Pantheon Awards Voting Is Open Now!
You've been waiting, there was a delay and now it is on. Vote for the community leaders who you feel are most deserving of the Pantheon of Leather Awards. Below are links to all aspects of Pantheon of Leather.
Pantheon of Leather 2019 Nominees
The Nominees for the approximate 30 Pantheon of Leather Awards have been released. The Awards will be presented during a dinner on Thursday, August 29 at the Crowne Plaza Market Square Dallas at 6:30 PM in Dallas, TX.
West Coast Olympus was held in Palm Spring, CA June 30-July 1 at the Barracks. Wilson Raiser won the title of 2019 Mr West Coast Olympus Leather and will represent California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii in San Diego at the next International Olympus Leather Contest in 2020.
The 2018 West Coast Olympus Leather Family step downs were emotional and showed the strong connections made by Fifi la Fille, Rusty Rust and Rayna Kitten as they prepared to start the next chapters of their lives.
Only one Mr West Coast Olympus Leather was missing last weekend but, the rest were on hand for this years contest to meet their new brother. Left to right, Wilson (2019) Fifi (2018), Bill (2017), Anthony (2016), Matt (2015), Dave (2014), Andrew (2008 not in attendance). Rayna and Rusty won the Ms and Mx International Olympus Leather titles in May and Fifi has moved to Paris to work on his doctorate.
West Coast Olympus Leather’s Owner and Executive producer, Anthony Harmon passed down the West Coast Olympus Leather Production to new owners and producers Mina de Sade and Raynah kitten after having accepted the post of Contest Producer for International Olympus Leather in May before announcing the Beat Your Drum Community Service Award to Adam Latham for his continued support of our family and community.
Community members without whom many So Cal events would never make it off the ground staffed this year’s event. Emcee’s for the weekend were Roxie Bleau and Fairfax. Den Daddi was Mea Elise, Tally was Pixie Mary and Goddess Moon, cashier was Christy, Stage Manager Fawn, DJ and Sound was handled by Dennis Beisber and our Judges Wrangler was Snap. Speaking of judges a wonderful So Cal panel was headed by Bill Mr West Coast Olympus 2017, Myles Mr SD Eagle 2019, Jody Mr SD Leather 2019, Serafine Ms SD Leather 2019, Persefonie Ms LA Leather 2019, Erik California Drumerboy 2017 and Adam Latham Mr SD Leather 2004. And last but by no means least we want to acknowledge MarKo of the Barracks whose support of West Coast Olympus Leather has allowed us to thrive for another year from the entire family thank you MarKo!
International Mr. Leather 2019 is Jack Thompson from Baltimore, MD, first runner-up is Jawn Marques from San Francisco, CA and second runner-up is Fionn Scott from Dublin, Ireland; International Mr. Bootblack is Kriszly de Hond from Zaandam Noord, Holland, first runner-up is Geoff Millard from Baltimore, MD and second runner-up is Sparkie from Waukesha, WI. The two contests were held at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL over Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-27 with the Congress Plaza Hotel playing host.
Jack Thompson is the first Transgender POC to win IML title. This is the first time black men have won consecutive IML titles. Thompson is the fifth black man to become IML with Ron Moore being the first in 1984, D Cannon in 1991, Ramien Pierre in 2014 and James Lee in 2018. Five black men made the top 20. Thompson's ONYX club brothers from across the nation were in the orchestra area after the contest loudly and proudly cheering "We are - ON-YX, We are - ON-YX." While everyone had their different favorites, Thompson seemed to be accepted right away by everyone.
IML Jack Thompson and IMBB first runner-up Geoff Millard are married and as far as we know, this is a first for IML IMBB.
International Mr. Leather Top 20 Finalists
(Listed by contestant numbers, not in order of placement.)
