The leather life

New Texas Leather titleholders plan a year of raising visibility, mentoring others and giving back to the community


Ms. Texas Leather Mera Tucker, left, and Mr. Texas Leather Eddie Sherbert.
(Photo courtesy Texas Leather Productions)

Tammye Nash  |  Managing Editor

Mera Tucker has been an out, proud leather woman for many years. Eddie Sherbert, although an out, proud gay man many years, has only been in the leather community for the last couple of years. Now the two of them are teaming up to represent the Dallas/Fort Worth leather community and spread their message of love and support.

Tucker and Sherbert won the titles of Ms. Texas Leather and Mr. Texas Leather on Saturday, Jan. 30, at Dallas Eagle. It was the fifth annual contest for the women, and the 20th annual content for the men, and both contests are presented by Texas Leather Productions, owned by Jeffrey Payne, and by Dallas Eagle.

This is not the first leather title for either Tucker or Sherbert. Tucker won the Ms. South Plains Leather regional contest in 2004, just before moving from Oklahoma to D-FW. Sherbert earned his first leather sash last fall when he won the title Mr. Hidden Door, the first leather contest he entered.

The Hidden Door win qualified Sherbert to compete in the International Mr. Leather contest slated for Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago this year. By winning the Texas Leather title, Sherbert is qualified to compete in IML in 2017, too.

The Ms. Texas Leather title qualifies Tucker to compete in the 2017 International Ms. Leather Contest held each spring in San Jose and in the American Leatherwoman contest in Chicago in October.

It’s the timing of the Texas Leather contest that means the 2016 winners are qualified to compete for the 2017 international titles, Tucker explained. By the time the Texas Leather contest is held, the slate of contestants for IML and IMsL are already set for that year.

But the Texas Leather titles for both Tucker and Sherbert are about much more than just getting to wear a studded leather sash and travel to other competitions. Both said they want to use their visibility first and foremost to help their communities — the leather community, the larger LGBT community, and the DFW community in general.

Mera Tucker
Tucker and her wife, Jimmie, have long been active in the DFW leather community. Mera Tucker, especially, is famous for her homemade cookies that she donates to just about every fundraising effort in town.

“In the last 12 years, I have donated enough cookies to sink a battleship, and we have raised thousands of dollars with those cookies,” she laughed. Tucker said she started the bake sale held each year during Texas Bear Round-Up, and she and Jimmie host a pool party each year at their home, lovingly dubbed

The Tucker Inn, for all the women attending the annual Leather Sir/Boy contest.

She said she and Jimmie “have both been raising money for this community for a long time. That’s my passion. Ok, actually, cookies are my passion. But I can use the cookies to raise money.”

Tucker, who has been involved in organizing the Ms. Texas Leather contest since it started five years ago, thought her days as a leather contestant were long past. But, she said, “the main thing this contest has always needed is contestants.” So as the deadline to register approached and she realized only one woman had signed up to compete, “I knew it was time to put up or shut up. So I signed up to compete.”

A third woman also registered, giving the fifth annual Ms. Texas Leather the most contestants so far.

While she wasn’t looking for the title, Tucker said that now that she has it, she intends to put it to good use.

“I want to work with the other women in this community to make sure we are visible,” she said. “I want the other women out there, especially the young women, who are looking for the leather community to know that we are here. I want them to know they have someone to go to, someone to help show them the way.”

And she doesn’t plan to just be out and visible in the leather community, or even just in the LGBT community.  “I have been out at work as a lesbian and as a leather lesbian since day one,” she said, noting that she works for Neiman Marcus as office manager in the facilities department.

“I told my boss that if I won, I’d be at work Monday, but if I lost, I’d probably spend the week laying in bed crying,” she said. “I won. And I wore my [black, white and red leather studded] sash to work on Monday.”

Eddie Sherbert
Although he has only gotten involved in the leather community over the past two years or so, Sherbert said he has been fascinated by leather since he was young. But it wasn’t until he went to the International Mr. Leather contest last year in May that he decided he want to compete for a leather title.

“When that curtain went up and I saw those 52 men standing on that stage, waving — goosebumps just washed over my whole body. I knew right then I wanted to do that. I wanted to be on that stage.”

So far, Sherbert is two for two, having won both contests he has entered. He said he wants to use the platform those titles give him to, like Tucker, be a mentor and an example to others in his community, and for those just finding their way into the world of leather.

“I would really like to be able to establish a mentoring program. We have people who are coming out now in their teens, and we still have people in their 30s and 40s and 50s and beyond who are just coming out,” Sherbert said. “Sometimes they need some with some real-life experiences to be there for them, to basically hold their hand and talk them through whatever they are dealing with.

“The mission of the Texas Leather contest is sharing, educating about and honoring the leather community and its history,” he added. “I plan to spend the next year promoting that mission. We need to work to move forward, always, but I want people to remember that we also need to respect where we’ve been.”

