International Mr. Leather

International Mr. Leather (IML) is an international, though largely American, conference and contest of leathermen held annually in May since 1979 in Chicago, Illinois. Every year, the event corresponds to the weekend of the United States' Memorial Day holiday.

International Mr. Leather Nr. 29, 2007 in the Chicago Theatre

The International Mr. Leather conference is a multi-day and activity event to recognize International Mr. Leather. Shared interest events, such as speakers, socials, themed dance parties and a leather market are part of ways in which the competitors become known to the evaluating committee and enthusiasts, including the BDSM community, can share in the experience.

IML is an internationally recognized distinction with an informal relationship with how contestants qualify:[1] contestants must either be a winner of a lower-level feeder competition of a bar, local or regional leather contest or be sponsored by a leather-related bar, business, club, or organization.[2]

HistoryEdit

The forerunner of the competition was the 1970s "Mr. Gold Coast" bar contest held at Chicago's Gold Coast leather bar, owned by Chuck Renslow and his then-partner, Dom Orejudos. The "Mr. Gold Coast" contest became one of the bar's most popular promotions causing the need to locate the competition to a larger venue (in 1979), upon which the title was changed to International Mr. Leather.[3]

In 1984 Ron Moore became the first black man to win International Mr. Leather.[1] (Later, in 1997, his sister Genelle Moore won International Ms. Leather, which made them the first siblings to hold international leather titles.)[2][3]

Competing in the 1986 International Mr. Leather contest inspired Steve Maidhof to organize a conference for members of the growing SM, leather, and fetish community, which would focus on education and political activism. To host this conference, named Living in Leather, Maidhof recruited several friends and leading members of Seattle's leather community including: Cookie Andrews-Hunt, Wayne Gloege, Billy Jefferson, Jan Lyon, George Nelson, and Vik Stump. Together, they formed the National Leather Association (NLA), which officially incorporated in the summer of 1986. In October, they hosted the first Living in Leather (LIL) conference.[4]

The leather pride flag was designed by Tony DeBlase, and he first presented the design at the IML competition on May 28, 1989.[5]

The International Mr. Bootblack (IMrBB)[6] competition was added to the IML program in 1993. At its inception in 1993, the competition was properly titled the International Bootblack Competition, and both men and women were allowed to compete. In 1998, it was announced that the competition would be changed to the International Mr. Bootblack Competition and that a separate competition solely for women would be held at International Ms. Leather. This change was made largely because it was commonly held that women had a significant disadvantage competing for ballots from the mostly gay male IML attendees, who often base their bootblack selection at least partly on their sexual attraction to the bootblack. Since 1999, competitors for IMrBB are restricted to persons over the age of 21 who can provide a valid government-issued form of identification that identifies them as male.

In 1995, “Chuck Renslow – IML” was one of the recipients of the International Deaf Leather Recognition Award.[7]

In 1999 IML received the Business of the Year award as part of the Pantheon of Leather Awards.[8]

In 2007 and 2012 IML received the Large Event of the Year award as part of the Pantheon of Leather Awards.[8]

In May 2009 it was announced that IML proceeds would be placed in a trust to benefit the Leather Archives and Museum.[9][4] The Leather Archives and Museum holds the records of the IML.[10]

IML established in July 2009 the policy that IML Leather Market participation would exclude "any entity which promotes barebacking or distributes/sells any merchandise tending to promote or advocate barebacking."[5]

In 2010 IML was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.[11]

Also in 2010, Tyler McCormick became the first openly transgender man, the first wheelchair user, and the first person from New Mexico to win International Mr. Leather.[12]

Starting in 2013, the International Mr. Bootblack (IMrBB) contest in the IML program has implemented a judging system to select the winner. Contestants are evaluated by a panel of judges on the basis of their technical bootblacking skills, how they present themselves on stage and in public and what they say in an interview with the judges. Ballot voting still makes up a percentage of the contestant's total score.[6]

In 2018, IML was inducted into the Leather Hall of Fame during Cleveland Leather Annual Weekend 2018.[13][14]

In 2019, Jack Thompson became the first openly transgender person of color to win International Mr. Leather. His win also made it the first time black men won consecutive International Mr. Leather titles.[15][16]

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant shutdowns and cancellations of large gatherings throughout the world, in-person IML events in 2020 and 2021 were cancelled. IML returned in May 2022.[17]

IML contest criteriaEdit

Preliminary round

Contest finalists are selected following:

  1. A preliminary interview with each of the nine judges, up to 8 minutes in length, are held in private (60% of the preliminary score).
  2. Stage presence and personality at a Saturday "Pecs and Personality" event (40% of the preliminary score).

