Welcome to the Leather Bash Website!
We hope as you scroll through these pages that you will have a better understanding of who we are, as well as the exciting new upcoming events and past victories. You will find applications to the contest and as things progress news updates, a calander of events we will be at, and as the judges panels are selected we will post them.
We have been asked why we created a Transgender title? Who we are is a combination of choice and circumstance. One can choose to become their “authentic self,” who they believe they truly are “inside,” or one can choose to ignore it—or make a totally different choice. Who we are, how we live, how we look, and who we love are choices we all make. It is each person’s choice, transgender or cisgender, gay, straight, or bisexual to follow their own heart, as to who they are both to the outside world, and within themselves. Sometimes these choices are the same, sometimes they are not.
But when a 13-year old boy (one of my client’s children) says, “I want to become a woman because it's how I feel inside,” he has made a choice. That is very profound—and more common than I would have thought possible.
I have another client who has a little girl, and this child wants to be a boy so badly. To make matters worse, there’s the peer pressure and cruelty this child has to endure. I tried to help her by giving her a “unisex” hairstyle, not just because it’s what she wanted, and what her mother wanted, but also because just maybe she won’t get picked on as in school. It’s a painful reality, and one that no 9-year old should have to deal with.
I’ve sat on the floor with a 10-year-old boy, who me if I could help him style his wigs. “Will you teach me how to put make up on and help me be who I am?” he asked. I said, “I can teach you the outside, but I cannot teach you the inside. That's many years of hard work. Your mom and I will talk. I have friends that can help you both, but I need you to understand some thing, boundaries--like if you dress that way at school, you are going to get picked on, big-time.”
While I can’t specifically understand what these children are facing, I have a bit of insight, because I choose to allow myself to have insight, based on growing up gay in a small town. I had it rough—and because I had it rough, I choose to do what I can so others might have it a bit easier.
This same boy went to school with wigs and makeup in a backpack. He would go into the boy’s bathroom, put them on, and emerge as a girl. He now is in a mental hospital because he was attacked at school and out of fear, took a knife back to school.
I have dear friends that I have watched transition. I watched and listened to their inner pain and outward rejection. Two are now living as women, one is living as a man. The one thing they all have in common is that they are wonderful human beings whose eyes no longer reflect a deep inner pain. I don’t view those choices in terms of male or female, man or woman, I view their choices as being true to who they were, their authentic selves.
So understand that while I have lived as a gay man, I have lived with many transgender folks and their choices, and through their lives, I hope I’ve gained some insight and understanding—and I’ve gotten pissed off, too. When our own "GLBT representative" tells the legislature to remove “the transgender part” of “GLBT bills” that went through Georgia house, I did not get on line and pout about it, instead I wrote my representative, asking that “transgender” be put back in the bills.
And when the MTF cop was going to be fired from the city of Atlanta police force, I protested the city’s actions. And you know what, she's still is working the beat. Makes me proud to see some movement in the minds of people.
The above are just some of the reasons why I choose to produce an international transgender leather contest—to extend to all trangender individuals presence and prominence within “the title holder’s community.” Why? Because many people said they believed it was needed. Because I believe it’s needed—and I decided to do it, and for no other reason but to remind others that no matter now lonely the road, none of us walk it alone. None of us should forget that many walked before us paving the way so that our journey might be easier, and in our footsteps, others will follow and hopefully their journey will be easier because of what we did.
Am I going to do it right the first time? Probably not. Am I going to make mistakes? I hope so, because that’s how we learn. Are the comments and criticisms I see here being taken into consideration and being discussed? Damned straight, (pardon the expression), Skippy!
Of course everyone’s free to express their opinions, and if you choose to criticize a contest that’s aimed at doing nothing more than helping to foster understanding and tolerance of transgender folks within the Leather community, that’s your choice. However, when you attempt to discredit judges whose lives you may truly know nothing, then to some extent you’re showing your ignorance and intolerance by making the assumption that one has to be transgender to understand transgender. Really? The fact that these people have volunteered to be part of this contest should at least be some indication of their understanding and willingness to help make a difference for transgender individuals and the Leather community.
Yes, Tyler’s win at IML caused a great shakeup in the Leather world, but from where I sit, there’s a whole lot of shakin' yet to go on. So please set aside you misunderstandings or misconceptions and ask questions that we can all learn from. Better yet, I invite you all to attend, volunteer, or even stand up on stage and openly voice your opinions about who you are and show us why you should be the spokesperson for the transgender community, and at the same time, the liaison for it.
We are excited that you are joining us in the exciting adventure.