Sharrin and Pat told me I only have 8-12 minutes, so I’m going to try to use this time as effectively as possible. I put the text of my speech into the “Read-O-Meter,” and have verified that it’s about 13 minutes… I’m sorry Sharrin. I owe you a minute. That means i’m going to be skipping a lot of the normal step down platitudes and thank yous. I’ll just say a couple of things of that nature. Please refer to my step down letter in the program for more.
If I leave your name out, it’s nothing personal. Thank you to everybody who held space for me this year. Who welcomed me into your communities and who invited me to participate in your local community. It truly was an honor.
I couldn’t have done this year without a few people. Micky Rebel. Tyesha Best. Monica Glass. Ralph Bruneau. Douglas. David and Brynn. The various and numerous people who took care of my puppy dog so I could be at events. Thank you to all of the artists who donated to my art auction to benefit trans lifeline.
Sharrin and Pat. I said in my letter that none of this would be possible without you. And I mean that. Thank you for all the love and support that you give our community and our titleholders. International Ms Leather and International Ms Bootblack are two of the hardest contests to run for, but that’s because they truly are world class in how they are produced and conducted.
Jimmy. I feel lucky to have gotten you. Not only are you drop dead gorgeous you really do have a heart of gold. Not every IML has been as kind to his Bootblacks and to to his IMsL. But you and Ralph have set a new standard for how IMLs should be expected to treat both their counterparts. So thank you. I have felt valued and loved by you this year.
These next two are going to be really hard. Some of you heard last night, but Lucky left yesterday afternoon to go back to Portland to be with his family. The Rebels have been such a support to me this year. So If I struggle to get through this, I’m sorry.
Micky Rebel, You helped me win this title. I leaned on you hard not only during my run for International Ms Bootblack but also for Southwest Bootblack. You’re a superhero to be honest. I don’t know how you get everything done for your family but also your job, and your leather commitments. For me personally you were a calming presence. You helped calm my anxieties. And I cannot thank you enough.
Lucky Rebel. You’ve become a brother to me this year. I don’t think I understood how much we really are the same person before this year started. It’s been my privilege to get to know you this year. I know this has been an incredibly difficult year for your family with the health of your mother, and I cannot even comprehend the strength and resilience you have showed being there for both your family and our community. And God damn. That lapdance James Lee gave, it made me really really wish I was on photo team this year so I could have taken some photos.
When you had to leave yesterday it broke my heart. Nobody wants to see their friends in pain. Do not even worry about missing the rest of this weekend. You are exactly where you need to be. I wouldn’t want you to be anywhere but with your family. Thank you for letting us take care of you.
Girl Ang, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year. You’ve been incredible from the start. Thank you for starting this journey with an open mind. I’m so glad we had the ability to have some focused time together at the start of our year. Not many title couples get that opportunity, and I felt so fortunate to share that that time with you. Thank you for having my back. I can’t wait to celebrate this anniversary with you every year. That hug in the parking lot yesterday is seared into my head. It was exactly what I needed.
And lastly Jesbian. It’s really no exaggeration to say I couldn’t have done this without you. This year has been incredibly taxing on my physical health and you were my advocate. My confidant. My lover. My service girl. And most importantly, my best friend. I don’t know if you realized where we were headed when you offered your service to me three years ago. I know there have been some struggles along the way, but I couldn’t be happier to have you by my side as this chapter of my life comes to a close. You’ve been the best service girl I could have ever hoped for. I know you’re hard on yourself often. But your service has been impeccable. Truely. I love you.
Now. With that, Let’s get to it.
I want to start with a disclaimer.. I don’t mean to lecture you. But you might feel that’s what this is. If what I’m about to say makes you feel uncomfortable, good! Let’s sit in that discomfort together. Many members of our community are made to feel uncomfortable at every event they go to.
Our deaf community is made to feel uncomfortable when there are no competent ASL services available for them. People with physical disabilities are made to feel uncomfortable when there are no accommodations. Our POC siblings are made to feel uncomfortable when they don’t feel represented, because as my brother Lucky says, Representation Matters. And trans folk are made to feel uncomfortable when we still have to fight for our basic right to be seen and called by the names and pronouns we have chosen. So for just these 13 minutes I hope you join us in that discomfort.