Sherbert is a flight attendant for American Airlines, working on international flights. While he isn’t likely to get to wear his Texas Leather sash to work the way Tucker did, his job does give him the chance to travel, around the states and abroad. And as he travels, Sherbert said, he gets the chance to learn about the leather communities in other cities and countries, and to tell them about the DFW community.

He and Tucker agreed that, at the core of things, their job as Texas Leather titleholders is to just “be as visible as possible.”

Tucker added, “We’ll just keep trying whatever works to be visible, to help our community. For both of us, mentoring others and giving back to our community is everything. If you aren’t doing something to give back, then you’re just taking up space.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2016.

—  Tammye Nash

Scene • 02.05.16

Making the SCENE the week of Feb. 5–11:

• Alexandre’s: Girls Night Out with Peggy Honea on Friday. Mi Diva Loca on Saturday. Karaoke with Wayne Smith on Sunday.

• BJ’s NXS!: Fat Tuesday Party with DJ T. Diamonds at 9 p.m. with 30 hot dancers to entertain on Tuesday.

• Brick/Joe’s: Win Dubal D’s Gift Bag promoting her new single release on Saturday. Sally Duvall benefit show hosted by Kennedy Davenport and Ida Mae Watergate at 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

• Cedar Springs Tap House: Super Bowl watch party. Reserve your table now.

• Changes: Imperial Court candidate presentation at 9-10:30 p.m. on Saturday. Cowtown Leathermen meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday. Imperial Court candidate show at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

• Club Reflection: Imperial Court candidate presentation at 9-10:30 p.m. on Saturday. Texas Gay Rodeo Association meeting at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Cowtown Leathermen cookout at 4 p.m. on Sunday. TGRA show at 7 p.m. on Sunday. TGRA-Cowtown Leathermen game night from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday.

• Dallas Eagle: United Court of the Lone Star Empire show at 8 p.m. on Friday. Leather Knights annual Buy Daddy’s Box fundraiser at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Dallas Bears club night on Saturday. Dallas Girls of Leather monthly meeting at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Trivia Night with Mama Payne at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

• Hidden Door: Firedancers Dallas presents 2016 Soup’r Bowl Cook-off — basically anything you can serve from a crock pot and eat with a spoon — from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday.

• JR.’s Bar & Grill: Mardi Gras Carnivale on Saturday.

• Pekers: Super Bowl watch party on Sunday.

• Round-Up Saloon: Super Bowl fun with free food, the biggest screen on the block and prizes each quarter at 5 p.m. followed by Miss Gay South Central States USofA with more than $5,000 in prizes at 11 p.m. on Sunday.

• S4: Mardi Gras Carnivale with performances by Trixie Mattel and Jessica Sutta on Saturday.

• Sue Ellen’s: Cherry Bomb on Friday. Pink tribute band Dirty Little Freaks on Saturday. Carnivale celebration on Saturday. Kathy and Bella at 3 p.m. on Sunday before the Super Bowl watch party.

• TMC: The Mining Company: Mardi Gras Carnivale on Saturday. Fat Tuesday crawfish boil at 8 p.m. Terry Bucher presents Rent-a-Cowboy with all your favorite Round-Up dancers benefiting R.E.B.A. at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

• Urban Cowboy Saloon: Imperial Court candidate presentation at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

• Woody’s Sports & Video Bar: Super Bowl in HD with stadium buffet and a game-related fundraiser on Sunday. Free beads and show tunes Fat Tuesday at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

To view more Scene photos, go to Scene Photographers: Winston Lackey and Chad Mantooth.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Frazier to receive Leather Leadership Award at Creating Change

Mark Frazier Creating Change award

Dallasite Mark Frazier, longtime leather community activist and co-owner of Dallas Eagle, will receive the Leather Leadership Award during the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change beginning tomorrow in Denver, Colo.

Conference organizers said Frazier is being recognized because he “helped build Dallas’s leather community and is a passionate educator and leader. He’s helped organize fundraising events by the leather community to benefit several charities, and has served on numerous organizational boards, including being the former president of the National Leather Association. He’s been the recipient of several other awards for his dedication to the community and is always humbled by them.”

Read about other Creating Change award recipients here.

—  Tammye Nash

Chris Miklos to be remembered at Dallas Eagle Friday night


Chris Miklos

Chris Miklos, the popular bear who died suddenly in his sleep this week at age 40, will be remembered by his friends Friday night with a celebration at the Dallas Eagle. “Join us for a night of celebrating and dancing, the way Chris would have wanted us to,” the invitation reads. Folks will gather to remember Chris starting at 11 p.m.

You can read the invite and spread the word here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

And your new leather leaders are …

Summer Banks and Jim Benton

Summer Banks and Jim Benton

On Saturday at the Dallas Eagle, Mr. and Ms. Texas Leather contests were held, and your 2014 Ms. Texas Leather is Dallas’ Summer Banks, and 2014 Mr. Texas Leather is Houston’s Jim Benton. Banks scored the first time out in running for a title, and Benton is the 2013-14 Mr. Prime Choice. Both will compete in the spring for the respective national titles. Banks will head to San Francisco in April for the International Ms. Leather contest, and Benton to Chicago over Memorial Day for International Mr. Leather. Congrats to both!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas LGBT community continues to respond to food pantry shortage

Food Pantry

Donations provided some variety at the Resource Center food pantry this week, but the stock on shelves remains low.

