Gay businessman vows to continue at fast pace
Dallas businessman and activist Mark Frazier said he thinks his Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2006 Pantheon of Leather Awards last month was a little premature.
“Why did they give me this award? I have no idea,” Frazier said in a telephone interview this week.
“People joked and said they gave it to me so maybe I will slow down. But I said if that was the reason, they should have waited to give it to me for about 20 years, when I might be ready to slow down a little,” he said.
The Pantheon of Leather Awards are the annual community service awards and recognitions presented for and by the international leather /BDSM community. About 25 to 30 awards are presented each year. The top awards are man of the year, woman of the year, couple of the year, club of the year, the International Award, business of the year and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
About 10 regional awards are also presented.
Frazier was one of two Dallasites to receive one of the top awards at the 2006 Pantheon of Leather celebration, held Feb. 17-19 in Chicago. Shannon Short, co-owner of Second Skin Construction Company was named Businessman of the Year.
Short moved to Dallas about two years ago from Florida. He specializes in custom-made leather clothing and is one of the best known leather craftsman in the country, Frazier said.
Frazier has been in Dallas since 1989 and is perhaps best-known among the area’s general GLBT population as co-owner, with Matt Miller,
of Dallas Eagle and Woody’s Sports and Video Bar.
But those in the leather/BDSM community know Frazier has a committed activist dedicated to promoting better understanding of the BDSM lifestyle.
Frazier said this week that he first became involved in the GLBT community in Dallas through Pegasus Softball Association and the Texas Gay Rodeo Association. He was president of the rodeo association’s Dallas chapter in 1990 and 1991.
He also started his leadership role in the local leather world in 1991, winning the title of Mr. Gulf Coast Drummer in 1991 and serving as chairman of the Dallas chapter of the National Leather Association for three years, 1991 through 1993.
In 1993, Frazier became president of the National Leather Association-International, an office he held for three years, through 1995. When he stepped down as president of the international organization, he stepped in as treasurer.
It was also in 1995 that Frazier and Miller opened Dallas Eagle, a nightclub catering to people in the leather/BDSM lifestyle. Frazier is quick to point out that he and Miller are close friends and business partners, but have never been more intimately involved.
“I just want to lay that rumor to rest for good,” he laughed. “I am single.”
About that same time, Frazier began to increase his involvement in producing leather contests and events.
In 2000, Frazier walked away from corporate America where he had worked as a manager in the banking industry and within the federal government, and walked into even greater involvement in the leather/BDSM community.
Frazier competed in the International Mr. Leather contest one of the premier leather contests in the country in 2000, and earned the distinctive honor of placing in the top five. That was the same year Frazier started South Plains Leather Fest.
South Plains Leather Fest has become one of the largest educational and social leather events in North America. It is held in Dallas during the last weekend in February each year, and about 800 people from around the world attend, Frazier said.
The International Master/Slave Contest is held that same weekend in conjunction with the festival.
Frazier stayed busy in 2000, working with Jill Carter to start the Ms. World Leather Contest. That same year, he produced a video documentary that is among those accomplishments of which he is most proud.
“Out of the Darkness” is an educational video featuring mental health professionals working to dispel rumors that BDSM is a clinical disorder and that those in the BDSM lifestyle are dysfunctional.
It has been used in numerous college classes, in courts and throughout Europe as a teaching tool, Frazier said.
Right now, Frazier said he is taking a little time off to play rugby a new game for him and to concentrate on building and opening the new Dallas Eagle.
Ground-breaking for the club’s new venue which will be located across the parking lot from its current location was held in February.
“Building and opening the new location is a very time-consuming undertaking, and so I decided to step back a little and focus on that,” Frazier said. “If I can’t commit 100 percent to a project, then I won’t do it.”
But Frazier’s break won’t last very much longer. He has been asked to be a judge at the 2006 International Mr. Leather contest and at the Mr. Toronto Leather contest.
“There are a lot of leather events going on around the country that I have already committed to attend. So I will be traveling some this year, and trying to find a little time to myself, just for my own sanity,” he said.
Frazier said there are also several more educational documentary projects he wants to produce, including a video specifically to teach law enforcements officials more about the leather/BDSM lifestyle and those who live it.
“There are a lot of projects I want to do. But I have got to have the time to do them, and right now, I don’t have that time,” he said.
As he gets ready to dive back in to his hectic schedule, Frazier took a moment to reflect on the honor of receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“It was a very shocking and very humbling experience for me, to receive an award like this from my peers,” he said. “This is an award given in recognition of achievements, and in my mind, I really haven’t achieved very much as all. There is just so much more I want to do, so much I want to give.
“I’ve never been very good at accepting awards, so I guess the only thing I really have left to say is thanks.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, March 17, 2006.