Vonn Tramel - The Leather Journal
Vonn Tramel

Vonn Tramel

Vonn Tramel has been a kinky "friday night femme" since she was 17.  She found the Leather community in 2007 and began her Leather Journey in 2008 after attending a Cigar Play Class in Long Beach, CA at Pistons Bar. A meeting with Dave Rhodes in May of 2008, changed her path for better or worse when she filmed and photographed the 2008 West Coast Olympus Contest, then International Olympus in Chicago that year....the rest they say is her-story. 

Edit: In 2012 she was approached by Dave to join The Leather Journal as it's Webmaster with business partner Bryan Teague.

Most misspelled word: Leahter (Sad but true)

BootblackKL LeatherJournalBasic 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:

Bootblack KL from Ballarat, Victoria, Currently untitled as there is not a title for female identified bootblacks in Australia.

I participate in Vic Leathers monthly Gear up munches; Their yearly fundraiser/ membership drive Open House and the very large mixed leather event Northside Bizarre at the Laird for Joy-FM Australia’s first Gay and Lesbian Radio station and the David Williams Fund which helps people living with HIV

Favorite leather item – would have to be my Apron – wear it to bootblack or to events!  

www.facebok.com/kljoy2

www.facebook.com/bootblackkl

twitter @kl_joy

Instagram @kl_joy

www.labouchebooks.com - my kinky/queer publishing company.          

I'm representing Vic Leather Inc, a club in Melbourne, Victoria that is open to all Leather folk from all genders and sexualities.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Sponsors:

Sponsor 1: VAC- the Victorian Aids Council I have been working with them on a project for regional women’s health and education. I also run an LBQ women’s’ Red ribbon luncheon in December.

Sponsor 2. Lucrezia and De Sade/ Sax Fetish Supporting leather women in the community as they have done for many years for the male titleholders who compete at an International level.

Sponsor 3: Marquis De Sade My relationship with the owner of this fine corsetier dates back to 1998, when she laced me into my first ever corset! I modeled for her for a number of years and continue to this day to passionately promote her business now+ in its 22nd year!

Sponsor 4: Oz Kink Fest I've been involved with Mistress Malice and festival in one form or another since its beginnings in 2008 as a stall holder, volunteer, bump in/bump out crew. In recent months she has helped to raise funds for my journey through her club Provocation, where I also bootblack monthly. 

Sponsor 5: Sprinkle Emporium Creating fashion for curvy women who love to feel special is her pleasure and her business! Sprinkle creates the most magical garments fit for a goddess.     

Favorite Charity:

I have two charities that are close to my heart. VAC- regional women’s projects due to the fact know firsthand how important that financial support if as it helped start up my Wrainbow Writers group in Ballarat Victoria. Switchboard Vic & I have recently been raising fund for Switchboard Vic. a telephone counseling service that took a huge hit during the Marriage Equality Debate that ripped through our LGBTIQA+ community last year. With numbers of callers increasing daily they needed to train an extra 30 call takers in a matter of weeks.       

How you feel about community service?:

I grew up with two parents that worked tirelessly to fund raise for one organization or another. They were shining role models that today, are the reason I am who I am. The community service that I do is because I was taught by them to understand that I have ability to change people’s lives for the better and never take for granted my privilege. The time I work in service, helps me to better understand the diverse needs that we have within our community.      

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

I am a leather-woman because I know no other way. I am a bootblack, because it fills my service heart. What makes me that way? It comes down to me waking every day and saying, I will try better, I will do better, I will be better.           

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:

Mollena Lee Williams-Haas For years I listened to her podcast and since following her 'love story' on Facebook and through media, I see the veil of leather that binds a strong relationship, where both parts are made stronger. She has a quirky way of making even the most mundane slave task sound pleasurable and her insight into this world as a lifestyle slave and muse to a famous composer is inspiring. I’m in awe of the issues she has spoken about and continues to do so.          

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?:

Casual denial of wrong doing: When someone says ‘but that’s just their way’ or ‘they can’t help it, it’s who they are’ its insidious and undermines the ability for our community to understand and change. Because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean it always has to be that way! It comes back to my personal motto and through education I would continue to create the space for people to understand how they too can live the motto … I will try better, I will do better, I will be better.       

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

In Australia, there are female identified bootblacks who don’t have a platform or a voice, I aim to give them both. I would ideally like to set up a contest to support and encourage more bootblacks from Australia to do help raise awareness of our community. In 2018, I also aim to continue the space that I started two years ago, Show and Shine, to bring people of all skill levels and knowledge together to share bootblack energy. Finally, I’d also love travel to other communities like South Africa as an outreach from one small southern hemisphere community to another.

