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Jack Thompson is the first Trans POC to win IML title

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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.

 

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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

https://www.facebook.com/pollyglossia/videos/pcb.10157642659972125/10157642659027125/?type=3&theater

 

 


 

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..."

https://www.facebook.com/chiblkwulf/posts/10156580260374151

 

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

https://www.out.com/news/2019/5/29/leather-club-president-ousted-after-transphobic-comments-about-new-iml?fbclid=IwAR32DGeyEM7wTLl-Rw8n98KUMadUoT-OCNJ1yVVOawoIWrxdLqLt_jYb2-o

 

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.

https://www.imrl.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

See 63 0f the 68 IML 23019 and all four of the IMBB 2019 contestants and their bios here:

 

https://www.theleatherjournal.com/news/regional-news/item/2076-imbb-and-iml-2019-contestants-preview?fbclid=IwAR3cWlQK0sY7XbdhujKI6rviQEgsAiS-I0Mx2MxIgXfNjh0xDsnDDS9cc2k
 

 

 

 

IMBB and IML 2019 Contestants Preview

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Welcome to The Leather Journal's annual IMBB and IML Contestants Preview

We have all four of the Bootblacks and 63 of 69 IML contestants

Who are your favorites?

 

Dave Rhodes' Hump Day October 3, 2018

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This is the emotional reality of outliving the AIDS epidemic

IML 2017 Ralph Bruneau reflects on the impact of losing loved ones to HIV

By Ralph Brunueau, appearing in Gay Star News

"My recent FB post got picked up for publication today, National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Means the world to be able to tell this story on this day." "Walking the dog in Griffith Park. So beautiful. Love the day. Love my dog. Love my life. I see a bruise on my leg. An irregular shape, small, purple with a bit of black. How did that happen? I don’t remember hitting it on anything. Time stops. I’m in Manhattan. I’m walking into the hospital room to see my ex for the first time since he broke us off and I moved to los angeles. I walk in the room, shaking,, scared. I have been warned about what I will see..." Read all of what Ralph Bruneau has to say at

https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/ralph-bruneau-outliving-aids-hiv/#gs.eiF8QGQ

IML and IMBB 2018 sets records as founder Chuck Renslow remembered

Thursday, 31 May 2018 14:35 Written by

 

Compiled by Dave Rhodes, Dr. Larry and William Burden

It is no secret that there were 71 International Mr. Leather 2018 or IML 40 contestants - your preference - 19 of them came from outside the United States, it is known that significant changes were being made in the International Mr. Bootblack contest and that IML founder Chuck Renslow would be remembered with class. What was to-be-determined was the winners of the contests.

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