The judge's highest and lowest scores for each contestant on each criterion are dropped, and the contestant's remaining seven scores are tallied to determine the 20 contestants with the highest combined scores to proceed as finalists at the Sunday IML contest event. The only time that the dropped scores are included in the tally is when there is a tie for the 20th place; the contestants in question have their dropped scores included in the tally but if the stalemate continues then each of the nine judges must vote for only one of the two contestants. Preliminary judging scores are not carried forward. There are also two tally masters.[7]

Final round

Each of the 20 finalists is judged at the Sunday IML contest on a scale from 0 to 100 in the following order:

  1. Leather image (up to 40 points).
  2. Presentation skills that include a contestant speech (up to 40 points).
  3. Physical appearance (up to 20 points).

The highest and lowest scores for each finalist are dropped, the remaining seven scores are added together, and the top three scores designate the second runner-up, first runner-up, and winner, International Mr. Leather. A tie for the title is resolved by adding to the tally the dropped scores of the two contestants; if the stalemate continues then each of the nine judges must vote for only one of the contestants in question.

IML contest winnersEdit

The following is a table of IML contest winners:[8][9]

IML Year IML winner Winner's preliminary title or sponsor Winner's city Field of contestants Contest's Location and Host Hotel
1979 David Kloss Mr. Leather Brig San Francisco, California 12 men from 6 U.S. states Grand Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel
1980 Patrick Brooks Mr. Leather Australia Sydney, Australia 18 men from 7 U.S. states and Australia Grand Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel
1981 Marty Kiker Sponsored by The Brig & The Phoenix San Francisco, California 36 men from 3 countries incl. 11 U.S. states Park West
1982 Luke Daniel Mr. Drummer San Francisco, California 46 men from 14 U.S. states and Canada Park West
1983 Coulter Thomas Mr. Texas Leather Houston, Texas 44 men from 15 U.S. states and Canada Park West & Allerton Hotel
1984 Ron Moore Mr. Leather Colorado Denver, Colorado 30 men from 14 U.S. states and Australia Park West & Allerton Hotel
1985 Patrick Toner Mr. Chaps San Francisco San Francisco, California 27 men from 3 countries incl. 14 U.S. states Park West & Allerton Hotel
1986 Scott Tucker Mr. Philadelphia Leather Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 28 men from 14 U.S. states Park West & Lake Shore Hotel
1987 Thomas Karasch Mr. Leather Europe Hamburg, Germany 31 men from 3 countries incl. 14 U.S. states Park West & Days Inn
1988 Michael Pereyra Mr. Leather San Diego San Diego, California 42 men from 3 countries incl. 20 U.S. states Clubland at The Vic Theatre & Executive House Hotel
1989 Guy Baldwin Mr. National Leather Association Los Angeles, California 48 men from 22 U.S. states and Canada Clubland at The Vic Theatre & Executive House Hotel
1990 Mark Ryan Mr. Boston Leather Boston, Massachusetts 42 men from 3 countries incl. 22 U.S. states Clubland at The Vic Theatre
1991 D Cannon Mr. CC (of Palm Springs) Los Angeles , California 50 men from 3 countries incl. 24 U.S. states Clubland at The Vic Theatre & Executive House Hotel
1992 Lenny Broberg Mr. San Francisco Leather San Francisco, California 56 men from 22 U.S. states and Canada Aragon Ballroom & Executive House Hotel
1993 Henri ten Have Sponsored by Motor Sportclub Amsterdam (MSA) Amsterdam, Netherlands 51 men from 5 countries incl. 23 U.S. states Aragon Ballroom & Congress Plaza Hotel
1994 Jeff Tucker Mr. San Jose Leather San Jose, California 49 men from 5 countries incl. 21 U.S. states Congress Theater & Congress Plaza Hotel
1995 Larry Everett Mr. Oklahoma Leather Collinsville, Oklahoma 50 men from 6 countries incl. 26 U.S. states Congress Theater & Hyatt Regency Chicago
1996 Joe Gallagher Mr. Leather New York New York, New York 49 men from 6 countries incl. 25 U.S. states Congress Theater & Congress Plaza Hotel
1997 Kevin Cwayna Mr. Minnesota Leather Minneapolis, Minnesota 53 men from 5 countries incl. 24 U.S. states Congress Theater & Congress Plaza Hotel