RedLeatherJournalBasic 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:

Red, San Diego Bootblack 2017, San Diego, California

San Diego girls of Leather monthly social, house bootblack for San Diego Cigars and Boots.

I hate to be a stereotype, but my favorite item has to be my Corcorans. When they have a mirror shine I feel like I could take on the world.     

Facebook: Red Bootblack,

Instagram: Red Bootblack, @redbootblack 

My run is sponsored by the San Diego girls of Leather of which I am a member; the Southland Title Sisters, for which I hold the position of Vice President; Club X San Diego, the pansexual BDSM organization to which I owe most of my education and my introduction to the Leather community; and San Diego Leather Pride, the organization for which I hold the San Diego Bootblack 2017 title. Each of these organizations has played a substantial role in making me the person I am today.       

Favorite Charity:

My favorite charity is the Rainbow Railroad. It is a Canadian charity that works to find a route to asylum for LGBT individuals who face state sponsored persecution and violence in their home countries due to their sexuality or gender identity. I am fortunate enough to live in a part of the world where I can live openly as a queer Leatherwoman, but in many parts of the world those identities would mean a death sentence. I believe that we have a responsibility to help find safety for those of us who need it.

How you feel about community service?:

I believe that community service is at the core of what it means to be Leather. Coming from a pansexual BDSM community that largely does not identify as Leather, it wasn't until I joined the San Diego girls of Leather and began volunteering for various Leather events and organizations in San Diego that I felt comfortable claiming a Leather identity. To me, Leather is about building community and lifting each other up, and I have found that the most effective way I can contribute to that is with polish on my fingers and boots in my hands.

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

I am a Bootblack because caring for leathers feeds my soul. I felt adrift in the Leather and BDSM communities until I had the courage to work a stand publicly and give my energy and passion to others. Taking an item of worn and loved leather and making it as beautiful as possible gives me a satisfaction that very little else in my life can. Knowing that I have the skills and the resources to transform nearly any project gives me joy and purpose, and serving others is a profound honor.    

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:

My favorite Leatherwoman is Mama Vi Johnson. Her courage to live her authentic life and devote herself to the preservation of our Leather history has been a great inspiration to me. The knowledge and experience she contains are beyond comparison and her advocacy has helped make the Leather community what it is today.

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?:

When BDSM is discussed in the media it is often portrayed in a way that suggests that we are all terribly damaged individuals who are reenacting our traumas or are opportunistic abusers. The reality, of course, is far more complicated than that. Yes, for some of us exploring kink is an outlet to release trauma or is a method of healing, but just as many of us come from traditional backgrounds with average life experiences. BDSM is a healthy form of human sexuality. When speaking to non-kinky audiences about kink and Leather I have used the power of anecdote to personalize and normalize my relationships. This illustrates how exploring one’s desires can lead to stronger, healthier relationships under the right circumstances. Of course, some relationships are toxic, whether they are kinky or not. We face the same sorts of challenges that anybody in a relationship does. I aim to de-mystify our community in a way that speaks to our common experiences and desires, and shows how our emphasis on communication and consent can be helpful in any relationship.    

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

As IMsBB I would promote my title by sharing the things that make being a bootblack special to me. Through teaching and bootblacking I would show others the unique power of being of service to others while promoting excellence in oneself. Inspiring others to find their most fulfilling form of community service while asking them to think deeply about what a community of inclusivity really looks like would be doing the title and the organization true justice.

JinnieI Leather Journal

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:

Princess Jinnie Oklahoma Ms Leather 2017 Tulsa, Oklahoma

1) I volunteer as the Art Director for the annual HIV+ Retreat hosted by the Grateful Day Foundation

2) Regularly perform or host events for the Imperial Court of All of Oklahoma and other courts around the U.S.  

3) Cooking and helping out with the teens at the Openarms Youth Project in Tulsa…. There isn't a thing I wouldn’t do to make sure the LGBT+ kids of our community are safe, taken care of, and lifted up, knowing that it is OK to be who they are meant to be!!

           

Favorite Leather item: Leather bolero jacket by LeatherMasters

Fetlife:  Corset-Princess  

Instagram: Corset_Princess 

Twitter:  Princess Jinnie

Facebook: Oklahoma Ms. Leather 2017      

Sponsors:

Rose Rock Girls of Leather (RRGoL) & www.rrgol.org RRgoL is part of a nationwide movement to create a special place for those who identify as Leather girls. The organization works with all parts of the Leather community to help promote different events and causes.

