CLAW (Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend) has just signed a contract with comedian Judy Tenuta for her to perform in the Impulse Lounge of the host Holiday Inn at 11 PM on Saturday night of CLAW which will be held April 28 - May 1.
CLAW already has reservations for more than 500 out of 635 host hotels rooms with four months to go.
Registration is up 18-percent from a year ago and they are on track to have 2,000 people at CLAW XVI.
CLAW founder and president Bob Miller told The Leather Journal, "I have been a fan ever since the first joke I heard her tell at IML in 1990 (to be read in a high pitched scratchy voice 'How many of you out there are bottoms?' (lots of applause and cheering); 'How many are tops?' (less applause, about half as much as the bottoms); pause 'Liars!'"
Miller continued, "She was ahead of her time, insisting that her fans worship her, and calling us love slaves, etc. She is by far. the most famous entertainer CLAW has hired."
CLAW is a 501c3 charity of, by and for the Leather Community. CLAW has donated more than $600,000 to community charities, including the monies raised at CLAW Nation parties around the country.
For more information and to reserve your hotel room and get your package at $169, go to http://www.clawinfo.org
Sign up to be one of CLAW’s more than 600 volunteers and get a package free in exchange for at least eight hours volunteer time at CLAW. Jobs include lots of looking at hot Leather men in the hotel. Volunteers also get special gifts and have access to the CLAW Volunteer Hospitality Suite all weekend, with free hot and cold food and non-alcoholic beverages.
By Jorge Amaro
The National LGBTQ Task Force has announced the award recipients for the 28th annual Creating Change conference—the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy conference—set to take place January 20-24 at the Downtown Chicago Hilton and CLAW Executive Director Bob Miller is among them, being named the recipient of the Leather Leadership Award.
“We are proud to announce our 2016 Creating Change award recipients—all of whom have made significant contributions to advance basic freedoms, rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people,” said Russell Roybal, National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Executive Director. “We’re thrilled to be hosting Creating Change in Chicago—which is expected to be the largest gathering to date. We look forward to welcoming, training and reconnecting with over 5,000 LGBTQ advocates and allies in the Windy City!"
During the conference, Barbara Smith will be presented with the Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement. Smith, a life-long activist in the LGBTQ, civil right , and women’s rights movements, founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press and served two terms as a councilmember of Albany, New York. Marisa Franco, campaign director of the #Not1More campaign, will receive the Leadership on Immigration Award and Katherine Acey, who served as the executive director of GRIOT Circle as well as the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, will receive the SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues. Additional award recipients include Bob Miller, Nick Sakurai, Kasey White, and Hilton Worldwide.
Bob Miller has been involved in the Leather community for over 30 years, starting with Leather bars in Minneapolis and San Francisco in 1983. In 2001, the same year he became Mr. Leather West Michigan, he co-founded CLAW (Cleveland Leather Annual Weekend). Today, CLAW is the nation’s second largest Leather event, featuring over 125 events and workshops. It and its sister organization, CLAW Nation, have contributed over $600,000 to more than 150 charitable organizations over the last 14 years. In 2008, Bob founded the Leather Hall of Fame which has honored 21 men and women who have made lasting contributions to the Leather community, some going back to the 1950s.
He serves on the Board of the Leather Archives & Museum and is an associate member of the Chicago Hellfire Club. As a cooperating attorney with Lambda Legal in the 1990’s, Bob won important gay and HIV rights cases. In 2013-2014, he was Chair of the Berrien County (MI) Democratic Party and founded and chaired the Harbor Country Progress Democratic Club from 2008 to 2012. Bob received the Pantheon of Leather 2015 Community Choice Award (Man) in October and CLAW has won several Pantheon of Leather honors. Bob and his long-time partner and now husband Jim Vopat live in Three Oaks, MI and Palm Springs, CA.
Creating Change is a unique four-day experience consisting of daylong institutes, dynamic plenary sessions, and over 350 skills-building workshops, presentations, and training sessions. The conference also features networking sessions, film screenings, interfaith services, community caucuses, hospitality suites and special receptions.
