Leather Community Events & Organizations:
The gay leather community is a loosely knit community composed of individuals, partners and groups who typically like to wear leather accessories and garments, most often like those of the post-WWII biker culture. Many also share an interest in a common group of fetishes.
Traditionally, leather culture has been most often associated with BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sado/Masochism) practices and its many subcultures. The leather culture also includes people for whom wearing black leather clothing expresses heightened masculinity, love of motorcycles and independence, appropriation of erotic power, engagement in sexual kink or leather fetishism and participation in leather cultural events. The broader leather culture includes gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual and pansexual practitioners.
The common foundation the leather community or leather culture is built upon are the principals of trust, honor and respect. Leather also represents a state of mind embracing power, lifestyle, shared experience and a world view that provides cohesiveness to a community of kindred spirits.
- Exploring the Gay Leather Community
- Wearing Leather
- Handkerchief Codes
- Exploring Kink
- Mr. CMEN Leather
International Mr. Leather:
International Mr. Leather (IML) was established in 1979 by Chuck Renslow, owner of the Gold Coast in Chicago, and his partner Dom Orejudos. The IML contest grew out of the Mr. Gold Coast contest. Held each May, the conference now spans several days, and includes the IML competition, speakers, socials, themed dance parties and a leather market. To compete, IML contestants must either be the winner of a bar, local or regional leather contest or be sponsored by a leather bar, business, club, or organization. In 2016 59 contestants competed for the International Mr. Leather title, in 2017 63 contestants completed, in 2018 71 contestants competed.
IML 2022 will be held May 22-30, 2022, the host hotel is the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago.
International Naturist Organizations:
CMEN holds its Mr. CMEN Leather contest each year during the West Coast Gathering each September, the winner is sponsored as a contestant for IML the following May.
Gay Naturist International holds a Mr. GNI Leather contest at the GNI Gathering each August, the winner is also sponsored as a contestant for IML.
Mr. Los Angeles Leather:
Mr. Los Angeles Leather is selected at LA Leather Pride. Several leather bars and organizations in the greater Los Angeles area hold annual “feeder” contests, with the winners then competing for Mr. Los Angeles Leather. Event hosted by the Los Angeles Leather Coalition. The 2020 contest was scheduled for March 28, 2020, it has been postponed to March 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, with the winner of the Mr. LA Leather contest representing Los Angeles at the IML contest in May 2021. Local feeder contests are:
- Mr. CSW Leather – September 21, 2019, Eagle 562, Long Beach
- Mr. Regiment – October 5, 2019, Faultline, Los Angeles
- Mr. Precinct Leather – November 10, 2019, Precinct, Los Angeles
- Mr. Sister Leather – November 16, 2019, 9:00 p.m. Eagle LA, Los Angeles
- Mr. Sanctuary Leather – December 7, 2019, 8:00 p.m. Sanctuary LAX, Lennox
- Mr. Eagle 562 Leather – January 4, 2020, Eagle 562, Long Beach
- Eagle LA Mr. Leather – January 11, 2020, 9:00 p.m. Eagle LA, Los Angeles
- Mr. LA Leather Bear – January 18, 2020, Eagle 562, Long Beach
- Mr. SoCal Leather – January 19, 2020, Eagle LA, Los Angeles
- Mr. Faultline Leather – February 1, 2020 Faultline, Los Angeles
- Mr. Bullet Leather – February 8, 2020, Bullet Bar, North Hollywood
Other West Coast metropolitan area pre-IML contests:
- Mr. San Francisco Leather – August 17, 2019, Folsom Street Foundary, San Francisco, CA, Sponsored by San Francisco Bay Area Leather Aliance
- Mr. Long Beach Leather – September 14, 2019, Eagle 652, Long Beach, CA
- Mr. Palm Springs Leather – October 30, 2021, Palm Springs, CA, Sponsored by Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert
- Mr. San Diego Leather – March TBA, World Beat Cultural Center, San Diego, CA
- Mr. Phoenix Leather – January TBA, Embassy Suites, Phoeniz, AZ
Other California pre-IML contests include:
- Mr. Bolt Leather – April 25, 2020, Bolt Sacramento
- Mr. OCIC – TBA, Sponsored by Orange County Imperial Court
Regional pre-IML leather contests:
- Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend each January (January 12-14, 2018 in Washington, DC)
- SouthEast LeatherFest each June (June 15-18, 2017 in Atlanta, GA)
- Midwest Leather Weekend each October, representing 13 Midwestern States at IML (Oct. 6-8, 2017)
- Tri-State Leather, each November, representing SW Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky
Some states have similar contests, including Oregon State Leather.
Major Leather & Fetish Festivals:
Off Sunset Festival is the Los Angeles leather and kink Street Fair, held on Santa Monica Blvd, between Hoover and Sunset, Silverlake. It is now at the end of LA Leather Pride Weekend each March.
