like dominoes
Not long after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs who sued to have Proposition 8 reinstated had no standing, enabling same sex marriages to resume in California, marriages resumed.
Only a handful of states allowed same-sex marriage at the beginning of 2013. By the end of the year, 18 states, plus the District of Columbia, permitted same-sex marriage, with a few more likely to change. The last of the bunch, Utah on December 20 because a court judge ruled their same-sex marriage ban that was voter-approved in 2004 is unconstitutional. This was the biggest surprise of all. A dagger was struck into one of the main arteries of the devil that has fought against same-sex marriage.
Prominent San Francisco Leather community activist Race Bannon will begin writing a new leather column for the Bay Area Reporter, the nation’s longest continually published LGBT newspaper, on January 23, 2014.
Bannon’s first column, penned while attending the annual Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend in Washington, DC, continues the traditions started by the preeminent gay news weekly.
In his first column, Bannon wrote:
“San Francisco and the overall Bay Area has one of the most vibrant leather and kink scenes in the United States and indeed the world. Yes, it’s changed and morphed as various factors have influenced how LGBT kinky folk live and express their alternative erotic identities and sexualities. But the scene is still rather awesome here, and I’m comfortable saying it’s in pretty good shape nationally as well.
“Thus all the more reason I am honored to have been asked to carry on the legacy of the original writer of this column, Mr. Marcus (Marcus Hernandez), who established the Bay Area Reporter’s leather column as one of the preeminent leather news and information sources in the world. Upon Mr. Marcus’ passing, Scott Brogan took over this column and truly did justice to Mr. Marcus’ memory. I promise to always try to live up to both men’s history as I embark on being the caretaker of this important piece of journalistic real estate.”
MIR 22 - The Art Of Rubber
11 men vied for the Mr. International Rubber 2019 title on Saturday, November 11 and Guillaume Dupuis emerged victorious. First runner-up was Nico Watson and second runner-up was Rubber Fenix. Guillaume lives in Guillaume Dupuis, Canada. Kylon Hooks served as an entertaining emcee. Mr. International Rubber 22 was chock full of activities including the Mr. International Rubber Contest, Kink Market and Social, Rubber Pup Rumpus, Gear Sale, Demo Pit, Rubber Club Summit, Lubed-up Latex Wrestling and Kink Education. See their web site for a huge gallery.
Registration for TES Fest 2014, to be held July 3-6 in Piscataway, NJ, is now open.
TES Fest is the annual gathering for the BDSM and sex-positive communities to celebrate the steps TES’s founders took in 1971: the opportunity to find our freedom. TES Fest is an event in the NYC Metro region for everyone (from amateurs to seasoned veterans) to socialize, learn new skills and simply have a great time.
With classes and special events covering the gamut of topics and special interests, TES Fest allows people to explore, educate and entertain themselves in a healthy, safe and sane environment. TES Fest will take place at a 3.5-star hotel in Piscataway, New Jersey.
TES Fest is produced by The Eulenspiegel Society.