1998 Tony Mills Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather Washington, D.C. 62 men from 7 countries incl. 24 U.S. states Congress Theater & Congress Plaza Hotel
1999 Bruce Chopnik Mr. Rocky Mountain Leather Denver, Colorado 52 men from 5 countries incl. 23 U.S. states Congress Theater & Congress Plaza Hotel
2000 Mike Taylor Mr. Heartland Leather Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio 60 men from 7 countries incl. 25 U.S. states Congress Theater & Congress Plaza Hotel
2001 Stefan Müller Bavarian Mr. Leather Munich, Germany 63 men from 7 countries incl. 27 U.S. states Congress Theater & The Palmer House Hilton
2002 Stephen Weber Mr. Texas Leather Dallas, Texas 66 men from 7 countries incl. 28 U.S. states Congress Theater & Hyatt Regency Chicago
2003 John Pendal Mr. Hoist London, United Kingdom 58 men from 5 countries incl. 25 U.S. states Congress Theater & The Palmer House Hilton
2004 Jason Hendrix[10] Mr. D.C. Eagle 2004 Washington, D.C. 58 men from 5 countries incl. 23 U.S. states Congress Theater & Hyatt Regency Chicago
2005 Michael Egdes[11] Mr. Ramrod Fort Lauderdale, Florida 52 men from 6 countries incl. 25 U.S. states Navy Pier Skyline Stage & Hyatt Regency Chicago
2006 Bo Ladashevska Mr. Leather Montreal 2006 Montreal, Quebec, Canada 51 men from 5 countries incl. 18 U.S. states Chicago Theatre & The Palmer House Hilton Hotel
2007 Mikel Gerle Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2007 Los Angeles, California 53 men from 5 countries incl. 23 U.S. states Chicago Theatre & The Palmer House Hilton
2008 Gary Iriza Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2008 Palm Springs, California 51 men from 6 countries incl. 21 U.S. states Hyatt Regency Chicago
2009 Jeffrey Payne Mr. Texas Leather 2009 Dallas, Texas 54 men Hilton Chicago
2010 Tyler McCormick Mr. Rio Grande Leather 2010 Albuquerque, New Mexico 52 men Congress Theater & Hyatt Regency Chicago
2011 Eric Guttierez Mr. Leather Europe 2011 Paris, France 53 men Harris Theater & Hyatt Regency Chicago
2012 Woody Woodruff Mr. Michigan Leather 2012 Waterford, Michigan 49 men Harris Theater & Hyatt Regency Chicago
2013 Andy Cross Mr. San Francisco Leather 2013 San Francisco, California 51 men Harris Theater & Marriott Michigan Ave. Chicago
2014 Ramien Pierre Mr. D.C. Eagle 2014 Washington, D.C. 46 men from 5 countries Harris Theater & Marriott Michigan Ave. Chicago
2015 Patrick Smith Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2015 Los Angeles, California 52 men from 8 countries incl. 23 U.S. states Park West and Harris Theater & Congress Plaza Hotel
2016 David "Tigger" Bailey Mr. New Jersey Leather 2016 Howell, New Jersey 59 men from 7 countries incl. 25 U.S. states Park West and Harris Theater & Congress Plaza Hotel
2017 Ralph Bruneau Mr. GNI (Gay Naturists International) Leather 2016 Los Angeles, California 63 men from 13 countries incl. 23 U.S. states Auditorium Theatre & Congress Plaza Hotel
2018 James Lee Mr. Kentucky Leather 2017 Lexington, Kentucky 71 men from 15 countries incl. 27 U.S. states Auditorium Theatre & Congress Plaza Hotel
2019 Jack Thompson Leatherman of Color 2019 Baltimore, Maryland 68 men from 15 countries incl. 26 U.S. states and Puerto Rico Auditorium Theatre & Congress Plaza Hotel
2020 Contest cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021
2022 Gael Leung Chong Wo Mr. Leather Belgium 2020/2021 Ghent, Belgium 60 men from 11 countries incl. 23 U.S. states Arie Crown Theater & Congress Plaza Hotel

International Mr. Bootblack CompetitionEdit

The International Mr. Bootblack (IMrBB) Competition runs throughout the IML weekend. Contestants are given a location in the IML Leather Market at which they perform bootblacking services. Weekend ticket package holders (as well as judges, contestants, and vendors) are each provided with a bootblack ballot which is redeemable for one shine by the bootblack of the voter's choice. Bootblacks are free to shine the boots of any person, regardless of whether that person has a ballot, although it is made clear that the ballots are the means by which the winner will be determined. Tipping is not required, but is quite common.