Mr. Atlas Leather 2019 Colin Marcus Jackson
Mr. Ramrod 2018 Elimination
Mr. New Jersey Leather 2019 Lynx
Mr. Leather Belgium 2018 Bart
Mr. Friendly SF 2019 Amp Somers
Mr. CMen Leather 2018 James Stewart
Mr. Leather Spain 2018 Joseph Rider
Mister Leather Berlin 2018 Jens Walker
Laird Leatherman 2017 James Addinsal
Mr. San Francisco Leather 2019 Jawn Marques
Mr. Leather Ireland 2019 Fionn Scott
Mr. Pittsburgh Leather Fetish 2018 Greg Jones
Leatherman of Color 2019 Jack Thompson
Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather 2019 Emerson Aniceto
Mr. Michigan Leather 2019 Will Baker
Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2019 Elliot Musgrave
Mr. Leather Venezuela 2018 Gaspare
Mister Fetish Spain 2018 Emerson Prieto
Mr. Chicago Leather 2019 Saber Onyx
Mister Leather Europe 2019 Everett Leerson
The International Mr. Bootblack judges were Lucky Rebel, Joyce Berger and International Ms Bootblack 2019 Gretchen; tally masters (they covered both contests) Vidhra Alexander and Zach Bellman; the International Mr. Leather judges were International Mr. Leather 2018 James Lee, Leather Daddy Ian Allan, John Ponce, David Katzenberg, Daddy Faye Foltz, Thay Master Z, Preston So, Don Leach and Todd White. The IMBB contestants gave speeches this year.
International Mr. Leather 2019 Jack Thompson
Leatherman of Color 2019 Jack “Exile ONYX” Thompson
Bio as submitted to The Leather Journal by him - Jack Thompson has been active in the Leather and kink scene of San Francisco, CA for 15 years, but has recently moved to Baltimore, MD. He is one of the founding fathers of ONYX Northwest and a current member of ONYX Mid-Atlantic. He was Mr. May 2018 for the Bare Chest Calendar. Secretary of the Bay Area's all-gender inclusive Leather club, Queer Sphere. Did stage management for many shows in the Bay Area, including The Playground stage at Folsom Street Fair. An 11-year drag performer/producer with the Rebel Kings of Oakland drag troupe and now running The Rebel Kings of Baltimore troupe and is a consistent companion/service wolf to his husband Geoff.
International Mr. Bootblack 2019 Kriszly de Hond
Bio as submitted to The Leather Journal by him - Being a loyal service dog to his Sir and the European kink community, Kriszly's favorite service to offer is boot-blacking. Kriszly has always been a person who has found connecting with people through touch comes much easier and naturally than through talk - whether it be a handshake, a pat on the shoulder or... bootblacking. Looking into his client's eyes while Kriszly works on their boots and seeing them grow in their (sexual) confidence is electrifying...!
The International Mr. Bootblack contestants gave speeches this year, a first for this competition. Bootblacks shined boots on the second floor near the escalators to the Leather Market.
The four contestants selected Kriszly de Hond to receive the Bootblack Brotherhood Award.
Meet International Mr. Leather 2019
By Rodney Burger
It is always interesting to sit down with leather titleholders and hear the story of the life experiences that brought them to the point of being selected to represent their community. I have been fortunate to have that opportunity many times. No leather journey I’ve heard is more complicated then that of Jack Thompson (Exile ONYX) who in December at the DC Eagle was sashed Leatherman of Color 2019 and after my interview went on to Chicago and was selected International Mr. Leather 2019.
Recently Jack was kind enough to meet me at my office, or as some people call it Leon’s, to share with me the story of his life. It was an evening that I will not soon forget.
Born in Berkeley, California, Jack was always kinky. At age five he was already into puppy or wolf play and made his family call him “Fang” and treat him like a wolf. He enjoyed it when friends would lead him around with a leash. He did not have excess to the internet, so he was unaware that puppy play was even a thing.