When I first joined the community I looked around and didn’t really see many people who looked like me. I felt alone. I spoke in my run speech about how I almost left the community after experiencing transmysogny and transphobia. Seeing slave Tabitha on this stage in 2015, helped me feel like there was a place for me here. But one trans women holding an international title does not change make. Two trans women holding an international title does not change make. That would be too easy.
That’s not to say that trans folk haven’t made a ton of progress in both this country and our community. We have.
Trump hasn’t been able to rollback all of the protections and rights established by Obama despite a growing number of high profile reversals. I have a passport in my correct name and gender marker. California and a few other states have added non binary designations to their driving licences. But there is still work to be done.
As for our community, we have an increasing number of gender specific parties and organizations with trans inclusive gender policies. Many events ask for your pronouns on your badges. And we’ve been in the practice of asking for preferred names for years… You can put whatever name you want on your badge at most leather events.
There’s been a lot of progress, that is undeniable.
But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still hard to exist as a trans person both in this world and in this community. I would be lying I said that I didn’t experience any transmysogny or aggressive behavior because of both the uniqueness of my experiences and my unwillingness to be quiet and passive about it. So often, once minorities gain any acceptance they are expected to be grateful just to be included at all.
I won’t get into too many of the details of how and why, except one small story. At an event in Dallas a male former International Titleholder laid his arm on me, forcibly pulled me away from a group of my friends to verbally accost me for almost 10 minutes. All because I wouldn’t accept his assertion that trans people needed to “wait their turn” for rights and acceptance and should be more thankful for any rights we have at all. My partner had to come extricate me by saying I had someplace I needed to be. It ruined my trip that weekend.
I’m ok. I’ve learned over the years how to grow a thick skin, and how to self soothe. Being a visible out trans woman for over 8 years will do that to you. If I let every little thing get to me, it would be impossible to continue live in this world. Trans women are some of the most resilient people I know. That’s why raised money for TransLifeline this year. But some things still get to you.
I had a response for him. And I want to share it with you and take this moment to invoke my ancestors: Women like Sylvia Rivera, Martha P. Johnson, and Miss Major. Trans people have BEEN waiting just as long as the rest of the community. We were there at Stonewall. We were there at the Compton Cafeteria Riot before that, and we are still here, working and toiling for ALL of our liberation.
I want to take a little bit of time to talk about names and pronouns. I already mentioned it, but I want to come back to it because it’s one of the easiest and most basic ways you can make a trans person feel seen, heard, and valued.
I still hear a lot complaints about how hard it is to remember people’s name and pronouns. I still hear a lot of comments about “they/them” pronouns just not being grammatically correct. I think Shakespeare might have something to say about that.
Just last month I heard somebody at a leather event talking about how much energy it takes to use names and pronouns for quote “all the different genders.” Many times misgendering is an honest mistake. Yes mistakes will happen, and most trans people I know are incredibly understanding. The best thing you can do is apologize, not make a big deal about it, and move forward doing better the next time. (The recipe really is that simple.)
But sometimes it’s not just a mistake. I know for a fact that there are members of this community who intentionally misgender me behind my back despite knowing my identity and my pronouns. And that is just cruel. And shame on them.
Let’s all be honest for just a moment, It’s not that hard to remember somebody’s name and pronouns. Let’s talk about some things that ARE hard.
Taking 45 minutes of single tail from a sadist until your back is bloody. That’s hard. And yet I’ve seen the marks on your backs.
Playing with fire and engaging is the psychological BDSM that is D/s and M/s relationships. That’s hard. And if your dynamics include polyamory, that shit is complicated. And yet many of my community have been in loving long term consensual power dynamic relationships for over 10 or 20 years.
Taking hooks and suspending yourself by your own skin is hard. Walking on fire is hard. And yet Edgewalkers leads rituals to help you though those incredibly difficult feats multiple times a year. I myself took hooks in the Dance of Souls after winning Southwest bootblack.
Having explicit conversations about consent and putting your wants and desires out there is hard. It’s scary to be that vulnerable. And yet, there is beautiful, sexy, pickup play happening between virtual strangers probably right this instant in the dungeon as I deliver this speech.
Training your asshole to accept a human fist. That’s hard. And yet Kenn Kennedy proves every day that that difficult things are possible.
