Is there an FtM "community," or do trans leathermen feel primary allegiance to the tribe of their gender or orientation? How do trans men frame the "out" issue in leather, for instance in play situations? How big an issue is language? What changes in leather would transmen like to see? Do they see transitioning as a personal/sociobiological imperative or a political act as well?
Join us for a searching, in-depth look at what it means to be a trans leatherman in today's leather world. Not a PSA or another simple "plea for tolerance," but a mature -- and potentially highly politically incorrect -- discussion by four of our most thoughtful, most respected, most accomplished transmen in leather.
BOYJEAN has been involved with the leather community for almost twenty years and has identified as a boy as long as he can remember. Over that time he began to embark on a journey to more closely match his outer appearance with his inner identity. Coming out as trans has been a powerful part of his journey and a continually evolving process. boyjean is blessed to have two people in his life that support and encourage him along this path and a community that provides a place for him to be himself. He was a co-founder in 2006 of Leather Traditions, the San Francisco-based educational and mentoring group, and in 2007 he was awarded the titles of Northern California Bootblack and International Community Bootblack.
BOY TYLER FONG, American Leatherboy 2011, has been in the leather scene for over ten years. Though his first scene was at a Female-to-Male conference at Seattle's Wet Spot with a female top, he has explored his interests in BDSM with gay men. He was fortunate to have San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area's vast resources -- and men with a variety of skills and interests -- from which to pick and choose. His early years were cautious, owing partly to the relative invisibility of transmen, and partly to the fact that life as a gay man was all a completely new world at age thirty. In 2003 he represented Transgender San Francisco as Mr TGSF to raise awareness of FtM's. In 2008 International LeatherSIR/boy eliminated the "born male" and "male at birth" requirement for its Sir and boy contestants. boy tyler served one year as Northern California Leatherboy 2008 and has been involved with this contest as volunteer and bootblack co-coordinator in 2011. He currently serves as Outreach Chair of the Fraternal members committee of The 15 Association. Work in public health and performance with three community music groups gives him ample opportunity to educate and share his experiences as a transman in the BDSM community.
TYLER McCORMICK's journey into leather and fetish began in childhood with vivid pictures and images. Watching television and seeing the good guy get tied up was exciting! Tyler always wanted to be the guy tying the knots. Tyler has been an out and proud leatherman for over twelve years, and is still humbled by his selection as International Mr. Leather 2010 and the many wonderful people and communities he has met in his travels. Tyler teaches workshops and classes, works as a case manager for New Mexico AIDS Services, and serves on the board of the New Mexico Leather Wolves. He often voices a simple, but powerful message wherever he goes: “Strive to be a light for others. Be open and honest and do not to let fear limit you. Give of yourself and help those around you find their own path.” Many people have assisted and guided Tyler on his journey and he never hesitates to acknowledge those gifts while striving to honor them by contributing to others as they make their way through the world. Tyler is committed to helping make the Leather community better, one kinky tribe member at a time.
ZACH D is a queer-identified transman who has been involved in the San Francisco Bay Area Leather Community since 2004. Although his first fetishes can be traced to early childhood, he stepped into the community with both feet upon landing in the Bay Area. As a butch dyke in the LGBT community, he volunteered time with the Exiles, served as a patch holder and board member of the SF Dykes on Bikes, put in DM time at the Citadel and considerable time with the San Francisco Bay Area Leather Alliance as a Dykes on Bikes representative. Zach began his transition in late 2009, a decision he considered and researched seriously for almost ten years prior. Once he made the decision, surgeries were complete and hormones were in place within six months, and since that time has been traversing the boundaries of what it means to be a transman in leather, defining alliances and finding those places which call to him as haven. He is celebrating fourteen years with his wonderful Femme partner, Lady Raven, who is also active in the leather community.