ILSb board unanimously rescinds trans exclusion in contest participation

Historic-ILSb-MedalAfter heated debate over the last week, the International Leather SIR/boy and International Community Bootblack board of directors announced Friday it would undo the recent rule change that prevented transgender men from competing in the ILSb competition.

The board met in a closed meeting Thursday to discuss the changes announced last week, including the trans exclusion, appointed titleholders not being able to compete and regional producer contracts not being renewed.

The letter released Friday, below, addresses the changes in detail and encourages the leather community to come together for continued understanding and collaboration moving forward.

Historically, the ILSb competition was for gay men and the board felt the need to revert back to that tradition based on opinions to “reclaim our gay identity, our gay events, our gay clubs and our gay pride and how we had become too inclusive in our quest to be politically correct.”

However, “never, never, never was any discussion to purposefully exclude any segment of our community to be perceived as negative, bigoted it harmful,” the letter states in part.

The change was overturned by unanimous vote Thursday night, allowing anyone who identifies as male to compete.

“As it has been stated in the contracts since 2007, contestants for the International LeatehrSIR and International Leatherboy titles “must identify as gay males and be of same-sex orientation,” the letter states.

The board also announced that it will create a history program coordinator to ensure the history in the community is accurate and documented, as much of the tradition was passed down orally. It will also implement an advisory council of community members to gain input. ILSb-ICBB founder Mike Zuhl will serve on the council.

Read the full letter below.

—  Anna Waugh

Jack Duke wins International Leather Sir

When someone comes in the top 3 at a competition like International Mr. Leather, they usually hang up their competition jockstrap and become a senior statesman of the leather community. For a few years, Jack Duke did just that — judging other leatherman competitions, attending ex officio, etc.

But it turns out Duke wasn’t quite done with competing.

This weekend, Duke took first place in the International Leather Sir/boy competition in San Francisco.

It’s a wonderful coup for the Dallas-based pastry chef, following his third-place finish at IML in 2010, where he competed as Mr. Texas Leather.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones