1. Please tell us about yourself and what your connection with the world of leather.
I am a man who loves masculine men and masculine scenarios. This reflects in what I read, what movies and television programs I watch and those with whom I connect. To start off, here is my definition of Leather. I see it as a broad range of things, not just actual cowhide. It is an attitude and a feeling, an attraction to certain types as mentioned above.
The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) held its annual Conference June 4-8, in Monterey, California. Jim Fleckenstein and Susan Wright attended on behalf of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.
On Friday, June 6, 115 of the 550 participants attended a panel presentation on "Social Organizations and BDSM Communities," moderated by Neil Cannon, PhD, DST and Russell Stambaugh, PhD, DST. The panel raised over $4,000 for AASECT.
The panelists were experienced and articulate organizers of the kink leadership on the West Coast. Race Bannon described the establishment of Kink Aware Professionals and the organizing of a successful write-in campaign, the Diagnosis Project, that implemented language in DSM-IV that limited paraphilia diagnoses to those engaged in criminal or non-consesnsual behavior, or who complained of adverse social or occupational functioning. Janet Hardy described her work with Dossie Easton and Jay Wiseman, and the founding of Greenery Press, one of the first publishers of quality kink non-fiction. Demitri Moshoyannis described the birth and functioning of the Folsom Street Fair. Richard Sprott of CARAS provided an excellent short history of the rise of kink social organizations and showed the importance of supporting community research efforts. Anna Randall discussed the health needs of the kinky population, as revealed by interviews that TASHRA has been conducting in Bay Area communities, and discussed Society of Janus. Finally, Jim and Montaine described their decisions to launch a dungeon-themed B and B in Monterey, and their roles introducing many visitors who are new to kink into safety-conscious and consensual practice.
For those who don’t already know, please tell us about yourself, your Leather titles and how you are connected to the community.
Hey there, my name is Joey McDonald. I’m 57 years old and a native Chicagoan, but have also lived in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia and Key West, Florida. I am a US Navy Veteran who served as an openly gay sailor (long, long before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell). I was lucky enough traveled around the world by the time I was honorably discharged, having visited 32 countries. In the mid-80s, I owned a catering and event planning business. I am a trained master weaver, and spent 15 years in the interior design industry designing and weaving luxury/high-end upholstery fabrics.
I worked for LGBT equality in Illinois until April 2013. I currently work as a Community Health Advocate, serving the homeless, recovering/addicted and HIV/AIDS impacted people and am going to school to get certified as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.
Although I never won a Leather title, I competed for and was a runner-up for Mr. Windy City 1981. I am a member of the Executive Committee of International Mr. Leather, Inc. (IML). I have served as the IML Den Daddy for the past eight years, working with the men who compete each year. I have the distinction of having volunteered at every IML since its beginning in 1979.
Featuring: Chuck Renslow
- For those who don’t already know, please tell us about yourself and what your titles are.
I started the first leather bar in the United States and have been an advocate for the leather and gay community since then. I have been a Mason, photographer, psychologist, accredited hypnotist and many more. In the Leather community I’m referred as “Sir,” Daddy or Master.
- You got an amazing story to tell and I think so many of us consider you a pioneer, if you would, tell us who got you started in the leather community and what prompted the decision to start a contest called International Mr. Leather?
My lover in the early sixties was Dom Orejudos, also known as the artist "Etienne.” One evening I went to a park in Chicago called bug house square I picked up a gentleman, I took him home and told him: “I want to fuck you.” He said: “you will have to fight me for it!” Fighting him until he got submissive was a great turn on. From that point on I was aggressive in my sexual activity.
I started the Mr. Gold Coast Contest. It became so popular the bar couldn’t handle the crowd so we decided to move somewhere else but the Mr. Gold Coast could not be held out of the bar so we moved it out to a hotel and renamed it International Mr. Leather. In order to promote it I had posters made up and mailed to every leather bar in the world that I could locate. I even translated one into German and sent it to the German leather bars.
- You have received just about every award in the gay and lesbian, leather community, can you perhaps narrow it down, some of your favorite awards that stand out and mean the most to you?
I have received many awards. And all of them are at the Leather Archives and Museum. three of the awards that stand out are: the one from the gay and lesbian task force because they have done so much good for the entire gay community, the one by the Metropolitan Community Church, because they helped so many people that needed religion in their lives and could not find acceptance in the mainstream churches. And the third one was the leather man of the century.
- Family is important, you've been a Daddy to many, and trust is earned and very important, can you tell us about your family who are at your side now?
I consider the entire gay community as my family. Right now my lover Juan is at my side and I am surrounded by people who had been around me for decades.
- Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
I was basically raised by my grandmother since my mother worked and my dad had left us. I consider most of my attributes to my grandmother: she was practical, smart and very logical. She became a very successful business woman after my grandfather died.
- In your mind, what’s the biggest misconception of the leather community?
People think that the leather man just is into beating each other up etc. They don’t realize there is a great deal of love and compassion in the leather community.
- What does unity in leather mean to you?
We have to do away with all the prejudices and jealousy and other negative forces in the BDSM community.
- What do you see for the future of leather in your community and internationally?
I think the future will show more acceptances between the men's leather community and the women's leather community and the general public.
- Tell us what your favorite piece of leather is and why?
A vest that have my name and the International Mr. Leather logo all in studs, made by Studworks in San Francisco.
- You have done countless opening, closing and key note speeches; can you tell us some of your favorite or perhaps a funniest moment?
In so many of my speeches I have advocated that which I felt was beneficial to our community. Most of them, the community listens and follows through.
- For someone who never attended IML (International Mr. Leather), what would you say to him or her, why they should attend the event in Chicago?
IML is the largest leather gathering in the world. It is a lifetime experience and if you attend you will feel camaraderie with a great leather community. We are all brothers and sisters. One big loving family!
- In your own words, can you tell us the difference between BDSM and Leather?
Leather is merely a symbol. Some people are into different aspects of BDSM, such as just bondage, or the masculine image of leather.
- What’s the funniest safe word you ever heard?
“Little purple prunes”
- You have said that you enjoy cooking, and don’t particularly like the cleaning part, please can you cook us a meal that represent you and what would it be called?
That's easy! Prime Rib with whipped sweet potatoes and cream corn. And for dessert Pecan Pie.
- Away from Leather, would you tell us what one of your guilty pleasures are?
Watching Spanish Soap Operas... I don't understand a word they say yet. But the men are so handsome! I also like to watch men getting fucked.
- Tell us your favorite book at this moment.
Easy: “Steel and Velvet: a soldier's story” by Juan Cordoba. It kind of reminds my other favorite book “The Persian Boy.”
- In conclusion, anything you would like to add to this interview for the leather community of South Africa?
Keep unity. We are all in the fraternity of leather. We are family, we may not like everyone but we will support every single one because they are part of who we are.