Leather homeboy Mike Fry breezes into the Windy City to select IML winner
This weekend, the hottest leathermen from around the globe make their way to Chicago to attend and compete in the International Mr. Leather contest. Celebrating its 27th anniversary, IML is the grand poobah of leather events. But this year, Texas doesn’t have a contestant.
According to IML organizers Scott Davis (Mr. Texas Leather 2006 and Mr. Dallas Eagle 2006) recently backed out of the contest due to medical reasons.
But the Lone Star State will be prominently represented: Dallas’ Mike Fry and Mark Frazier will sit on the judge’s dais, and Matt Denney will serve as a tally master. Earlier this week, Dallas Voice e-mailed Fry to determine what’s important in selecting the year’s ultimate leather daddy.
Leather nickname: “stallion”
Occupation: Network engineering implementations manager. In other words, a computer geek.
Grew up: I lived in many different towns all over Arkansas. Fortunately, never in Pickles Gap, Ark.
Moved to Big D: In 1985.
Intro to leather scene: It all happened about five years ago with a hot cowboy from Fort Worth. He had a closet full of boots and lots of toys. And he allowed me the freedom to explore our passions together.
Leather credentials: I am International Leatherboy 2005. And I was South Central Leatherboy 2005, representing Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Attendance record: This year will be my second time at IML.
Since IML is an annual event, how do you think the criteria for selecting for a leather spokesperson changed since last year?
The criterion doesn’t really change. However, each of the previous year’s Mr. International Leather puts his own passion into the title and sets a high standard that we look for in the next winner. This is especially true of the 2005 IML, Michael Egdes, who’s from South Africa and has a military background. His passion for life, and how he addresses and simplifies complicated ideas have encouraged the next generation to a better understanding of their own path. A path in which we all must travel together to stand strong.
What defines a leather person? Character. It’s not about how much pain you can take, or how kinky you are. It’s about how leatherwear makes you feel. You should be as comfortable in your own skin was well as your leather skin believing in who you are, both the good and the bad. Learning to accept oneself and others with integrity and honesty.
Biggest misperception about leather scene: That it is all about sex and pain. For some, that’s true. But for most, it’s not. Everyone has a different threshold of pain and idea of what pain is. Our play is not about the pain it’s about the process of letting go and self-discovery. It’s about giving and receiving of power and control.
What’s so great about the Dallas’ scene? The men and women who make Dallas’ leather scene are known throughout the world because of their commitment to helping each other and teaching skills. It’s their consistency and compassion for others.
If you could magically change one of the leather community’s biggest problems, what would it be and how would you do it? I’d eradicate the use of crystal meth and other addicting drugs that are dangerous and impair judgment. We can help by supporting outreach, education and treatment. And also, by setting an example and instilling pride in others to improve their self-image.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 26, 2006.