Tulsa Eagle – “Tulsa Eagle” (Facebook)

Favorite Charity:

I was first introduced to the Leather community 4 years ago, as a member of the Imperial Court of All Oklahoma. “The Court” would co-sponsor local charity events and fundraisers with the Leather community at the Tulsa Eagle.  Volunteering at the charity events with members of the Leather community, I witnessed firsthand the meaning behind it all - family, loyalty, commitment to each other and to the community as a whole."           My favorite charity is Openarms Youth Project (OYP), an organization that serves as a safe haven for LGBT young people between the ages of 14-21 in the Tulsa, OK community.  Tim Gillean is the Founder and Director of OYP, and an upstanding and amazing man.  Under Tim’s leadership, the volunteers make sure the young people have clothing, food, counselling and help with homework and social skills.  Tim is most often found cooking for the kids at the Center on Thursday nights, or DJ’ing on Saturdays when the Center is open for dances and drag shows to keep the kids off the streets. The Openarms Youth Project is hoping to open an online/charter school within the Center to make sure these young people reach their full potential in a safe and healthy environment, free from bullying.      

How you feel about community service?:

I have always felt drawn to being of service to others. I consider myself to be a Charity Queen!  One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie Robots, “see a need, fill a need” and that is just what I try to do. There are many worthy organizations that have a need – the Foundation for Exceptional Warriors (The FEW) that serves our nation’s veterans, Grateful Day Foundation, Openarms Youth Project, the list goes on.  I love being able to serve in the community, especially when I can use my skills as a ceramics artist and pastry chef.  Whether I am baking my Drunken D’lites dessert treats for an auction, helping with dinner for our youth at Openarms Youth Project, or organizing and performing at a Veterans’ Day fundraising event for the Foundation for Exceptional Warriors, community service is a huge part of who I am.

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

Simply put - My strength comes from the joy I receive from giving back to the community. Using the skills that I have in order to be of service…that is what I love!"  Some would say that it’s the Diva in me that has a love and fascination for Leather…that sexy look, the feel and oh-the-smel!l of a freshly blackened piece of hide. But in all honesty, what makes me a Leather Woman is not about the leather that I wear.  It’s all about the honor, traditions, values, and integrity - the history of the women who came before me and the Community I belong to and that I am proud to represent. These are the Leather qualities that I constantly try to live up to and carry in my soul as the soles of my boots carry me on this Leather Journey.  

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:

My favorite Leather Women are actually a couple - Mera and Jimmie Tucker of Tucker Inn Cookies.  Mera and Jimmie judged my first run for Oklahoma Ms. Leather in 2016, and when I learned about the Tucker Inn and all the cookies they bake to raise money for the community I instantly fell in love with them!  Over the last two years they have mentored me, helped me prepare for Leather competition, and have truly provided guidance to this once lost Leather Girl.  They taught me to believe in myself, to stay true to my Leather Heart, to fight for what I believe in, and to look beyond the distractions that would take me off the path of becoming the Leather Woman I want to be.  At the Tucker Inn, Mera and Jimmie have created a welcoming and inviting sacred Leather space that is truly a piece of heaven on Earth - with a hot yummy meal, a warm bed, and a place to call “home” for the weekend for a Leather Sister/Brother or a visiting Monarch from another Imperial Court. Their generosity and commitment to the Leather Community are nothing short of inspirational. 

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 believe the most dangerous information comes from two dangerous ideas…1.) the idea of being “normal” or “mainstream;” and 2.) that it is wrong to be different from the so-called mainstream.  There was a time when women fought for the right to vote in America, and the idea was considered wrong because it was regarded as not normal.  Several decades later, same sex couples fought for the right to legally marry and they were considered wrong – and ungodly – because they are different from the so-called norm. And we are considered wrong in the Leather / BDSM / Kink community because we are different from the so-called norm. There is a thought that we should be outcasts and shunned for the way we live our lives. These dangerous ideas discourage people from learning the true nature of the Leather lifestyle, and it prevents those in our community from living their lives openly for fear of losing their jobs, their families, and in fear for their own safety. I believe that when people are concerned about openly living the Leather lifestyle or are discouraged from learning the truth about the Leather community, it unfortunately paves the way for those who disagree with or negatively judge our community to spread misinformation about our community…that the Leather / BDSM / Kink  lifestyle is twisted, crazy, abusive, and unnatural, and those who participate are deviants. They communicate their message through traditional and social media, which are the best ways to reach the largest audience.

If I am given an opportunity, I want to combat the lies by exposing the truth – that whether romantic, sexual, friendly, Leather, kink, BDSM… consensual relationships are the only normal that exists!!"

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

I have  number of goals that I want to achieve as International Ms. Leather. Perhaps the most important is that I want to host fundraisers and community service events in support of LGBT youth projects, HIV testing, survivors of domestic violence, and our nation’s veterans. Using my skills as a pastry chef and ceramics artist, I hope to raise funds for these causes that are especially important to me, while continuing to help educate those who are unaware of the true nature of the Leather lifestyle and break the unearned stigma of the Leather/Kink community.

JesbianLeatherJournalBasic 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:

Jesbian Bagheera Ms. California Leather 2017 & International Little Miss Little 2014 San Francisco, CA

SF Little Scouts

SFgoL

San Francisco Bay Area Alliance 

Leather Kilt - Cute to wear, Functional to Buff at the Bootblack Stands  

Facebook Name - Jesbian Bagheera

Twitter Name - @JesbianBagheera

Instagram Name - @jesbianbagheera

Fetlife Name - Jesbian

POC Education Directory - VividLeather.org

Sponsors

I am Sponsored by the SF Little Scouts, San Francisco girls of Leather, Folsom Street Events, Leather Heat Inc. I am one of the Founding Members for SF Littles Scouts and currently work as the Public Relations Officer. I am currently the Outreach Officer for SFgoL and have been an active volunteer with them. I am the Bootblack Concierge for the Main Bootblack Stands at Dore Alley Street Fair and Folsom Street Fair. And I am the current Ms. California Leather 2017 which is produced with Leather Heat Inc.    

Favorite Charity:

I have two favorite Charities....

The Leather Alliance is 100% Volunteer Based that houses many projects.  They seek to facilitate community members in safely learning, growing, connecting, honoring and enjoying each other. They also also maintain an emergency Grants Account. Community members in financial need because of accident, serious illness or death of a significant other that causes financial hardship may apply to receive up to $1500 in assistance for basic living expenses.

The Second is Taking it To the Streets SF! This organization empowers homeless youth to lead better lives by providing a continuum of workforce readiness, job skills training, personal mentoring, safe housing, and other services to support self-sufficiency for youth and young adults ages 18-27. They work with youth who are ready to turn their lives around and get off the streets for good. We are in the game of ending chronic homelessness before it begins 

How you feel about community service?:

I believe community service is a human duty. I grew up in a Croatian Roman Catholic home where you practiced radical hospitality. I was taught to make the world what you want it to be by giving back to the world. Each act of giving and receiving service helps renew my faith in humanity. After all, we are good people trying to leave this world in better shape than when we got here. If we do not shape the world by giving back, then it ceases to be a place that reflects our best selves, our core values, and our authentic intentions.           

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

I live my life unapologetically as a sex positive, body positive, queer, little, chosen family adoptee, radical hospitality giver, leather licking femme. This is a very small glitter glimmer into what makes me a Leather Woman. Leather is not what we wear, it is who we are.      

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:

Jill Carter who coined the phrase in the Leather Community "Each One, Teach One".  I am not lucky enough to know her personally, however that phrase is one of the first things I was taught in the community. So before I even knew it’s attribution, I owed my approach to her and her legacy. Her phrase inspired me to push the envelope when no one would listen or give me the space. Her legacy sparked my desire to help other littles by co-founding the Little Scouts which is now in over 20 states. So thank you Jill Carter.       

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?:

Very simply the phrase...The One True Way. The belief that there is only one way to do, or be. This is encapsulated in the word: “should.” This phrase blocks any active listening our community could do in order to find common ground and inclusivity. The best way to combat this is by being an active listener. To teach others to be active listeners. In a moment when we are ready to interrupt and explain why someone is wrong, it is often better to instead sit in that moment and be uncomfortable. To learn to accept another’s opinion and hear fully what the other person has to say, and then to grow and learn.     

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

Everything and anything I possibly can. To be unapologetically me as a Leather Little. To travel to conferences and different towns to collect classes and presenters for my POC Education Directory. And do more cross over in the kink/vanilla world. I had no idea what leather was until I stumbled upon a Leather Alley at Pride. So my third focus would be to find the Leather people that don’t know that they are, and to be an avenue for them to ask questions and hope to bring them in as the next generation.

TeaganLeatherJournalBasic 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

leather.teaganwidmer.me

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.         

www.facebook.com/teaganbootblackwww.facebook.com/teaganbootblack

https://twitter.com/teaganbootblackhttps://twitter.com/teaganbootblack

https://twitter.com/teaganbootblack https://twitter.com/teaganbootblack 

 Sponsors:

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.

