PHOTOS: John Grissom captures AWOL title

John Grissom, shown above, took home the title of AWOL Leatherman 2012 on Saturday night during AWOL III, Third Strike (A Weekend of Leather) at the Crowne Plaza Dallas.

The AWOL competition feeds Mr. Texas Leather.

The Leather Knights, who put on AWOL, also announced the dates for next year’s event, “AWOL IV – FLEET WEEK,” which will run Oct. 12 through 14, 2012.

This year’s AWOL benefited the SSC Fund, a nonprofit that raises funds to provide hearing aids and sign interpreters for hearing-impaired and/or deaf individuals.

For a slideshow of photos from Saturday’s AWOL Leatherman contest, go here.

—  John Wright

New site for LGBT deaf people in the works

It can be pretty difficult to find some place other than a bar to find and connect with other LGBT people, especially if you don’t live in a city big enough to have an organized LGBT community of some sort.

And it can be even more difficult for LGBT people with special circumstances — like being deaf.

Michael Bamford, founder of Frisky Factory LLC, said he learned that lesson after meeting Martin Richie, a fashion model from Austin who was on the Oxygen Channel reality show “The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency,” who talked about how his own community — the community of deaf LGBT people — was socially isolated.

So Bamfield has created FriskyHands.com, a website that “allows the gay deaf community (in all English-speaking countries) and their supporters to interact through a ‘Live Chat’ function, as well as e-mail,” according to a press release about the new site.

The statement says the site, intended to launch this spring, will soon add a video-conferencing function that “will allow the deaf and hearing populations to directly communicate without sign language, in English.” It will also include a search function that allows users to find men or women with common interests in a specific geographical area.”

I checked this morning and the site still has the “coming soon” announcement up, with a place for you to sign up to receive e-mail updates on its progress.

I don’t know exactly when Bamford will have the site up and running full blast, but I do know that if it’s done right, it could be a lifeline for people who have for too long been left lonely, isolated and, as Bamford said, left behind.

—  admin