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Race Bannon presented NGLTF's 2013 Leather Leadership Award

By January 29, 2013

Race Bannon Accepts Leadership AwardRace Bannon of San Francisco, CA, a well-known author, activist, club founder was presented the Leather Leadership Award for 2013, an honor bestowed annually by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) at their Creating Change Conference in Atlanta, GA the weekend of January 23-27.


Approximately. Approximately 3,000 GLBT folds and suppoerters attened the annual Conference dedicated to advancing many aspects of the GLBT lifestyle.

A color guard presented by members of the Leather community opened Saturday’s plenary at Creating Change to rousing applause. With a rainbow of LGBT-oriented flags and Leather men and women as the backdrop, International LeatherSir 2011 Alan Penrod, and International Leatherboy 2011 Bryson “Pup Nitro” Hankinson introduced Race Bannon, the 2013 recipient of the Leather Leadership Award.

Bannon is a cofounder of Kink Aware Professionals; a leader of the DSM Project (The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistic Manual) that led to a beneficial change in the way the psychotherapy profession views kink; author of the best seller Learning The Ropes: A Basic Guide to Safe and Fun BDSM Lovemaking; founder of Daedalus Publishing Company; co-founder of NLA Los Angeles; and a member of Chicago Hellfire Club.

Race Bannon Color Guard NGLTF AwardIn accepting the award, Bannon said, “This award is truly the highlight of my life. It’s heartening that the NGLTF, what I consider the preeminent LGBT rights organization in the country, considers the Leather community worthy of recognition and inclusion.”

Following the award presentation, emcee Kate Clinton introduced Matt Foreman, director of Gay and Immigrant Rights Programs for the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, and Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, national field director of Get EQUAL, to present the 2013 Creating Change Award.

In his introduction of the award recipient Jose Antonio Vargas, Foreman said, “‘Come out, come out, wherever you are’ used to be the theme of our movement. The theory was that people wouldn’t discriminate against someone they knew.” He continued by saying, “Today if an undocumented person comes out, they will be fired and their chance of deportation increases exponentially.”.

Bannon is the eighth individual to receive the NGLTF Leather Leadership Award with the first being Anthony F. DeBlase. The other recipients were Dave Rhodes, Chuck Renslow, Graylin Thornton, Guy Baldwin, Hardy Haberman and Viola Johnson.

The presentation was thus: Alan Penrod, "Thank you very much. We and our brothers and sisters from Atlanta’s Leather community are honored to be here today to help present the Task Force’s Leather Leadership Award to a true hero, Race Bannon.

Before telling you about Race, the Task Force has asked me to tell you why it created this award eight years ago.

The Task Force had three reasons for creating this award. First, it wanted to have a way to say thank you and acknowledge the contributions of the Leather community and its leaders to our movement, contributions which the Task Force believed had been unknown or simply ignored by our larger LGBT community.

One such contribution is that for over four decades  the Leather community has collectively generated millions of dollars every year, in towns and cities from coast to coast, to help the people in our community most in need, including people living with HIV/AIDS and our sisters surviving breast cancer.

Second, the Task Force wanted a way to express the larger LGBT community’s thanks to outstanding Leather leaders for dedicating their lives to building and sustaining the Leather community, preserving its history and expanding our society’s understanding of power, sexuality and gender.

Finally, this award was established as a way for the Task Force to say in the most public way possible, that it believes in a truly inclusive community; that it has always and continues to reject in the strongest way possible, the argument that we will get ahead faster if we leave out, leave behind, or distance ourselves from those individuals and groups within our own community who might make those in power uncomfortable.  

Over the last 40 years, the work of the Task Force has proven time and time again, that it’s not the timid, not the closeted, not the conformists, not the people who make excuses for their own prejudice who have been responsible for our larger LGBT community’s progress. The Task Force believes that Leather people have always been there - leading, pushing and pulling for all of us.

On a more personal note, the Leather Leadership Award means a lot to our community.  The Task Force is the only national LGBT organization to so publicly recognize our leaders, not just once, but year after year. Our community’s leaders sacrifice so much, both personally and financially, for the benefit of the rest of us. So, on behalf of so many people in the Leather community, we say thank you to the Task Force."


CLAW Guy Baldwin AwardBryson "Pup Nitro" Hankinson said, "Now, today’s honoree. For 40 years, yes, I said 40 years, Race Bannon has been exploring nontraditional sex as a practitioner, of course, but also as an educator, a commentator, an activist and a leader. Along with a past leather award recipient Guy Baldwin, Race founded Kink Aware Professionals, a non-profit service that refers people to kink-sensitive psychotherapeutic, medical and legal professionals.

In the early 1970’s activists from the Task Force and other organizations mounted a successful campaign to get the American Psychiatric Association to stop classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder in the DSM – a monumental breakthrough. In the same way, Race was a leader of a grassroots coalition of psychotherapeutic professionals that got the APA to stop considering consensual sadomasochistic behavior a sexual disorder, another breakthrough in the world of sexuality and sexual freedom.

He’s the author of the first basic instructional book on SM sexuality catering to men and women of all orientations, which turned out to be a best seller (and is now available on Kindle)!

Race founded and led the Daedalus Publishing Company, the first publishing company dedicated to publishing non-fiction books about Leather/SM/fetish sexuality.

He is the author of countless articles on sexuality and has given over 400 lectures on the topic. He produced a talk show about nontraditional sexuality and relationships, was a sex advice columnist and has served on boards and in key positions in more organizations than we can name.

For all his work, he’s received dozens of award from the Leather community, including the Pantheon of Leather Community Service Award and the National Leather Association Internationa 's Lifetime Achievement Award.

But as much as all of this, Race is a wonderful and warm human being. Sir Alan and I have known race ever since he was one of our judges at International LeatherSIR/Leatherboy in July of 2011. Ever since then he has always been one of the first people to check in with us on how we are doing since winning our titles, if there is anything we need from him, and doing anything he could to be one of our Leather brothers. No matter where we ran into him, and no matter what was going on at the time, he always greeted us with a huge hug and a smile and took time to catch up with us.
So, for all these reasons and more, we are extremely proud to present the Task Force’s 2013 Leather Leadership Award to Race Bannon."