SF EagleSF Eagle

Folsom Street Events

Folsom Street EventsFolsom Street Events

Favorite Charity:

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.

CarlaWhitehurst LeatherJournalBasic 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:

My name is Carla Whitehurst and I am Washington State Ms. Leather 2017. I am located in Seattle Washington. My email address is . I am active in the community and I attend the monthly public mosh hosted by the Seattle Pups and Handlers (SEA-PAH) as well as the Dress Code Leather Social hosted by the Seattle Men in Leather (SML). In addition, I am an active supporter of the Seattle boys of Leather (SboL) and attend events as well as teach classes at their monthly meetings.

My Wesco Lineman boots are my favorite item of leather. They are the piece of leather that makes me feel the most confident and kick-ass and they embody the in-your-face strong diesel femme presentation that I want for myself. They are the armor that allows me to feel confident."            "Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carla.rene.98

Fetlife: https://fetlife.com/users/71331

Twitter: @WaMsLeather2017

 Sponsors:

My run for International Ms. Leather 2018 is sponsored by my contest producers, the Washington State Mr. Leather Organization, the Seattle girls of Leather which I am an active member and board member, the Seattle Pups and Handlers which I am an active member, the Seattle boys of Leather which I attend events and support, Lover’s Laire a local business and play party venue, Everett Leather Alliance a newly established club to the north of Seattle, and Bad Daddy Leather a business owned by my Husband and Daddy.

Favorite Charity:

Living Without Boxes promotes wellness, education, community, advocacy, and support for transgender and gender nonconforming people of color, as well as their partners. According to the mission statement on their website, Living Without Boxes “[creates] intentional healing conversations and safe spaces… [and] we will work to equip people with much needed skills such as self-care, personal advocacy and empowerment, while providing a voice in the fight for racial equity.” I feel very strongly about justice for transgender people and justice for Black, Indigenous and People of Color. It was my honor to have Living Without Boxes as the recipient for one of my fundraisers during my title year. The Living Without Boxes website is:https://www.livingwithoutboxes.org/

How you feel about community service?: 

I feel that without community service, the spaces, events, contests and clubs that give us the opportunity to connect and grow with one another would not be possible. I feel like community service is either treated as mandatory or taken for granted by many people. As an active leather community member of over 25 years, I have seen that service is the gears that keep our community working; however too many people get ground up in those gears and become burnt out. All too often, it is the newcomers who have the energy and excitement, having just discovered leather, who jump in full-force to provide service, and it’s the people who have been around for a long time who sit back quietly and develop expectations that things will fall together without their labor. I see the attitude from older community members, “I did my time so I don’t have to do it anymore.” I would like to see more reciprocity and support for those who give of their labor through service. My current feelings about service are that those who give of themselves need to receive support in turn.

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

I identify as a Leather Woman and a Bootblack. I feel that there are no set rules or criterion for being Leather; If you ask 50 people “what is a Leather Woman?” you are likely to get 50 different answers. I was around 15 years of age when I realized that I was highly attracted to Leather Dykes, and that was who I wanted to grow up to be. 31 years later, I have manifested as a Femme Dyke, a Queer, a Sadomasochist, a body positive sexual outlaw and an insatiable pervert. Sexuality, joy, friendship, connection and love are what drew me to and keep me involved in Leather. These are the things that call me to Leather and these are the things that make me a Leather Woman.

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:

As a Bootblack, I am drawn to the stories and connections others have with their leather. I feel like leather community is largely about collective story-telling and memory keeping. When I work a stand and care for the leathers of my community members, I feel like I am honoring their stories as well as my own."    "When I was just starting my journey, I used to go to The Off-Ramp, which was a bar/restaurant that was frequented by local Leather Dykes. It was the first time that I was able to connect women with the kinky stuff I had read about in gay men’s porn. That was where I first saw Lainy Beitler (Dr. Danger), and it was very much a “Ring of Keys” moment (the song in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home).

As I grew older and became involved with the community, Lainy was always there as an example, teacher and mentor for so many people. What I most admire about Lainy is that she has never stopped supporting newcomers, just as she supported me almost 30 years ago. Lainy genuinely cares about the longevity of our local community, and she has demonstrated she genuinely cares about the people within it. She shows that with her actions all the time.

 

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 feel that the most harmful idea circulating nowadays is that women, non-binary and trans folk do not belong in Leather spaces, because Leather spaces are gay (cis) men’s spaces. I believe that there is misinformation circulating about the history of leather, that positions all leather history as originally and authentically cis gay male. From this perspective, it could seem like gay men’s space is “letting” women and trans folks in, and that we are demanding that they share “their” space with us. However, this perspective is a bit of revisionist history, and it does not acknowledge all that women and trans people have done over the decades to help build Leather community.