To learn more about the awardees, and for more information about the conference, visit http://www.CreatingChange.org
The Leather Archives & Museum has announced a documentary film about the history of the LA&M to be released in 2016. Christina Court, producer and director of the documentary High Shine: 15 Years Of International Ms Bootblack (High Moo Production, 2015), has teamed up with the Leather Archives & Museum to produce a documentary short that celebrates the communal effort that made LA&M the institution it is today. Court will use materials from the LA&M archives and film new interviews that will help bring the history and LA&M’s collections to life. While showing the current and evolving state of LA&M, she also hopes to provide a glimpse of what members and visitors could see from and in the LA&M into the next quarter century.
Eleven years after the first known reported case of AIDS and less than one year after artists Etienne (Dom Orejudos) and Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen) passed away, Leather history was forever changed. During the 1992 International Mr. Leather contest, IML owner and co-founder Chuck Renslow took the microphone. Within his remarks, Renslow announced that he and other community organizers had met and agreed it was time to establish the Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M). Renslow defined the organization as a way to ensure Leather history and the names of the thousands of Leather folk that the community had lost over the years, especially to AIDS, HIV and cancer, were not forgotten. Renslow’s announcement was immediately met with long and loud applause. Four months later, the LA&M opened a checking account with a $1,000 check donation from International Mr. Leather, Inc.
Over the past 25 years the LA&M has experienced nonstop growth. The museum and archives has resided in two locales on the north-side of Chicago. The organization has shifted from a sub-cultural destination spot for Leatherfolk to a cutting-edge community-based research institution, a well-renowned museum that appears on Chicagoist’s Ten Best Museums In Chicago, and an institution that is home to the largest collection of Leather, kink, alternative sexuality and BDSM historical objects and documentation in the world.
For more information on the Leather Archives & Museum check out http://www.leatherarchives.org
University of Alabama and University of Central Florida researchers surveyed over 800 kinky people recruited by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) and found they were mentally and emotionally healthy.
"I was curious about the stereotypes from a mental health standpoint and we found that these kinky people are well functioning, with little mental health concerns," says Tess M. Gemberling, M.A., Co-Principal Investigator, University of Alabama. "They also have healthy romantic relationships."
The study, "Psychological Functioning and Violence Victimization and Perpetration in BDSM Practitioners from the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom," also investigated people's preferences for BDSM activities and fantasies, and explored whether violence is perpetuated against kinky people. It joins a growing body of research that refutes the stereotype that people who are kinky are inherently dangerous to themselves and others, which is at the root of the discrimination and persecution that kinky people experience.
"I wanted to explore more about how the stereotypes interface with reality," says Matt R. Nobles, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator, University of Central Florida.
"Although more than half of the people in this study have been victims of violence or aggression, extremely few had perpetrated such themselves."
In the study, 7.7 percent of participants reported they had been victims of a BDSM-based hate crime, while 10.2 percent of participants reported they had been victims of an LGBT-based hate crime.
"Parallel to my work with sexual minorities, my interest is in looking at the nature of identity and mental health in a vulnerable group of people," says Robert J. Cramer, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator, University of Alabama. "Contrary to popular perceptions, our study shows kinky persons are largely mentally healthy when it comes to conditions such as depression, anxiety and suicide."
The study also confirms that for these kinksters it's primarily about consensual power exchange, with 98 percent preferring to take a specific power exchange role during BDSM.
The most commonly reported practices were spanking, slapping and biting, and the use of sexual toys and equipment.
"Lawmakers can help by legally recognizing informed consent as the basis of healthy BDSM behavior," says Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF. "BDSM is intended to be a mutually beneficial experience that is done by consenting adults."
For more on this article and the NCSF go to http://www.ncsfreedom.org
In the past decade, alternative sexual expression has become much more visible to the general public. As we continue to move into the streets of mainstream America, we face an increasing number of attacks against our right to freedom of sexual expression. While the battles that NCSF has waged have been successful, our resources are depleted. will continue to defend against these attacks, but the success of that fight depends on your support. You can provide that support by becoming an individual member of NCSF, volunteering to join the NCSF staff, making a donation to NCSF, or encouraging your group to become a Coalition Partner of NCSF.