TLJ - Portland, CA Leather, kink and fetish community news for Portland - The Leather Journal

Missouri Leather 2014 David Payne Signs PosterDavid J. Payne, not related to IML 2009 Jeffrey Payne, was chosen to be Mr. Missouri Leather 2014 at JJ's Clubhouse in St. Louis, MO on Saturday night, March 1 in front of about 150 Leatherfolk in a newly-opened Annex section of the bar. Michael P. was the runner-up.

Mr. Chicago Leather 2010 Chester Munro and Mr. Missouri Leather 2009 Mike Lunter were the emcees. It was Munro's first state Leather title gig. The emcee at large, or "voice of God" was Mr. Missouri Leather 2011 DJ Kaiser.

The Mr. Missouri Leather contest opened with a terrific A Cappella rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Robert Reed. The local chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence gave a blessing.

The huge significance of the weekend is that it was the end of the line for the Gateway Motorcycle Club which officially folded after 40 years service to the Leather community. About 15 members, associates, emeritus members and honoraries posed for a photo on stage during the contest. It was announced that JJ's Clubhouse had just passed the $1,000,000 mark in fundraising for charity through clubs such as Gateway MC and Show Me Bears.

Published in Regional Leather
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 16:00

Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend by Centaur MC

MAL Todd White Lights Candle

The Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend, produced by the Centaur Motorcycle Club, went off without a glitch as a larger crowd than last year saw Matthew Bronson become Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather 2012, a fabulous Leather Cocktails, more vendors, great food, new club officers installed, and plenty of parties over Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend, January 12-15 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Nine men vied for the coveted Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather title with Mr. Pittsburgh Leather Fetish 2012 Matthew Bronson winning, Mr. PW's Leather 2012 Marc Sherkness Carcione taking first runner-up and Mr. Connecticut Leather 2012 Matt Kenney becoming second runner-up on Sunday afternoon.

Centaur member and Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather 1993 Frank Nowicki was the emcee for the weekend.

The judges for Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather were: Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather 2011 Doug Pamplin, International Mr. Leather 2011 Eric Guttierez, International Ms Leather 2011 Sara Vibes, Mr. San Diego Leather 2010 Anthony Rollar, American Leatherman 2000 Dean Ogren, Washington, DC Eagle owner Ted Clements and Mr. Hayes Valley Leather 2005 Jay Harcourt.

Earlier in the day, the following were installed as Centaur MC officers for this year: president Steve Ranger, vice president Todd White, treasurer Patrick Grady, recording secretary John Bonnage, corresponding secretary Tom Buckley, road captain Jeff Klotz, tribune Chaz Dean and centurion Bob Dye.

Leather Cocktails on Saturday night had a spread of food, mostly slider hamburgers, cheeses and dips and desserts that were gobbled up about as quick as Hyatt servers could set them out.
Gone was the pomp and circumstance of introducing each club member by name with grand entrances and the introduction of Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather contestants. The traditional presentation of club colors was the main show. The introduction of members, installation of officers and viewing contestants were done on Sunday.

The Men of ONYX had a dance party on Saturday afternoon and there was also a puppy mosh sponsored by the Mid Atlantic Kennel Korps that drew big crowds. MAUL (Mid Atlantic Uniform League) held a Saturday party, too.

Published in Regional Leather
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:29

Mr. Chicago Leather January 24-26

Chicago Leather 2013 Nick ZukoTouché, located at 6412 North Clark Street, will host the 2014 Mr. Chicago Leather Contest Weekend, January 24-26.

International Mr Leather 2013 Andy Cross will serve on the judging panel along with Mr. Midwest Leather 2013 Matt Hengle, Mr. Midwest Rubber 2013 Jesse Driscoll, Ms Christina Court and Nick Zuko, Mr. Chicago Leather 2013.

Once again returning from London, England to host the contest will be International Mr Leather 2003 John Pendal.

The contest will be held on Saturday January 25 at 10 PM with additional events scheduled Friday and Sunday. A complete weekend schedule of events will be announced soon and posted online at http://www.touchechicago.com

The man selected Mr Chicago Leather 2014 will receive a title vest and $500 gift certificate from Leather 64TEN, plus additional prizes. Contestant entry forms are available at Touché and online at http://www.touchechicago.com

Published in Local Leather

LA Leather 2014 Eric Paul Leue Photo By Dave RhodesLos Angeles Leather Pride Week was huge and what a production is was, with the main event at Circus Disco in Hollywood being the 15th Annual Mr. LA Leather Contest where Eagle LA Mr. Leather 2014 Eric Paul Leue was best in a field of 10 men vying for the opportunity to represent the City of the Angels at International Mr. Leather in Chicago.