The way I combat this is to be in Leather spaces and to go to events. I will show up and continue to do what I have always done. I know Leather history because I have lived it. Myths about “old guard” or who Leather is “really” for cannot deter me from living my dreams."          I want to have fun with this title, and I want to be out, visible and playing. I want people to look at me and see that I am doing community service, raising money for charities and also remember that what drew us to Leather is BDSM play and sexual perversity.

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

As IMsL, I would model this goal to both work hard and play hard. In addition, I would like to provide support for those doing service which makes community possible, and encourage everyone to get the most joy they can out of what it is we do.

BrynnBeitzel LeatherJournalBasic 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:

My name is Brynn Beitzel and I am Washington State Bootblack 2016 from Seattle, Washington.

There are many one-off events and fundraisers that I support and volunteer for. In addition, I regularly attend the monthly events held by the Seattle Pups and Handlers (SEA-PAH) as well as the Dress Code Leather Social hosted by the Seattle Men in Leather (SML). I also do everything I can to support the growing bootblack community in and around Seattle. I work with other local bootblacks to teach, mentor and host our local quarterly Bootblack Skill Share.

Over the years, I have come into my own aesthetic and represent my Leather identity through what I refer as Premium Petrol Femme! Not quite High Femme. Not quite Diesel Femme. I’m just me. I have many items of leather in my arsenal but my favorite by far is one that I rarely wear. I was gifted a leather corset by a member of my Leather Family, even before the family was established. She had held onto the corset since the time of her first contract and saw something in me that she had been waiting for. After all those years, she gifted it to me and it is my first piece of heritage leather."  I am a product of my generation. I love social media but I’m not fully immersed in all the various platforms. I can be found on Facebook as Brynn Beitzel, on Fetlife as TeaseAndPlease and on Twitter as TeaseAndPlease3. Brynn  

Sponsors:

"My run for International Ms. Bootblack 2018 is sponsored by my contest producers, the Washington State Mr. Leather Organization, the Seattle girls of Leather which I am an active member and board member, the Seattle Pups and Handlers which I am an active member and a part of the Audit Committee, the Seattle boys of Leather which I attend events and support, Lover’s Laire a local business and play party venue, Everett Leather Alliance a newly established club to the north of Seattle, and Bad Daddy Leather a Leather Family owned business.

Washington State Mr. Leather Organization

Seattle girls of Leather

Seattle Pups and Handlers

Lover’s Laire

Favorite Charity:I have enjoyed working with many charities throughout my years in the Seattle Leather community so it is difficult to choose one. There are also many charities based in other areas that I would love to work with and support. I am proud to support Pride Lives, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and Washington State non-profit dedicated to suicide prevention and awareness in Seattle. Pride Lives officers and volunteers work to strengthen ties in the LGBTQ community; bring an end to suicide in the community; support survivors, their families, and friends; and educate the public in an effort to improve communication and end social stigmas. Pride Lives has strong ties to the Leather community and directly supports many of us who have lost someone to suicide, contemplated or attempted suicide, or hurt others or been hurt because of stigma and assumptions.

How you feel about community service?:

Community service has been a part of my life since I was a child. My desire to serve is not tied to the LGBTQ or Leather communities. I am a service oriented individual. I have been of service to the Girl Scouts, to my home town, to my schools, to the SCA, to my political party, to the support of women and equality and now to the LGBTQ and Leather communities. I believe that giving without expectation of receiving is the definition of being of service.  I also believe that one cannot truly be of service unless the cause lines up with one’s personal morality and compass. It is that alignment that truly allows one to give, because it matters to you, not because you want to matter to others. I have learned that only with time. When I found the causes that truly aligned with my beliefs, my ability to serve grew to something more than just myself. Community service keeps us moving forward and allied towards a common goal.  

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

I often joke that I have been taking care of leather since the grunge era. I used to go to concerts and spend hours in muddy mosh pits and then spend Sundays cleaning and polishing my collection of Docs to be ready for school on Monday. I would go camping with my fellow Girl Scouts and come home and clean and condition my oil tan hiking boots. I would take care of the family horse tack as one way to contribute to my home. I had some of the necessary skills long before I was introduced to the Leather community. Those skills however, did not make me a bootblack.

When I found the Leather community, I felt at home. Sadly, I didn’t always know how to interact. I have anxiety and social situations could often be overwhelming. I offered my skills to those I trusted and did leather projects at home. I watched other bootblacks. I sat for other bootblacks. I took classes and I asked questions. I did all of that without opening up about my interest. Even though the bootblacks were the first group to make me feel like I belonged, I was still afraid to take the leap. When I finally did, there was no going back.