We’re a community that prides itself on doing difficult things every day. And it’s not like calling people by their names is something we are unpracticed at. We’re exist in a community where we call people “Master John Doe” and “Mistress Jane Doe.” We understand that people go by “scene names” to protect their livelihood and families. If we run into somebody in the community we know from Vanilla spaces we are careful to find out what they go by here. And if we mess it up, we quickly apologize and move forward not making that mistake again.
I would posit tonight that if we do that, I believe that if we can do that for our transgender and non binary siblings. Because they are here. They are a part of this community too. Trans folks and non binary folks are leather folks.
I spoke earlier about how when I joined the community I didn’t really see representation that looked like me. Before Tabitha won the title of International Ms Bootblack in 2015 I knew of one other out transgender titleholder: Tyler McCormick. Who I had the pleasure of meeting this year not only at IML but at Iowa Leather Weekend.
Over the past number of years I’ve seen that begin to change. I won my Southwest Bootblack title in January of 2017. Alexandra Gray became Ms Iowa Leather in 2017. Mikayla became Ms Minnesota Leather Pride in 2017. Kai Anderson made the top 20 at IML as the Leatherman of Color 2017. Rylee Spire was Mr Texas Leather in 2017. Scarlett came out on this stage last year. Things were changing, and I could feel it.
Just this year, there’s a new club. some of you might have heard about it. They’re called the Twin City Sirens, and to my knowledge they are the first Leather club exclusively for transgender women and trans feminine individuals. And that’s incredible.
To close tonight I want to read a list of current out transgender and non binary leather titleholders I’ve compiled. I pulled together this list in about 36 hours. I’m sure I’m missing people, and I’m sorry for that. As I read these names, I’d like to ask that you hold your applause to the end. Once I finish we can give every one of these individuals a big round of applause. Everyone of these individuals identifies as either transgender or non binary in some way. All of these titleholders are current titleholders as of today.
Jack Thompson, Leatherman of Color 2019
Elliot Musgrave Mr LA Leather 2019
Bobbee Trans Mooremon Ms SF Leather 2019
Serafine Sawyer Ms SD Leather 2019
Mx Rusty Rust Mx West Coast Olympus Leather 2018
Mx Whisky Ginger. Mx Wild West Olympus Leather 2018
Raven Darknights, International Mx Olympus Leather 2018
Alexander Williams San Diego Bootblack 2019
Tony Bark, Los Angeles Puppy 2018.
Kasia Posey, Inland Leather Ambassador 2018
Jason Boyask. Mr Philly Leather 2019.
Seanathan Rebel. Oregon State Bootblack 2018
PappaBearNick. Mr Oregon State Leather 2018
Carlyle Bernard. Intergalactic Powerbottom 2018
Pup Skunk. Mid Atlantic Puppy 2018
Ben Workman, Mr International Olympus Leather 2018
Kayden. Emperor 43, Salt Lake City.
boi Dani, SW Community Bootblack 2018
Adventure Pup, Oregon State Puppy 2018
Nastja Hunkar, Mx Cuir Montreal 2018
Ophidius Hunkaar, Mr Montreal Leather 2018
Sir Bradford, Mr. SouthEast LeatherFest 2018
Jody. Ms Adelaide Leather 2018
Cinder WA State Bootblack 2019
Baron Olamm, Ohio Puppy 2019
Alex Sommer, Mr Australian Bootblack 2019
Jinx Johnson - Ms Iowa Leather 2019
Crescendo Onyx. Mr Illinois Leather Bear 2018
Karlheinz, European Bootblack 2019
Blue, Mx Virgina Leather, 2019
Bama Howls Illinois Puppy 2019
Pike, Mr Dallas Eagle 2019
And for just a few more minutes Teagan, International Ms Bootblack 2018
That’s 32 current titleholders in the leather and gay community. One of the greatest things this year was getting to be present to see a lot of those Titleholders be win their respective titles.
I wish Sailor and Logan could have been here to see this. I bring them up because they too were a part of this change. Sailor did tireless work educating our community about the trans experience. And while I didn’t know Logan well, it’s is so clear from talking with you that impact that Logan made here.
It has been truly my honor to hold this title for the past year. To bear witness to the growth of the trans community inside our leather community. To join the ranks of so many bootblacks I admire both in skill but as people.
