Mr. Texas Leather titleholder Julian Harris decides who’ll represent Dallas’ next king of kink
It’s not about the toys — ropes, nipple clamps, handcuffs, whips, slings, wrist restraints, hoods…. And it’s not about the clothes — leather hats, chaps, vests, jackets, jockstraps, gloves, boots …
The things that bind the leather community are displaying proper etiquette, playing exceptionally well with others and not being a totally selfish pig (unless that’s exactly what a boy wants from his Sir).
This weekend, about eight men will compete to represent Big D in the Mr. Dallas Eagle 2008 contest, a preliminary to February’s Mr. Texas Leather, which also serves as a prelim for the International Mr. Leather.
Julian Harris is a Dallas native, who works at UT Southwestern’s ophthalmology research department. In 1991, he was newbie leatherboy who couldn’t correctly put on a harness. He eventually got the hang of the scene. In 2007, he won Mr. Dallas Eagle and Mr. Texas Leather. This weekend, he serves as one of the judges for 2009.
When he was a contestant, he knew that the leather scene was mainly about one thing — service. So he worked with community groups like the Texas Gay Rodeo Association and the United Court of the Lone Star Empire and helped raise money for AIDS Services of Dallas.
Contestants are scored in four areas. One is "jock and physique "(150 points). But Harris says that’s not about being a steroided-out bodybuilder: It’s about being confident in your own skin. There’s also a two-minute speech (100 points), interviews with judges (150 points) and a 90-second "leather image" onstage question (150 points).
When Harris, a.k.a. "Daddy J," gave his speech, he talked about welcoming newbies into the community. Earlier this week, Dallas Voice caught up with him to find out what makes an ideal Dallas leatherman.
Define "the leather community:" We’re group that shares a bond of intimacy and sexual freedom that happens to include a love for leather and traditions. The leathers we wear represent the brothers and sisters that went before us — as activists for human rights. It’s about traditions. Being a leatherman and wearing leather is about heart and integrity.
What’s a lame reason to compete for Mr. Dallas Eagle? I don’t feel there is a lame reason to enter a contest to represent your community. We can all learn from carrying a title. I’d be disappointed in someone entering for the just the sake of the title. I’d hope they enter with a cause or passion to promote — to become a spokesperson for the leather community.
What myths about the leather community need to be dispelled? We are not all about sex. We’re about supporting our brothers and sisters and their causes and charities.
This week, Pat Boone — who worked a leather vest and pants on his "No More Mr. Nice Guy" album — compared Prop 8 demonstrators to hateful Mumbai terrorists. If you were able to tell Pat what it really means to wear leather, what would you say? I don’t care if a leatherperson owns one leather armband or harness or if they own a closet full of custom leathers. It is not about the appearance. It is about heart, honor and respect for one’s self, community, family and tribe.
Mr. Dallas Eagle contest Dec. 12-13: Friday, Meat-and-Greet; Saturday, Contest.
At the Dallas Eagle, 2515 Inwood, #107, 214-357-4375
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 12, 2008.