Bootblacking gave me a way to belong in the community when I often felt like I was watching from the sideline. Instead of focusing on all the people, all the conversations, all the activity, I could focus on one person at a time. I could focus on the person in my stand. It gave me a sense of calm when I often only feel chaos.  I developed relationships and friendships through 20 to 30 minute interactions with people I wouldn’t know how to talk to in another setting. I found my place within this world and it was at the feet of those I love and cherish.

I have always loved leather but now I am Leather and I am a bootblack.

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:
There are so many strong and powerful women that I admire and I would not be where I am today without their guidance. Equally, there are many other Leather people that have helped me become who I am today. There is one Leather Woman however that will always be my favorite.

When I started in the BDSM community, I was not familiar with the concept of Leather. I started in the pansexual kink community. I spent many years finding Doms on Craigslist and playing unicorn to established couples. I have many fond memories but I could also share a dangerous horror story or two. I was eager and I was reckless.  As I grew, my desired style of play and my personal values were often at odds with those around me. I met more and more people and I noticed a trend. I was drawn to certain people more than others and as I learned, I found they all had the same things in common. They were queer and they were Leather.

After a particularly heavy pick-up play scene, I was sent home. As I drove and then loaded onto the ferry, I began to drop and I didn’t want to go home to my vanilla roommate. The local dungeon often hosted munches on that particular night but I had never been. It still felt like a better alternative than going home. When I arrived, I saw a group of people talking and laughing. They were sharing stories of their heaviest scenes. They were comparing bruises. I had some pretty decent ones to show off that were just beginning to bloom. At that time, I have never seen anyone play to the level that I often played to. I thought I was a freak. I was proud of my marks and as we shared I saw the woman who would become my best friend. Her marks blew mine out of the water but there was a mutual respect that could not be ignored. I met my Leather Family that night. I met the woman who would later see something in me and gift me with my first piece of leather. I met Carla Whitehurst.

 

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?:

Social media is an excellent way to stay in touch and spread information across the world. That being said, social media is not a representation of all that it is that we do. When we see a picture, post or article, we make assumptions about what is happening in other people’s lives. We sometimes forget that we only put our best foot forward. We edit, we filter, we share the best parts, we rant, we vague-book, and we resist.

These actions have the power to bring us together towards a common goal. We see someone at their best and it makes us strive to do more. We see someone hurt and we want to support them. We see an injustice and we rise up to fight. Sadly, we also feed into themes of cliques, popularity, perfection, ageism, ableism and fat phobia.

I personally may take an excellent selfie but I am not always that person and others may not have the confidence to post photos. I may be able to articulate myself online but others may have barriers that prevent them from writing online, be it confidence or disability. I may resist isms and fight for causes but there are others that accomplish more than I do. I have privilege when it comes to the technology of social media. I have confidence in my appearance, I present the way I want to, I can articulate myself well and I understand the various platforms and how they operate. But.

Social media in itself is mis-information. I find it to be valuable but I also find it to be tiring. We need to be more inclusive to those that may not understand the platforms, may not have the ability to express feelings and opinions in writing, may not have access or desire to be present on online platforms, may not have body confidence to share photos or any other barriers that make us feel othered in our own circle. We need to remember that our lives and our efforts are not confined to what is shown online. We need to remember that each of us have an identity and purpose in the real world, for better or worse than what is seen online. 

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

I feel the best way for me to promote the title of International Ms. Bootblack 2018 is to be myself, the person who competed and the person who was chosen by the judges. I would like to travel through the United States and beyond and learn the stories of others. I want to hear the history. I want to visit the home bars. I want to teach classes and take classes. I want to expand beyond the women’s community and share my experiences with the Pups and Handlers, with the Men’s and Pansexual communities. I want to learn from everyone.

scarlett Leather JournalBasic 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:

My name is Scarlett Sin and I proudly represent my city of LA as the current Ms. Los Angeles Leather 2017.

I am the President of the Southland Title Sisters and the founder of The Visibility Project, an organization devoted to providing visibility to all those under the Leather flag.

While I have many items of garb, my favorite leather item is my first signal whip. It is what I learned with and through that experience I furthered my focus, discipline, passion and connection to the craft I adore so much.