The theme for LA Leather Pride 2014 was Brethern = Blood, Building the Bonds of Brotherhood.

There was a ton of events that started at the ONE Archives Foundation near the USC campus with a motorcycle ride that stopped at several popular Leather businesses while working their way to the Bullet Bar in North Hollywood, Chariots of Fire with the Mr. LA Leather contestants, Payasos LA and followers on Sunday morning, March 22 followed by Odyssey: The Road to Mr. LA Leather the opening party of LA Leather Pride hosted by Avatar Club los angeles put on Odyssey: The Road to Mr. LA Leather – the traditional kick off party to Mr. LA Leather Pride where the contestants for Mr. los angeles Leather 2014 drew their numbers. The Bullet has recently been remodeled and the back room behind the patio was converted to a VIP lounge.

 

Published in Local Leather
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 13:46

Mr. and Ms Iowa Leather judges named

images/club-logos/Iowa Leather 2014 Logo.jpgMr. and Ms Iowa Leather 2014 will be held the weekend of October 10-12 at the Blazing Saddle in Des Moines, Iowa. A full weekend of events will entertain Friday through Monday.

all events will take place at The Blazing Saddle, located on East 5th Avenue in the Historic East Village; Wooly's, located just around the comer at 504 East Locust; and Club Red Light, located adjacent to Le Boi Dar at 508 Indianola Avenue. For the fourth consecutive year, Le Chateau Exotique from New Hope, PA is the official Leather vendor.

The events kick off with the Smoke Out/Grill Out at the Blazing Saddle on Friday, October 10 at 7 PM. The fun continues at l PM on Saturday, October 11 with the Titans of the Midwest presenting Kink U at Iowa Leather Weekend. The first of many great demos will be presented for the second year by North Star Kennel Club including a puppy mosh.

 

Published in Regional Leather
Monday, 13 January 2014 16:00

Mr. 501 Eagle 2014 is Sir Greg Slaven

Mr501Eagle2014 WebOn Saturday, January 11, Sir Greg Slaven was chosen Mr. 501 Eagle contest at the 501 Eagle, 501 North College Avenue, Indianapolis, IN. The runner-up was Michael Fetter.

Due to the effect of weather earlier in the week, the judging panel was reduced to three people. They were Tom Vester who is co-owner of the 501 Eagle, Ron Clemons from Cincinnati Ohio and part of Scorpius Leather Cincinnati, and International Ms Olympus Leather 2013 Robyn Fisher. Others helping with the contest were emcee Jerry Roseberry, tally master Pup Spaz, judges' boy Pup Spike, and contestant handler Jamie McKim.

The contestants were, in order of appearance, Sir Greg Slaven, Michael Fetters, Tom Fleetwood and Greg Otto.

Sir Greg Slaven will compete at International Mr. Leather (IML) in May. Greg is International Mr. Olympus Leather 2012.

Published in Local Leather
Thursday, 19 January 2017 11:16

Mid Atlantic Leather draws record crowd

 

 

Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend saw at least 3,000 Leatherfolk and kinsters converge on the host Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC the weekend of January 12-15 where Martel Brown was chosen to be Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather ans Todd White was installed as Centaur Motorcycle Club president.

Published in Regional Leather

IMG_7395The Centaur Motorcycle Club hosted its Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend the weekend of January 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC with a record crowd in wonderful weather. The features were the Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather 2014 on Sunday afternoon and Leather Cocktails on Saturday night.

Leather Cocktails celebrated its beginning in Big Apple fashion since the party was founded at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. The Centaurs went all-out with the food - roast beef sandwiches, New York cheesecake and the best Manhattan clam chowder west and south of the Hudson River.

Club president Todd White gave a strong speech about the clubs attending the event making Mid Atlantic Leather what it is, after all of the club banners were on stage. Many of the club standard bearers were wiping tears away from their eyes by the time Todd finished. The following day, White was reinstalled as president during the introduction of Centaur MC new officers and all club members.

Published in Regional Leather
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 11:52

Dave Rhodes Hump Day December 6, 2017

 

 

Mufasa Ali is Great Lakes Leather Alliance keynote speaker
By Christina K. Court
Great Lakes Leather Alliance (GLLA) announced that Mufasa Ali will serve as the GLLA 2018 keynote speaker. Mufasa Ali, a member of the Leather community for over 20 years and the inaugural Mr. World Leather 2006/2007, is the founder of ONYX, an international club supporting Leathermen of Color and the recipient of the 2013, 2016 and 2017 Pantheon of Leather Large Club of the Year Award. He currently serves as the Chair of the ONYX National Council, and he is the founder and primary facilitator of the People of Color Leather Caucus seminars at IML and Black Beat, Inc. GLLA 2018 will occur September 6-9 in the same Indianapolis, Indiana host hotel as GLLA 2017. Event registration will open January 1.

http://www.greatlakesleather.org

Published in Regional Leather

IML LogoInternational Mr. Leather 2014 host hotel taking reservations now

Information, such as when major event hotels open their room blocks, is something that The Leather Journal wants its readers to benefit from their loyalty to us. Acting fast, as in today because some of you are reading this on your iPhone or Android, could determine whether you stay International Mr. Leather's host hotel, or being relegated to another hotel where you will have to schlep back and forth to and from all of the action.

The Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile is the host hotel for International Mr. Leather which will be held May 23-26 in Chicago, IL.

 

Published in International Leather

San Francisco Leather 2014 Scott Farrell By Rich Stadtmiller WebIt was announced on stage at the Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street on Saturday night, March 1 that Mr. San Francisco Leather 2014 is Scott "Big Red" Farrell. The first runner-up was Mr. San Francisco Eagle Leather Gage Fisher and the second runner-up was Mr. Daddy’s Barbershop Leather. Six men competed.

Heading the judging panel was Mr. San Francisco Leather 2013 who was the fifth Mr. San Francisco Leather titleholder to win the International Mr. Leather title. The other four were IML 1979 David Kloss representing the Brig, IML 1981 Marty Kiker representing the Brig, IML 1985 Patrick Tone representing Chaps and IML 1992 Lenny Broberg.

Joining Andy were Mr. LA Leather 2013 Justin Emerick, Mr. Bolt Leather 2013 Robert Brooks, Mr. Santa Clara County Leather 2012 Thib Guichard-Callin, Ms San Francisco Leather 2013 Val Langmuir and Judge Emeritus Garry "Marlena" McLain.

The emcees were Mr. San Francisco Leather 2013 Darren Bondy and International Mr. Leather 198 Mike Pereyra.

As Mr. Legion of Sin, Scott Farrell is a muscled redhead who is Mr. September on the 2014 Bare Chest Calendar. Big Red is a member of BaGG (Bondage a Go Go) and is the secretary of the San Francisco Bay Area Leather Alliance. He will compete at International Mr. Leather in Chicago in May.

 

Published in Local Leather
Saturday, 22 February 2014 05:05

Mr. Twin Cities Leather is Greg Menzel

Twin Cities Leather Winner By Steve LeniusMr. Twin Cities Leather 2014 is Greg Menzel of Minneapolis, MN.

Twin Cities Leather and Latte presented the Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2014 Contest held the weekend of February 14-16 at The Saloon in downtown Minneapolis.

The weekend included a Kink U event on Saturday hosted by the Titans of the Midwest and Victory Party by DJMF.

The judges were Leathrati.com contributor Tynan Fox, International Leather Sir 2012 Jack Duke, Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2011 Daniel Henniger, Mr. Leatherman of Color 2011 Onyx Rod, Atons of Minneapolis President Andrew Bertke, and Saloon General Manager Tim Balfanz. The tallymaster was Mr. DC Eagle 2011 Michael Kramer and the den daddy was Bud Ingram-Lile.

The contestants were Tim Holden, Cody Marino and Greg Menzel.

Event Sponsors included The Saloon, TCL&L, Lavender Media, CLAW Nation, UberLube, Oxballs, and Little Pig Design.

Greg Menzel will compete at IML in Chicago, IL in May.

Published in Local Leather
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 16:33

Mr. Connecticut Leather 2015 is David Gerard

Connecticut Leather 2015 David Gerard Photo by Ray Rivera WebThe Mr. Connecticut Leather 2015 contest was held Saturday, September 5-7 at the 168 York Street Cafe in New Haven with the winner being David Gerard of Norwalk, CT.

The runner-up was Trell Walters of Meriden, CT. Also competing was Jeff Wolf Striker Victoria.

The panel of judges included Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather contest founder Al Santora, Producer of Mr. New Jersey Leather Sal Susino, Brian Kuerze, Mr. Eagle NYC 2014 Cee Jay, Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather 2014 Joe Birdwell, Mr. New England Leather 2014 Steve Dupont, and Mr. New Jersey Leather 2001 JR Ramos.

There was a Friday meet and greet and a Sunday victory brunch.

David will continue on to Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather In January and IML in May.

Published in Regional Leather

 

renslow

Featuring: Chuck Renslow

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. What’s the funniest safe word you ever heard?

    “Little purple prunes”

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.”

  17. 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.

 

ChuckRenslow-640x589

 

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Monday, 10 March 2014 05:01

Conversations With Leather - Hardy

 

 

 

 

hardy2

 

 

 

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!

 

Hardy Haberman

Conversations With Leather by Jaco Lourens

      

 

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