This is the end of a chapter for me. While I know I will continue to be involved, the last five years of my life were consumed by running for this title. Holding this title was always the goal for me. For somebody who is only 30 years old that means 1/6th of my life has been spent learning to Bootblack, holding lower titles and then running for and holding this title.
This organization is a special place. The IMsLBB organization is what kept me in leather.
I believe in the leather community. I believe in our title system. I believe in this organization. I believe in the power of what can be accomplished simply by being yourself.
Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for believing in me. Good Night.
IMsL Girl Ang
My step down speech...
This year I have spent 6 months in Australia and 6 months in the United States, I have travelled over 100,000 miles, that’s 160,934.4 kilometers or more than 4 full loops around the world. I connected with thousands of people, visited over 100 cities and towns and my sense of family grew exponentially. There have been some very difficult moments this year, some of them because of the fact that I’m an international, holding an international title… I have missed funerals of loved ones because I’ve been in a different country and travelling this much costs more money than you can imagine. No matter how far I stretched myself - some people said I didn’t do enough.
I am proud of what I have done this year, I have done my best.
This year I filled my cup with conversations and people. Tonight I will share with you a few of those stories.
My home community in Australia:
My pride. This year four cities that have a substantial and active Leather community achieved some pretty incredible firsts!
In NSW, the Sydney Harbour City Bears were the first Australian community to reach out and invite me to be involved in a contest, they took care of me and promoted the fact that a woman was a part of their panel.
In Qld, the male only Brisbane Leather club Boot Co. invited me to judge, Co-MC, and be present at their male only event in their male only venue. They hosted me and included me - a woman, for the very first time. This year they have introduced a gender inclusive title.
In South Australia for the last few years, Adelaide has been building a Leather community from scratch, it is inclusive. Last year they began a women’s title. There has not been a gender inclusive title or womens title in Australia for 3 years.
In Victoria, my home community in Melbourne has been working with me to increase the visibility of Leather women. For the first time ever The Laird Hotel allowed a female to have an event in their male only venue.
Without the support of some of my incredible Aussie brothers in these cities, the visibility of women in the Australian Leather community would have been drastically reduced.
My Sashwife and how we first connected:
My anticipation had been building as I relaxed nearby observing Teagan bootblacking while I smoked a cigar at the SF Eagle.
One particular skill I observed was the natural, graceful and subtle shift of energy she had in response to each new person. An instinctual reading that seemed to happen without many words exchanged and in a matter of just a few seconds. Finally it was my turn, she wanted to love on my boots and sash. My desire to momentarily be the focus of her powerful attention was real.
She soaped her brush and worked circles of cleansing strokes over my oil tan harness boots. She wiped my boots clean, massaging my tired feet beneath the leather. She chose ob’s oil to return the moisture, crouching down low to place her lips and chin on the toe of my boot adding to the physical and visual stimulation of her touch. She glanced up at my face often, connecting and assessing. Her smile was cheeky and knowing. I was sinking further and further into the space she created for us, the busy bar full of energies and agendas was somewhere beyond our perception.
Moving further up into my personal space her hands again wielding the brush, she soaped my sash. Her leather kilt askew, she straddled my knee, the pulse and heat of her cunt commanding the attention of my own. The quiet swoosh of bubbly circles was enhanced by the nearness of the contact and physical wall her body created between the rest of the world and us. Her fingers collected dabs of rebel rubs and her hands followed the curves of the sash over my breasts and belly as she conditioned the leather. Her neck positioned an inch from my mouth, offering warmth and vulnerability for me to dine on.
Once done I reluctantly peeled my body from her chair, my leather infused with her protection and love, my own cunt wet and hungry for more. She had layered tangible energy deeply into the leather, this energy would continue with me during times when we would be apart.
Have you met my hubby, James Lee?
Coasting in to Louisville, Kentucky, I had organized with the Golden Boy (that’s Jimmy’s boy, Finn, if you haven’t met him try to... He is a divine creature also!) so, I had organised with the Golden Boy to surprise Jimmy at his workplace where he trains a bunch of amazing youth how to flip, jump, tumble and do it all with a ridiculous amount of confidence and a smile on their face the whole time!
Briar, Boi Anne and myself arrive and meet up with Golden Boy, everyone is super excited!!
We sneak into the dance studio, peak around the corner and catch Jimmy’s eye. The smile that covered his face was full of disbelief and happiness. I ran up to him and jumped into his arms, he pulled me up into the biggest hug, spun around with me and set me back down. Over the next couple of hours we hung out with Jimmy and his kids, they threw me in the air, we ran and jumped on the mats, and tried to flip and twist. It was soooo much fun!!
Jimmy is the kind of guy that will share his stories with honesty, his smile is genuine, when he gives you his time he is present and authentic, and he has endless arms that wrap you tight when he hugs you. Jimmy makes everyone feel welcome in his space, his tangible excitement at life in general is infectious and his warm heart shines loudly.
Have you met my hubby James Lee? If you have the chance to, do it. He is a beautiful man.
Boi and I are on our way to Tri-State in the RV. I had agreed to do a lip sync battle at the request of one of the producers. So Boi and I have about 4 hours before we arrive and I have not even listened to the song let alone watched the video to see what its about. I find the song on YouTube and play it through the RV speakers, while I’m studying the lyrics, Boi is being very helpful and helping me learn it by listening, repeatedly. We are catching on to the easy bits and slurring our way through the fast bits, when I decide I need to learn to twerk. See the thing is they were twerking on the video on YouTube, and I wanted my performance to be the very best legit effort I could! So I googled, how do you twerk? Guess what? YouTube has a video for that! It’s called twerking for beginners. In the back of the RV I’m following the video along and learning how to twerk while Boi is flying down the highway and glancing in the rear vision mirror with complete horror. We get to the event, and Boi is seriously trying to talk me out of twerking on stage that night.
Later on, I had a 10 minute call before I was due on stage and I’m outside the ballroom with my hubby Jimmy, the Golden Boy, Tyesha, some Onyx friends and my Boi, and I told them all how I learned to twerk on the way here. They gathered around and watched while I did a demo… Boi ran and hid. This is what the video said. Bend your knees, rest your hands here, and just kind of push your butt up and tip your head back a bit, in rhythm with the music.
Anyway, I went on stage, had a great time, laughed, made other people laugh and totally nailed it. I learned to twerk in an RV doing 75 down a highway, thank you very much.
Xmas sing along:
During the year I got to go and visit Jeff Tucker, while I was there he gifted me a toy. It was a brightly coloured ball with little knobby things sticking out everywhere and when he turned it on it bounced all over the place!
I had this idea to wrap pieces of string around the ball and connect them to My Boi’s inner thighs with staples from crutch to ankle so when I switched the ball on it would jump around randomly tugging on the string and tearing out the staples! A few weeks later I was ready.
Everything was set up, equipment cleaned, our visiting voyeurs had settled in. I quickly popped back into the bedroom to make sure there was nothing else I had forgotten. Now, it was the beginning of January and the Xmas decorations at the house had been pulled off the tree and placed in a pile to be put away. Walking through the lounge room I noticed 2 cute bells that actually tinkled when I rang them, how fun! I could use them as well..
The scene began, Boi sat down and I wove the string around the ball and back and forth between his thighs, stapling my way from top to bottom, then I told Boi to place his hands in the air. With a little encouragement Boi managed to hold his hands up and keep them still for me. Click, click, two staples held my 2 little bells in place and the string now ran from hands all the way down to his feet. The bells jingling merrily from his trembling hands. Boi had been taking it like a champ, his masochistic tendencies getting fed and he was flying high on all the endorphins - until I stapled his hands.
Just before the finale of the bouncy toy being switched on, I heard a soft lilting hum from my Boi’s now trembling lips, “Oh, Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree how lovely are your branches....” Soon the whole room of voyeurs raised their voices together, Boi began to smile, and laugh, and sing along through the tears. I switched on the toy and as the staples popped out we all bonded together with joy and laughter while Boi hopped and jumped around the room.
When you next see my Boi, you are welcome to start humming this song… He has a particularly interesting response to it!!!
My final thought to share with you: At the beginning of my title year, Mum - Sharrin Spector, said to me… If you spend your year playing and fucking your way around the world you have done your job…. Thanks Mum. I did my job, and so so much more.
Singing off now, Your IMsL 2018
#IMsL2018 #IMsBB2018 #IMsLBB2018