Throughout the week, LGBT organizations have jumped to the rescue of the Resource Center food pantry, providing some variety, but the stock remains low. The pantry distributes more than seven tons of food a week.

North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tony Vedda sent a letter to more than 300 member businesses. He reminded them of why the pantry came into existence.

“The gay & lesbian community (as it was called at the time) took care of its own; no one else would,” he wrote. “Making sure that people with HIV/AIDS had food to eat was essential to their survival.”

He asked each business to make a $25 donation, which would total $7,500 in donations for food from the chamber.

Anyone who brings five cans to Fashionista GayBingo at S4 this weekend will be entered into a drawing for a variety of prizes including tickets to future GayBingo and GayBingo North.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas passed a hat at their meeting on Tuesday and sent Resource Center a check for $500. Log Cabin Republicans meets at Acme Social Club, 4900 McKinney at 6:30 tonight and will also be collecting.

Several of the bars are collection points for food including Dallas Eagle, JR.’s Bar & Grill and the Round-Up Saloon.

Dallas Voice is doing its own food drive and is a collection point for canned goods. Anyone who lives or works in the area is welcome to drop off canned food at the office during business hours. Items may be dropped at Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis St., Third Floor off Mon.–Fri. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

—  David Taffet

Eagle doorman Brian Mooney dies

BrianMooneyA few months ago, I wrote some posts about Brian Mooney, who worked at the Dallas Eagle and was suffering from colon cancer. A few days ago, he was transferred to Hospice care. I heard within the hour that he has died. Here’s the message:

Dear Eagle family and friends: It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that our beloved doorman Brian Mooney left this life a short while ago. We all hoped for a miracle that he would beat his colon cancer, but sadly it was not meant to be. He was a valued employee of the Dallas Eagle and a dear friend to a lot of our staff and customers. Our front door will not be the same without him. As much as it pains us to let him go, he is now free of the great pain that these last few months had brought him. As soon as we know more about funeral arrangements we will pass the information on to all of you. The Eagle will be sending flowers once more details are known. We can talk more this weekend about doing some kind of memorial or celebration of his life once we know what his friends and family have planned.

Brian may be gone, but he will always be part of the Eagle family. Every time we walk in the bathroom or past the jail bars display in the front of the bar we will pass Brian’s artwork. It is a testament to the wonderfully funny and creative man that he was. Our condolences go out to his family and his partner, may they find peace in knowing Brian is in a better place.

Adam Lynn, Manager, Dallas Eagle

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Brian Mooney raises nearly $10K more toward medical bills

Mooney BBQ

Last week I wrote about a fundraising effort for Brian Mooney, who worked at the Dallas Eagle and is now fighting colon cancer and needed $20,000 for medical bills. There was an online way to give, and a barbecue on Sunday to help him out.

MooneyWell, the gay community knows how to take care of its own. Since Wednesday, the online giving has grown more than $4,000 (from just under $6,000 to now more than $10,200). Even better, the cookout at the Eagle yesterday was a smash. Benefit organizer Charlie McDonald tells me management at the bar brought in about $5,000 for Brian (pictured seated with the face mask). That puts him within arm’s reach of meeting his goal. Considering it was on Mother’s Day, you could hardly have expected more.

You can still give online, though. Let’s do what we can to support someone in need.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Bear bar worker Brian Mooney needs your help to fight colon cancer


Brian Mooney

One of the best things about my job is all the people I meet. But when you do it long enough, one of the worst things is seeing tragedy befall them.

That’s how I feel about Brian Mooney, whom I met about three years ago when he was our poster-boy for the 2010 Texas Bear Round-Up. I interviewed and did a photoshoot with Brian, and was immediately drawn to his personality and charisma.

Brian doesn’t look so good right now. He’s “40 and would like to see 41,” which is in danger due to his diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer, the result of something called Lynch syndrome. The mischievous, friendly fellow needs $20,000 because he doesn’t have health insurance. It really is needed to save his life. (He’s raised about $6,000 so far.)

You may already know Brian from his job at Dallas Eagle, where he often would smile at you behind a thick beard while sporting a sexy singlet. We all wanna see this Navy veteran back there again, doing his thing. And with BearDance coming up this weekend, we’re thinking about him especially.

Click here to make a donation until May 31. Or you can come out the the Dallas Eagle on Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. and support the barbecue and fundraiser sponsored by Brian’s friends to help him out. Do what you can.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

More on LGBT holiday fundraisers

Tavern Guild members put together and distributed gift baskets for clients of area AIDS service providers today

With so many holiday charity fundraising activities going on in the LGBT community this week, there wasn’t room to talk about all of them in Friday’s print edtiion. Here’s a little more about some of the projects and how to give:

—  David Taffet