Facebook: Scarlett Sin

Twitter: @ladyscarlettsin

Instagram: @ladyscarlettsin

 Sponsors:

los angeles Leather Pride: www.losangelesleatherpride.com

Southland Title Sisters

Sanctuary Studios LAX: www.sanctuarylax.com

Ms los angeles Leather: www.mslaleather.com

Free Speech Coalition: www.freespeechcoalition.com

Whipping Stripes: www.whippingstripes.com

Altar Image Photography: www.altarimagephoto.com

Rough Trade Leather: www.roughtradeleather.com

Orchid & Serpent: www.orchidandserpentstores.com

Ravynblood Creations: www.etsy.com/shop/ravynblood

Panther Prowls: www.pantherprowls.com

Firebird Leather: www.firebirdleather.com

The Trophy Guy LA: thetrophyguyla.com

los angeles Eagle Bar: www.eaglela.com

The Eagle 562: eagle562.com

Favorite Charity:

An organization that is extremely near and dear to my heart is The Cupcake Girls. Founded eight years ago in Las Vegas, Nevada; The Cupcake Girls started as a project to provide love and support to sex workers, and victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking; not having any agenda beyond linking people with the services they need, whether that be mental health, medical, legal, and many, many others.

Their mission statement is: We provide confidential support to those involved in the sex industry, as well as those affected by domestic sex trafficking through holistic resources, case management, and after care. We provide nonjudgmental support to empower our clients in their pursuits through respect, resources, and relationships.

Since their inception, they have been regular fixtures at numerous events, they have began services in Portland, Oregon and are soon to open their own permanent facility in Las Vegas to provide these services to all that need them.

Having seen their work first hand, and the invaluable service they do for these communities, I feel that this is a charity I can stand with and do my best to help signal boost, and serve.

How you feel about community service?:

On my path to figuring out what Leather is and whether I am Leather, what first spoke to me was the immense amount of inter- and intra-community service that I saw.

Before entering the Leather scene, I had always felt that – at my unique intersection of privilege and disprivilege – it was my responsibility to do what I could to educate, provide space for and elevate others, and link people with what they need to thrive.

Community service is integral to Leather. I feel by reaching out and doing for one another, we can see, hear, and learn from one another; building the bonds of effective, equitable, social change."   "I am serving a cause greater than myself, always striving to be better while remembering to remain humble and to listen. Willing to accept a challenge; I strive to welcome all who wish to embark on their own Leather path, regardless of what identities they bear.

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

I know this is a cliché, but there is truth in it. My heart is what makes me Leather; it guides my compassion, care, and drive with the values of honor, integrity, and respect.  That is what makes me a woman of Leather.

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?:

"That young lady has a great task ahead of her” With those words, spoken about me, Vi Johnson, or Mama Vi as many know her, set my path. She is someone who from the moment I met her; saw right into my heart, past all the walls I use to shield my vulnerabilities.

She challenges me to be, and do, better; empowering me to connect with people unlike ever before. She asked me to tell her a story, and through that experience, helped me find comfort and kinship with someone who was a complete stranger moments before.

Many of us wouldn't be who we are today without the force of nature that she is, and has been for decades; her bearing witness to Leather history, and archiving it for generations to come.

She is a giant whose shoulders I am privileged to stand on

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?:

There is a disturbing idea that certain arbiters, who have long dominated the spotlight – not always by tenure or achievement but rather by shared identity – determine whether some of us are Leather or not, and furthermore have the ability to ""grant"" us our earned place as Leather.

This becomes toxic when women, trans-folk, people of color, and those of a plethora of differing non-majority identities are the ones who are subject to this gatekeeping.

Hardly a day goes by without a salvo launched from one camp or another in this ideological tug-of-war. Camps entrench, wagons circle, and people lose the ability to connect mirroring much of what we see in society today.

I have been able to deconstruct these ideas by helping others to see my humanity and vulnerability; that I am not just a random avatar across the ether. It is difficult to dismiss, or even hate, someone who is willing to actively listen and to openly enter the exchange of ideas.

We don't all need to agree on everything, that is not my goal; but we do need to respect that we are each the culmination of our individual experiences, and understand that how it used to be isn't how it needs to be. We can do better. I seek to open these dialogues.

My rallying cry of “WE ARE ONE LEATHER” doesn't mean we are a monolith of hegemonic ideas and values, but rather many beautiful individuals who come together under this flag to learn, love, and play with honor, integrity and trust.   

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

Education is a core component of who I am. If I were to win, I would travel – spreading the knowledge that I have attained, and bringing more knowledge back.

An even more important facet of my title year would be helping to foster visibility and meaningful dialogues around intersectionality, inclusivity, and finding common ground in communities that are often at odds with one another.

…while not forgetting to play, and have a wicked good time.

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.

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.

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