That’s how Synn Evans felt about the Ms. Texas Leather title from the minute she decided to compete. As of Saturday night, that desire became a reality.
She’s in full regalia for our interview, including black leather vest, chaps and her medal. She sports a jet black Mohawk, devilish grin and blue eyes with a gaze as intent as it is kind. Ms. Texas Leather is not a beauty contest, but it’s hard to imagine her looks didn’t help her case.
Evans has been a member of the leather community since 1996, when her best friend introduced her to the scene at a party.
“I was introduced to good people and taken by the hand because of connections. It’s a huge networking system,” she says. “No matter where you travel, you have a place to walk into and fit in, and whatever turns you on is all right. I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s like you just know something you just belong with.”
Still, her entry last week marked her first leather competition — surprising, considering how she lights up when she talks about leather:
“I love the way it looks. I love the way it smells. I love the way people dress in it. It’s not for everyone and I get that. But I think that if people were introduced to it in a proper way, it would be hard to walk away from. It’s exciting.”
Her love of leather is in no way hampered by the fact that many see the scene as the domain of gay men. “The leather scene is dominated by men,” she acknowledges. “It was started by men. Women were there, but it was a separate entity. Throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, it started to take off and the feminist movement was really intertwined in it.”
Despite its male roots, Evans says she doesn’t feel any disrespect from her brothers in leather. “I don’t think there’s a problem for women in the community. Men appreciate having their own space just like I appreciate having the women’s space. I’ve never had any trouble. I get along very well with the gay male community. I’ve never had anyone be negative in any way, which is one of the reasons I love the leather community so much. It’s really just a matter of visibility.”
It’s that very issue that helped Evans to win the title. “Visibility is part of my platform, for women in the community to be seen and heard,” she says. Evans also hopes to improve access to the community for those who are hearing impaired, an issue close to her own heart as her last partner was hearing impaired and her current partner, Lillith Grey, is a sign language interpreter and instructor, as well as Gulf Coast Leather Woman of the Year.
“When I announced I was running for this title, [Former IML champ] Jeffrey Payne said to me, ‘It’s going to be a title family now.’ Next I’m going for International Ms. Leather.”
Evans says prepping for the competition was no easy task, between writing a speech, preparing for the interview, researching the judges and preparing a fantasy scene (a four-minute-long performance). Of these, it was the interview, Evans says, that really had her nervous.
“What was so stressful was that they could ask anything — personal, professional, family, anything — like, ‘What does leather mean to you,’ or ‘How do you plan on raising money for the title [for travel]’ or ‘How will your students feel about this?’” She stops and smiles. “They would think it was cool.”
In her vanilla life, Evans is a chef instructor at a community college and a private chef for various events (including for Glory Hole, her partner’s fetish production company; see sidebar). When Evans goes off to her professional gigs, her Mohawk gets collapsed and her jewelry comes off as her chef’s coat goes on. “In my professional life, I try to be neutral,” she says, although some things, like her tattoos, she keeps on display “because they’re me.”
“Transitioning back and forth between the worlds really isn’t that hard. Like everyone else, you have a time and place for everything in your life. You always find a time and place for things that are important to you and I would never give up the leather community for anything in the world. It’s incredibly liberating to be with people who don’t care if you want to be pierced or don’t want to wear clothes or whatever.”
She laughs. “It’s all about pleasing yourself, realizing what you like and what you want and doing it … as long as it’s safe.”
It’s clear that the win means far more to Evans than just bragging rights.
“This title is a huge opportunity for women in the leather community here in Dallas and across the state. Part of my job as titleholder is to get people to come out. This title has the opportunity to really give the issues and the community the visibility it needs.”
Then she leans back, takes in the moment with a slow breath, and smiles. “It’s pretty cool.”
GET YOUR KINK ON
This weekend, it’s time to get kinky and retro.
Glory Hole is a not-for-profit fetish event production company (which also has a kink/fetish performance troupe, called the Gloryhole Girls), with beneficiaries like the John Thomas Gay and Lesbian Community Center and other LGBT and kink charities. It was founded in part by Lillith Grey, an artist, activist, burlesque dancer and college instructor in the sex-positive community (she’s also partner to reigning Ms. Texas Leather Synn Evans).
Friday is Glory Hole’s ’70s Porno Party. “It’s going to be phenomenal,” Grey says. “We have live music, The Foxxy Love Show, community vendors, a private portrait photographer, a voyeur room, a full dungeon, hot DJs, and a catered fondue bar, as well as a no-cash raffle.” (One donated non-perishable food item gets you one raffle ticket.)
The location is sent to members the day of the party, and the parties are BYOB with a very strict no-photos policy. Security and safety are paramount at these events. Costumes are highly encouraged. “RIsque is A-OK,” is Grey’s motto.
Because it’s a members-only event, you need to join in time for the party (no applications are accepted at the door — if you can even find the door). To register by 6: p.m. Friday, visit GirlsGoneGloryhole.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.
That’s just a fact. Because one really can’t go back form something like this. Suggesting gays be deported or arrested? Those aren’t in the realm of Freudian Slippage. By choosing to air these comments openly, Peter Sprigg revealed an ugly truth about the Family Research Council’s guiding mindset — one that, quite frankly, shocked even those of us who already knew how much FRC stood against us.
But of course Sprigg will never actually acknowledge these, the plainspoken comments that made a persecuted community’s jaws go from dropped to floor-scaping. Instead, he’ll continue to dance around it all, so that he can make himself and FRC look like the victimized voices of mere conservatism. And he’ll do so with the careless cooperation of the Christian Bible Network:
It’s simply maddening. If someone like Sprigg made these very same comments about any other population, this would be an international story. Especially when said person is regularly used by outlets like CNN as a counterpoint voice. The above two clips would not be bullet points in a story — they would be *THE* story. “Christian media pundit calls for criminalization of minority group,” scene at 11. We’ve seen that story play out with pundits who’ve dished out comparably minor infractions.
But for Peter “Teflon” Sprigg? Not only does he keep his job with the organization that many mainstream conservatives consider a top dog (all of the major GOP presidential candidates appear at FRC’s Values Voters Summit), but he even seems to have received a PROMOTION. We suddenly see Sprigg everywhere, discussing everything except his own brute comments. What the hell?!
Look, nobody is saying that conservatives of 2011 should be banned from debating policy. As long as LGBT rights are still a debate, it’s fine (even if annoying) to have a factual media discussion on the various topics at hand. Procedure, politics, partisan outlooks — these are acceptable topics. But there is a MAJOR difference between taking on the minutiae of a bill and casting out a whole group of rich, vibrant American citizens! We are more than confident in our side’s ability to win on the merits of any given LGBT debate, ultimately leading us to the day when any such debate will be seen as a non-starter. But until we get to that day, the media does not have to book supposed “experts” who’ve more than laid bear their true, frightening desires for millions of the world’s people.
Sorry, but our placement inside a remote island’s prison is not a point to which we can, will, or should “Agree to disagree”!
Didn't Ke$ha just do this day-glo make-up thing? In any case, this seems a video and track you'll either love or hate depending on your past relationship with dance music.
Writes Sparro: "I wanted to something purely artists before the album's release as a tribute to artists I loved arists like Masters at Work, Black Box, Maurice Fulton, and Todd Terry. The song is a tribute to the house music I grew up with. It's the first time I've released a single where I'm not the featured vocalist."