Distinct blends of tradition, tolerance, values, social structures, governance, even healthcare have led to the evolution of striking differences between the practice of men’s leather in Europe and here in the U.S.
Four respected men’s community leaders closely familiar with the leather scene here and in various European cities join us for a discussion of those differences, and of what our respective leather/BDSM communities have to learn from each other.
Originally from Italy, JACK DUKE lives in Dallas, Texas and works as a gelato master across the United States. (Italians take their ice cream seriously!) He has been involved in the leather community for over twelve years, both in Europe and America. Sir Jack is the current International LeatherSIR 2012. He previously held the titles of Gulf Coast LeatherSIR 2012, Mr. Dallas Eagle 2010, Mr. Texas Leather 2010, and he placed 2nd runner up at IML in 2010. Jack is a member of Leather Club Roma, the Leather Archives & Museum, and ARCIGay, the pan-Italian LGBT advocacy group, and an associate member of Misfits and of FireDancers. He has been actively working to create a “cross-connection” between the leather communities in America and Europe, with a view to enriching fellowship, kink, play and sexual freedom in both.
THIB GUICHERD-CALLIN, a Silicon Valley transplant from France, has been an instigator of kinky gear fun in the Bay Area for a decade. He volunteers at leather conventions and contests as a member of the Santa Clara County Leather Association, Alameda County Leather Corps, and California Boots and Breeches Corps. In the LGBT community, he volunteers at the Billy DeFrank Community Center and as president of the Saga North LGBT Ski and Snowboard Club of Northern California. He currently serves as Mr. Santa Clara County Leather and in 2011 won the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's “Hunky Jesus” contest. In May 2013 Thib was named 1st runner-up at International Mr Leather XXXV.
JONATHAN SCHRODER moved to Germany in 2001 and spent several years exploring the fetish scene there and in other countries. He came across Mr. S Leather in 2003 while on vacation and moved to San Francisco shortly afterwards. Now in his tenth year at Mr. S, he serves as general manager for the company and travels each year back to Germany, usually for the Easter Leather Gathering that brings together thousands of kinky men for a long weekend of uninhibited sex. These trips also remind him of his roots in a fetish world that is quite different from that which we experience in America.
TIM VOLLMER, Ph.D. is a writer, cultural anthropologist and community organizer. He studied and taught at U.C. Berkeley, where he also worked as a research scientist concentrating on German culture, the social environment of bars and taverns, and gender dynamics among gay men. In the early 1990s, Tim was the managing editor of the gay newspaper San Francisco Sentinel, where he also wrote a weekly column focusing on gay male sex culture. He is currently board President of the nonprofit San Francisco Gay Men's Community Initiative. Having grown up in the Bay Area, Tim has been involved in the San Francisco leather scene since his first underage visits to long-gone iconic bars like the Brig, the Black and Blue, and the Ambush in the late '70s. He now divides his time between San Francisco, San Jose, and Berlin, Germany.