Although now a proud transman, he came out as a lesbian in middle school. Although his mother was not 100-percent sold on the idea, his parents were supportive of the fact that their girl liked girls. For Jack there was still something not quite right. He was still not happy. In high school he met someone who was trans. He was curious but unfortunately the first time he looked up “transgender,” the we directed him to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In his sophomore year of high school, he was interviewed for a newspaper article about the murder of a transgender person in the community. The writer identified him as being trans. This resulted in him be called into the principal’s office. Since he was not 18, there was not much he could do about his situation. When he sought help for being transgender, all he found were counselors who wanted to fix him and talk him out it. Thankfully his high school had a gay / straight alliance which provided a safe space. He came out to his family as transgender. Jacks says it was like coming out again.
With hormone shots priced at $200 apiece, he was grateful when he found a trans health clinic in San Francisco that was a non-profit and had a pay what you can policy. (It his case he couldn’t afford to pay anything and that was okay.) He began to become his true self.
In San Francisco he also found himself working at the icon Mr. S Leathers store. Jack quickly explained that he did not just work as a salesclerk, but he worked in production. All the leather goods at Mr. S are produced in-house. He worked there for two years and the staff really taught him everything. Filled with my fantasies fueled by pictures in the Mr. S Leathers catalog and by a porn video I once saw of a salesclerk helping a young man try on a straitjacket, I asked Jack if he had any erotic stores to tell. He said, “It is less sexy when you work there.” He enjoyed working at Mr. S and commented that If he ever moved back to San Francisco, he would be happy to return to work there.
In July of 2018 Jack and his husband Geoff Millard, California State Bootblack 2018 / Mr. San Francisco Leather 2017, moved to Baltimore where they live in a beautiful house in the Hamilton part of town. On a visit to Baltimore, they discovered how affordable the city is compared to the high cost of living in San Francisco. Jack added that, “Baltimore has a slower pace and I don’t have to bust my ass to be able to afford things.” He also likes that Baltimore is conveniently located between Washington and Philadelphia. Jack met Geoff at an ex-girlfriend’s birthday party. At that time, he did not date men, but he and Geoff soon became close friends and after a year started to “experiment.” Jack’s sexuality defies labels and he didn’t tell his family about Geoff for two years. He laughed and added: “How many times do I have to come out to my parents?"
I asked him what inspired him to run for the Leatherman of Color title. As a member of ONYX Mid-Atlantic, he knew that he wanted to step up and run for something. This title just felt right. He is looking forward to taking the title to Chicago in May and competing in the International Mr. Leather Contest, but currently has a problem. Although the IML contest allows contestants to be transgender, identifying documents must list the contestant’s sex as male. Jack is working on resolving that problem and stated that should he win IML, that would be the first thing he would fight to change. He is planning an IML send-off fundraiser on May 3rd at the DC Eagle and hopes to also have a fundraiser at the soon to reopen Baltimore Eagle where he will also be working. As an eleven-year member of the Rebel Kings of Oakland troupe, he is currently involved with the Rebel Kings of Baltimore who have a show every second Wednesday of the month at the Clifton Pleasure Club located at 2803 Grindon Avenue in Baltimore. (The next show is March 13th).
Leatherman of Color is a national title that started in Chicago. Jack hopes to help recruit many more contestants for the 2020 contest and hopes to encourage all the chapters of ONYX to send a representative. “In the LGBT community representation matters!” It has been a complicated journey for Jack Thompson, but it is clear to see the great pride that he has in having been selected as Leatherman of Color 2019. I’m excited to see where his journey will take him and cannot be happier that if only for one evening, I was given the opportunity to join him for the ride.
Do you benefit from The Leather Journal?
Are you a part of this story?
Have you appeared in The Leather Journal recently?
Would you like to see our work continue?
If you answered Yes to any of these questions, you should become one of our Patrons and make a pledge today.
Click on the link below to get started.
Jack Thompson's speech
Contestant #51 Jack Thompson delivered a home-run speech to the cheering audience of about 1,300 Leatherfolk and kinksters on Sunday night, May 26. Sharply dressed with an adorable furry tail dangling behind him, he answered those who questioned him throughout his life, ending with, "...I promise you, I am more than enough." Here it is
Joey McDonald's Opening Speech
Here is the link to the full opening address given by Joey McDonald on stage at the beginning of the International Mr. Leather 2019 contest on Sunday night, May 26 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL.