Cleveland Leather Annual Weekend (CLAW) is a large annual convention for people into leather, normally held in Cleveland, Ohio every April. In 2021 CLAW will be held in Los Angeles, November 24-28. In 2022 CLAW will be held in Cleveland April 28 – May 1, 2022.
Olympus Leather Weekend – Weekend includes workshops, social events, play events and the International Olympus Leather Contest, will be held in San Diego, CA (virtual July 24, 2021).
Folsom Street East is held in New York City each June, it is the largest outdoor fetish street festival on the East Coast, first held in 1997.
Up Your Alley is held in San Francisco’s South of Market District each July, in 2021 transformed into Folsom Street Market (July 25, 2021).
Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, the self acclaimed biggest leather event in the world, was first held in 1984. It is held in late September each year. In 2021 transformed into Folsom Street Presents: MEGAHOOD2021 (September 26, 2021).
Onyx 27 will be held in Fort Lauderdale October 6, 2022.
Berlin’s Easter in Berlin Leather Festival, Europe’s biggest gay leather and fetish event which takes place every year at Easter, was first held in 1975 (April 8-13, 2020).
Folsom Europe street fair is held each Fall in Berlin (Sept. 9-12, 2021).
Amsterdam Leather Pride will be held October 28-31, 2021, first held in 1996.
London’s Fetish Week each July, which began in 2010, includes men who enjoy leather, uniforms, rubber, sports and other fetishes (July 2022 TBA).
Other Local Leather and Fetish Events:
Los Angeles Pup Pride and Contest – Ocrober 22-24, 2021 in North Hollywood
West Coast Rubber Contest – April 2022 in Los Angeles, TBA
Leather Archives & Museums:
The Leather Archives & Museum opened in Chicago in 1996, and moved to its permanent 10,000-square-foot, two-story home in 1999. The Museum preserves material from various leather communities, houses exhibits relating to leather community history and sends traveling exhibits around the country. 6418 N Greenview Ave. Chicago, IL 60626, 773-761-9200.
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives – is the largest repository of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) materials in the world. The Archives were founded as the One Institute in 1956, the educational arm of ONE Inc., founded 1952, publisher of ONE Magazine, the first widely distributed publication for homosexuals in the United States. ONE Archives moved to its current location provided by the University of Southern California in 2000, and has been a part of the University of Southern California Libraries since 2010. 909 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007, 213-821-2771.
Los Angeles Leather Coalition (LALC) – Coalition of LA Area businesses and community organizations (CMEN is an LALC Community Partner), also hosts the Mr. LA Leather Contest each March
- Avatar Club Los Angeles – Los Angeles, founded 1983, provides public educational programs on the 4th Wednesday most months in North Hollywood and extended classes on Saturdays every other month
- California Boots & Breeches Corps – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palm Springs, (uniform club) founded 1968
- Oedipus Motorcycle Club – Los Angeles, founded 1958
- The Regiment of the Black and Tans – Los Angeles (uniform club), founded 1974
- Satyrs Motorcycle Club – Los Angeles, founded 1954, hosts the annual Badger Flats weekend each September
- Southern California Bondage Club – Los Angeles, CA, hosts bondage parties the second Sunday most months
- Threshold – North Hollywood, pan-sexual, founded 1982
- Desert Fetish Authority – Palm Springs
- Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert – Palm Springs
- San Francisco Bay Area Leather Alliance – alliance of clubs, groups and individuals within the leather, fetish, kink, gear and motorcycling communities
- San Francisco Leathermen’s Discussion Group, founded 1996
- Society of Janus – San Francisco, pan-sexual, founded 1974
- The 15 Association – San Francisco, founded 1980
- Hellfire Club – Chicago, founded 1971
National Leather Organizations:
- Drummer North America, established 2014
- International Mr. Leather, established 1979
- National Leather Association, founded 1986
- Leather Archives & Museum, located in Chicago, founded 1991
- Leather Leadership Conference, formed 1999
- Masters and slaves Together International, founded 1988
- Onyx, Men of Color who enjoy the leather lifestyle, formed 1995
- Tom of Finland Foundation, established 1984
Other Information Resources and Conferences:
- The Leather Journal
- Leatherati: Leather People, Events and News
- Los Angeles Leather History
- BDSM Wiki
- Leather and Roses
- LGBTQ Center of Long Beach – BDSM Workshop Series
- National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
- South Plains Leatherfest & International Master/Slave Contest – March 11-14, 2021
- Southwest Leather Conference – conference in January, Phoenix, AZ
- SM Safety
Trust, Honor and Respect
Information on this page is provided for educational purposes. Please note that CMEN does not control the content of linked web sites, the organizations who own these web sites accept sole responsibility for their content.