The bootblack contestants work during the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of IML during the time that the Leather Market is open, a total of approximately 20 hours over three days. In previous years, the bootblacks were allowed to shine boots and collect tickets at all times during the weekend. Since 2001, the bootblack contestants have established a gentlemen's agreement at the start of the weekend that they will not shine boots or accept ballots except during the established competition hours. This agreement was conceived to give the contestants the freedom to take time to enjoy the weekend without feeling the pressure to always be bootblacking.

At its inception in 1993, the competition was properly titled the International Bootblack Competition, and both men and women were allowed to compete. In 1998, it was announced that the competition would be changed to the International Mr. Bootblack Competition and that a separate competition solely for women would be held at International Ms. Leather. This change was made largely because it was commonly held that women had a significant disadvantage competing for ballots from the mostly gay male IML attendees, who often base their bootblack selection at least partly on their sexual attraction to the bootblack. Since 1999, competitors for IMrBB are restricted to persons over the age of 21 who can provide a valid government-issued form of identification that identifies them as male.

The winner of the International Mr. Bootblack Competition is announced (along with the first and second runners-up and the winner of the Brotherhood Award, on which the IMrBB competitors vote and which is roughly analogous to the Miss Congeniality Award from various traditional beauty contests) at the Sunday contest, immediately following the announcement of the top 20 IML finalists.

In recent years, largely because of coordination of the contest by David Hawks, International Mr. Bootblack 2000, the Bootblack Competition has begun to develop adjunct activities. An IMrBB party is held in a hotel function room on Saturday night, offering food, music, and a silent auction, the proceeds of which go to the travel fund of the winner. Likewise, during the competition hours in the Leather Market, volunteers man a table to answer questions and sell IMrBB Travel Fund pins, which also adds to the travel fund. These sources of revenue have provided the various titleholders with significantly more money to aid their travel to distant events during their title years. The money is controlled by the contest coordinator, and any access to the funds must be accompanied by proof of the travel outlay.[12]

Starting in 2013, the IMrBB contest has implemented a judging system to select the winner. Contestants are evaluated by a panel of judges on the basis of their technical bootblacking skills, how they present themselves on stage and in public and what they say in an interview with the judges. Ballot voting still makes up a percentage of the contestant's total score.[13]

IMrBB contest winnersEdit

The following is a table of IMrBB contest winners:[14]

Date IMrBB winner Winner's preliminary title or sponsor Winner's city Number of contestants
1993 David Morgan DC Eagle Washington, D.C. ?
1994 William Shields, Jr. Chicago Eagle & Chicago Hellfire Club Chicago, Illinois ?
1995 Tim Cousins DC Eagle Washington, D.C. ?
1996 Todd Nelson The Cuff Seattle, Washington ?
1997 Driller SF Eagle & Daddy's Bar San Francisco, California ?
1998 Matthew Duncan Centaur MC Washington, D.C. ?
1999 Robert Ehrlich DC Eagle Washington, D.C. ?
2000 David Hawks Centaur MC Washington, D.C. ?
2001 paksen Centaur MC Washington, D.C. ?
2002 Michael Lanzini The Lure New York City, New York ?
2003 Richie Chameroy Daddy's Bar & Powerhouse Bar San Francisco, California ?
2004 Alan Tunstall The Barracks Bar & Avatar Club Los Angeles, California 8 men
2005 BooBoo Great Lakes Leather Alliance & Laws Leather Cleveland, Ohio 9 men
2006 Benjamin Palmer PumpJack Pub & Priape Vancouver Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 5 men
2007 Spot Great Lakes Leather Alliance Lansing, Michigan 5 men
2008 Bootdog Alameda County Leather Corps Oakland, California 5 men
2009 McG Bootblack Toronto 2009 Toronto, Ontario, Canada 6 men
2010 Tim Starkey Boston Ramrod Boston, Massachusetts 5 men
2011 Jim Deuder NYC Bootblack Roundtable, The Leather Man NYC & the Eagle NYC New York City, New York 6 men
2012 Nick Elliott Oregon State Bootblack, 2011 Portland, Oregon 2 men
2013 Sammy Sklover Oregon State Bootblack, 2012 Portland, Oregon 3 men
2014 Scout Eros SF & the San Francisco Eagle Oakland, California 7 men
2015 Bamm-Bamm International Leatherboy 2012, SF Eagle San Francisco, California 6 men
2016 Erick Joseph Alaska State Bootblack Anchorage, Alaska ?
2017 Ryan "Pawlish" Garner-Carpenter Independent Candidate Cincinnati, Ohio 3 men
2018 Lucky Rebel Mr. Oregon State Leather 2016 Portland, Oregon ?
2019 Kriszly de Hond Mr. Puppy Europe 2015, XXXLeather's House Bootblack Zaandam, Netherlands 4 men
2020 Contest cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021
2022 Alistair LeatherHiraeth Bootblack Europe 2020 Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom 3 men

See alsoEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ Bean, Joseph W. (2004). International Mr. Leather: 25 Years of Champions. International Mr. Leather, Inc. and The Leather Archives and Museum (1st ed.). Las Vegas: Nazca Plains. ISBN 1-887895-38-8.
  2. ^ Davolt, Robert (2003). Painfully Obvious: An Irreverent & Unauthorized Manual for Leather/SM. cover design by Steve Diet Goedde. Los Angeles: Daedalus Publishing. p. 212. ISBN 1-881943-19-4.
  3. ^ International Mr. Leather, Inc. "Contestant Application" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-03-24. Retrieved 2005-12-21.
  4. ^ "Leather Archives & Museum Announcement". Twitter. 2009-05-25. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
  5. ^ "IML Makes History". Will Clark World. 2009-07-15. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
  6. ^ International Mr. Leather, Inc. "Official IML Scoring Procedure". Archived from the original on 2005-12-22. Retrieved 2005-12-21.
  7. ^ International Mr. Leather, Inc. "IML 2004". Archived from the original on 2006-03-24. Retrieved 2005-12-18.
  8. ^ International Mr. Leather, Inc. (2005-05-30). Michael Egdes Named International Mr. Leather 2005 Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago. (Microsoft Word). Press release. Archived from the original on 2005-12-23. Retrieved 2005-12-19.
  9. ^ "International Mr. Leather – Bootblack Contest". Archived from the original on 2006-03-24. Retrieved 2006-04-14.
  10. ^ "International Mr. Leather – Past Bootblack Winners". Archived from the original on 2006-03-24. Retrieved 2006-04-14.
  11. ^ International Mr. Leather, Inc. (2007-05-27). Mikel Gerle Named International Mr. Leather 2007. (Microsoft Word). Press release. Archived from the original on 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2007-05-30.
  12. ^ "International Mr. Bootblack 2013 Press Release" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-07-19. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
  13. ^ Source for 1979 to 2003: Bean, Joseph W. (2004). International Mr. Leather: 25 Years of Champions. International Mr. Leather, Inc. and The Leather Archives and Museum (1st ed.). Las Vegas: Nazca Plains. ISBN 1-887895-38-8.
  14. ^ Source for 2004 to 2008: "International Mr. Leather - History". Archived from the original on 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2009-03-15.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Displaying items by tag: International Leather". The Leather Journal. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  2. ^ "Cuir Underground". www.black-rose.com.
  3. ^ "Leather Archives & Museum". Twitter. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 28 Aug 2022.
  4. ^ "Finding Aid to the National Leather Association Collection of Records". Leather Archives and Museum. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Leather History Timeline". Leather Archives & Museum. Archived from the original on 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2008-02-14.
  6. ^ "Bootblacking or how to love your leather boots". lustmoments. December 24, 2018.
  7. ^ "International Deaf Leather | AWARDS". July 4, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Pantheon of Leather Awards All Time Recipients - The Leather Journal". www.theleatherjournal.com.
  9. ^ "Leather Archives & Museum Announcement". Twitter. 2009-05-25. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
  10. ^ "KANE, "DRUMMER," AND DEBLASE — Rick Storer, Leather Archives & Museum — San Francisco Leathermen's Discussion Group". Sfldg.org. 2014-10-22. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  11. ^ "Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2015-06-28.
  12. ^ "Tyler McCormick, International Mr. Leather 2010 - Leatherati Online". Leatherati.com. 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  13. ^ "CLAW". Clawinfo.org. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
  14. ^ "> Home". Leatherhalloffame.com. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
  15. ^ "Jack Thompson Is the First Trans POC to Win International Mr. Leather". www.out.com. May 26, 2019.
  16. ^ Rhodes, Dave. "Jack Thompson is the first Trans POC to win IML title - The Leather Journal". www.theleatherjournal.com.
  17. ^ "Event Schedule". International Mr. Leather. Retrieved 2022-07-11.

External linksEdit