"Welcome to Chicago and to the 41st Annual International Mr. Leather Competition and 27th Annual International Mr. Bootblack competition.
I hope that you are enjoying all the things that IML/IMBB weekend and our fair city offers. I want to give a special shout out to the IML Executive Staff - Bill Stadt, Roger Scheid and Tom Greenleaf for their hard work and dedication in planning the weekend, for the department head..."
It only took a day for Transphobia to strike
Transphobia struck only a couple days after IML 2019 Jack Thompson was sashed when then Southeast Conference of Clubs president Craig MrCode posted on Facebook a statement suggesting the selection of Thompson was "politically motivated. An immediate and overwhelming response from the Leather community saw Craig MrCode stripped of his presidency within a day of his post. Full story at
Contestants drew numbers on Thursday night during the Opening Ceremonies at VenueSIX10 which was a short one-block walk from the Congress Plaza Hotel. Thib Guicherd Callin was back as the emcee. He and the IML team ran Saturday and Sunday night to maximum efficiency, ending within a minute or two of the scheduled time. The ASL interpreters were Kirk Hamlin and Greg Haretos. Flashback on Friday night at VenueSIUX10 included IML 2018 James Lee and IMBB 2019 Lucky Rebel sharing what there concluding title year was like. This was roast-light as friends told stories about the two.
The IML production team surprised International Mr. Leather 1994 and contestant coordinator Jeff Tucker with a short video clip recognizing his dedication to IML and hard work. This generated a rousing ovation, one of many during the night.
The weather was a mixed bag with rain, then balmy days and nights followed by rain and tornadoes in the area. This did not dampen the spirits of the approximate 16,000 who attended or worked in the IML weekend.
There were the usual huge parties such as the Victory Party at the House of Blues, the closing Black and Blue Ball on Sunday night, ONYX Dance - APEX at The Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.
The Leather Market saw big crowds, but seemingly smaller than in recent years. Many vendors, who reported slower sales than in recent years expressed their belief that a wristband-wearing Access Pass policy scared some away from the weekend, thus hurting sales. In order to be in the Congress Plaza Hotel, one had to purchase a wrist band. The regulars had them with their rooms, but locals balked at paying $15 for one day or $45 for the weekend.
The Leather Archives and Museum had a room on the first floor where they had an IML 2019 flag for people to sign. Up in Rogers Park, or Leatherville, the Leather Archives was open for viewing. A block away, Touche'. Leather64TEN and Jackhammer were swamped all weekend. These businesses sponsored a bus, the Northside Leather Express, to bring people to and from the area.
The Chicago Hellfire Club was busy with a booth in the Leather Market, three days of play parties at their clubhouse and a huge cocktail party at the Congress Plaza Hotel. The Titans of the Midwest hosted a Seminar/Social, BLUF had a Social and a formal dinner.
The Titans of the Midwest presented several classes through their Kink U.
Centaur MC had their party where they presented a check in the amount of $40,000 to Gary Wasdin for the Leather Archives and Museum.
Friday included Puppy Yoga, Off Leash - The Pup and Handler Romp, and Spitshine - The Bootblack Party. The Chicago Rubbermen and Mr. International Rubber hosted the rubber Cocktail Social.
One of the big things about IML is the food in Chicago. The Congress is known for not being the best eatery in the Windy City, but nearby are plenty of the best ranging from high-end diner Miller's Pub and daytime Cafe Luna, to Russian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Soul, Tibetan, Halal cuisine and several doughnut and fast food places. No one should have starved.
In case no one caught it. International Mr. Leather and International Mr. Bootblack 2020 will be hosted by the Congress Plaza Hotel. With the Auditorium Theatre and VenueSIX10 within walking distance it makes sense.
See 63 0f the 68 IML 23019 and all four of the IMBB 2019 contestants and their bios here: