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International Leather Sir, Leatherboy and Community Bootblack Situation

By September 28, 2013

There are three sections to this Editorial

1. My response to the situation.

2. The ILSLb ICCB board letter with changes to policy that was released on September 27, 2013.

3. A copy of the September 20, 2013 letter that was sent out to the ILSLb ICCB board and producers. The Leather Journal requested, and was granted permission to publish the letter in its entirety.

Up until now I have stayed out of the fray over the International Leather Sir, Leatherboy and Community Bootblack situation because I wanted to allow more facts to come out after the emotional storm passed, and because I am the producer of an International Leather contest and do not want to appear as making an effort to capitalize on a bad situation.



I was hit with several emotions when I read about the decision of the International Leather Sir, Leatherboy and Community Bootblack (ILSLb ICBB) contest system to ban non-biological males from entering the International Leather Sir, Leatherboy contests and to end the contracts of its regional sponsors. One emotion, felt and expressed by  so many on Facebook, was anger toward the contest producers and board.

Sadness was the prevailing feeling as I cried more than once over the next two days.  The sadness was not only over the transgender part of this, but hugely over disbanding the ILSLb ICBB regions as I read on Facebook, in E-mails and other places.  I will go into that later in this writing.

Disappointment was yet another emotion. How could they do this? Why? What motivated  it? Was there really a need to stop transgenders from competing; especially since an  owner of the International Mr. Drummer and Drummerboy contest, Tony DeBlase, which  led to the creation of the ILSLb and ICBB contests, was a profound fighter for  transgender inclusion in the Leather community?

This was heightened upon hearing that Jeffrey Payne was receiving threats of physical  violence by E-mail - threats not only to him, but to his family and pets. Over a contest people? Really? This is absolutely horrendous. Not only that, it is a felony,  and if done across state lines, is a federal crime and may mean mandatory prison time  for the offenders who did it, if in fact it is true. In my opinion, Jeffrey should  report the incidents to the authorities. He does not owe the Leather community silence as far as justice is concerned. He has every right to his dignity.

In my meetings with Jeffrey Payne, and there have been several, he does not seem like  a bigot or even capable of the evil that was going on - far from it. I've known him  as a gentleman, caring, loving and possessing several other wonderful personal  attributes. There has to be more to this. It just ain't right, to be a little  Southern.

Also, Jeffrey is the founder and head of the Sharon St. Cyr Fund which has provided funding for ASL interpreters at events, not only for the events he attends, but for many  others. Often more than one event held on the same weekend has certified interpreters provided by Jeffrey's Sharon St. Cyr Fund.

Then there's the fact that Jeffrey was a judge when Tyler McCormick won the  International Mr. Leather 2010 title. Just because Jeffrey was a judge it does not  mean that Jeffrey gave Tyler high scores. We'll never know.

The story just flies in the face of his nature and those who really know him cannot  help but see that there has to be more to it.

"Say it ain't so, Joe." summarizes my thought. I fear the same answer as the boy who asked the Chicago White Sox baseball player got, is the one that I might get.

Right away I noticed that the Community Bootblack contest did not change its standards, remaining open to all genders and identified-genders. This led me to at  least tap the breaks a little. Was it an inconsistency, or was there really not a  hatred of transgenders, but a different reason for not allowing them to compete in  the Leather Sir and Leatherboy contests while still allowing them to vie for Community Bootblack? Women have consistently won the Community Bootblack title, so if  they wanted their entire title system void of women and transgenders, would not they ban them from competing where they consistently win? Who knows?

A message went out on Facebook that the International Leather Sir, Leatherboy and  Community Bootblack board would meet on Thursday, September 26 and that a statement  would be sent out on Friday morning following that meeting.

I do not think that the producers and board had even the remotest idea that the community backlash would be so strong and so swift. In all my years, I've never seen anything as forceful, and by such a large part and broad spectrum of the Leather community before.

I have always been for inclusion of transgenders from many years ago. My record on  that is solid gold. I participated in some of the battles for inclusion in some clubs  and elsewhere, and once was threatened by a club brother over it. Won't mention the  club or individual, as that is not important. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that anything like that was going to happen in the title system.

The International Leather Sir, Leatherboy and Community Bootblack board might reverse its policy on transgenders, but will it be enough? So many vitriolic statements have  been made by so many people in anger over the ban, that it might not be so easy for  those who reacted to step back. At least one producer announced that his region was severing all ties and that their current titleholders were stepping down, and that the  runner-ups would not assume their regional title. That producer has been one of  International Leather Sir, Leatherboy and Community Bootblack biggest allies and  financial supporters from the beginning.

Possibly the biggest sadness to me was this, the wiping out of the regions as they  were known. Note, I do not fully understand what they really are doing, because I've  yet to get it from ILSLb ICBB directly, but if contracts were cancelled for what ever  reason, a lot of people have been left holding the proverbial bag, and a lot of  people have bus-tire marks all over them.

The strength, in my opinion, of the ILSLb ICBB system is in its regions. The regional producers, their titleholders, sponsors, supporters who travel to ILSLb ICBB every year are more than just numbers - they are/were a family, growing more closely-knit  as each title-year passed. No matter what is said in the Thursday, September 26 letter, the damage is likely to be irreversible or at least to hamper the title for some time to come. Recovery will be possible, but not easy. Perhaps the biggest loss may be of that family. Oh sure, many will remain friends, but the glue that held them together may be gone

ILSLb ICCB has had between 35 and 40 contestants in recent years. Most of them involve fantasies being acted out on stage. It takes two days to go through these. On top of that, the contest has billed itself as the "player's title." For the most part, I think there is a lot of truth to it. I'm not sure that any contest - any  contest - can claim the sense of family that International Leather Sir, Leatherboy and Community Bootblack has, and that is its greatest asset  in my opinion. And to see this knocked out?

Drummer gave us a great title. Mike Zuhl created a new one closely-based on, but separate from it. The difference between the two has been the family and close-knit core strengthened by Zuhl and team.

Then there is there is the part that some of those who are the most vociferous critics now, were the biggest supporters of the idea before the board voted to adopt  the new policies. If so, what a bunch of rats.

In a Pollyana world, a letter reversing the decisions made before would simply wipe away all of the hurt. I doubt that it will be that simple. One can hope that both sides can find a way to stand down, back step and become united with the same goal again. I believe that the ILSLb ICBB title is worth saving, and if the producers do retract at least the transgender decision it can be saved. If I were betting in Las Vegas I would lay money down on these two policies being reversed.

Some of us love most of those involved and pray that this whole thing can be resolved  in a positive way. If so, it is going to take a lot of time as many trusts have to be re-established.

If the right things fall in order, the power of what we claim to be Leather ethic will be realized. Trust, Honor, Respect - the Leather mantra is being tested here. Is  this true about or, or do we fall short of that measure? We are in the process of  finding out.


Enjoy reading The Leather Journal,

Dave Rhodes


ILSLb ICCB letter to the community distributed on September 27, via Facebook. We are including the opening statement and referring to the Facebook link to it.


Dear ILSb Friends and Family,

The Board of Directors of ILSb-ICBB, Inc. would like to take this opportunity to provide greater detail to the information regarding our letter of September 20, 2013. We hope that this letter provides important context regarding our understanding and the details used to reach our decisions and to provide some clarifications and new updates to those decisions. Additionally, we hope to dispel the inaccuracies that were reported on both social media and in journalistic mediums.

The ILSb-ICBB, Inc. Board of Directors recognizes that every individual has a right to their own opinion and that every organization, club, bar, contest, etc. has the inherent right to formulate their own opinions, establish their own niche, produce their own guidelines, prerequisites, business practices and to determine who their focus clientele is. No entity can be everything to everyone. We are in a world that comes with many labels, niches, affinities, preferences and fetishes. Likewise, we all come from very different places that have a vast degree of understanding and differences. We come from liberal and conservative places; we come from places of governmental and law differences; we come from varied family, socio-economic and faith backgrounds. We are as diverse of a community as can be attained.

To read the whole letter to the Leather community from the ILSLb ICBB board, click here.


Letter from the ILSLb ICCB board of directors to their regional producers, dated September 20, 2013.


ILSb-ICBB, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit as designated by the Internal Revenue Service

ILSb-ICBB, Inc. 2641 Heatherwood Drive Dallas, Texas, USA 75228

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

September 20, 2013

Dear ILSb-ICBB Supporters,

ILSb-ICBB has a rich history of proudly celebrating who we are as a community. For 34 years we have been known for being the bad boy of events and we push the envelope in our quest to live as the fun, kinky, proud leather tribe that we are. We celebrate this as we respect both our history and traditions and we honor those that have come before us as we remember their contributions. Just as important we move forward with a clear vision of the future. We are excited to share with you some news about the now and future of ILSb-ICBB, Inc.

Non-Profit Status

ILSb-ICBB, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.

It was decided to seek this designation when David Roy and Jeffrey Payne took over the organization in order to give back to the very community who supports the mission and vision of International LeatherSir, Leatherboy and Community Bootblack. We also believe this status and new addition to our mission will provide additional sponsorship opportunities and involvement from other organizations.

In seeking and receiving this designation, some changes will need to take place so that ILSb- ICBB, Inc. complies with our Non-Profit Incorporation status and Internal Revenue Service Tax Codes for a 501(c)(3). Below are a couple of important changes:

Regional Contracts

Effectively immediately we will no longer require or sign regional contracts.

There are several factors that make this change necessary. The signing of contracts brings the regional contests from the United States and from jurisdictions outside of the United States under the umbrella of ILSb-ICBB, Inc. This creates two potential issues: The first item is the liability factor. If an event were to happen at the regional level in which legal action was taken against the region, ILSb-ICBB, Inc. could be pulled into the litigation. This is not a scenario of which ILSb-ICBB, Inc. wishes to be a part. The second item is the accounting/bookkeeping of regional business transactions and monies. ILSb-ICBB, Inc. has to maintain our accounting ILSb-ICBB, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit as designated by the Internal Revenue Service procedures as outlined under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which includes detailed recording of income, disbursements, filing of tax returns and annual audits to ensure we are compliant and conducting business in a good faith effort. This could potentially bring the regional finances into the same accounting practices and procedures required by ILSb-ICBB, Inc.

In essence, by signing contracts and bringing the regions under the umbrella of ILSb-ICBB, Inc., we could potentially put the organization at great risk of monetary loss and/or loss of the 501(c)(3) status. We would not be able to monitor the bookkeeping practices of each of the regions or cover financially the huge expense of carrying enough insurance to cover potential claims across the globe, nor do we desire to monitor your region’ finances. All of this protects ILSB-ICBB, Inc. from legal concerns and burdensome financial practices. Again, due to these factors, ILSb-ICBB, Inc. will not be signing contracts with the regions.

Contestants and Regions

The decision not to sign contracts also opens windows and doors that will strengthen our future.

* The Board of Directors has reaffirmed that the International LeatherSir and Leatherboy titles are gay titles for biologically born males that present themselves as males.

• The Board of Directors has reaffirmed that the International Community Boot Black title is a non- gender specific and non-sexual orientation specific title.

• Going forward, individuals may enter both the ILSb and ICBB contests directly by winning a title by any of the following methods: regional, state, city, bar, event contests. The stipulation is that they must have duly won the title and not be appointed. We feel this decision can only strengthen the contest and provide a new synergy of potential contestants.

• Since there will no longer be regional fees, each contestant will submit a contestant fee along with their application.

• Regions may alter their geographic boundaries to best serve their leather communities. We ask that contest producers respect one another’s geographical boundaries and work together in good faith. It will not be the policy of the Board of Directors to engage in geographic boundary disputes.

• Regions and contests will report directly to the ILSB-ICBB, Inc. Board of Directors and no longer filter through Regional Liaisons. We feel direct communication is always best.

Great thought has been put into these decisions and we are confident that it will lead ILSb and ICBB into a positive future. Let us be clear - this is not a step to eliminate the regions or the goodwill each of you as producers has brought to ILSb-ICBB, Inc. This step will actually free the regions to hold contests in their geographic areas in which they desire, be creative with their own logos and advertising, and enable you to adapt and respond to the leather community you serve. Likewise, this allows underserved leather communities to hold contests and send representatives to ILSb and ICBB to compete.

Regions can also work with other area contests by creating partnerships in requesting their contest winners to participate in a regional contest. We believe each region can best garner support from your local communities. We also hope that when the time comes and you do not want to continue to produce your contest, you will transition the contest into good hands to carry on the legacy and tradition.

ILSb-ICBB, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit as designated by the Internal Revenue Service

Please note that ILSb-ICBB, Inc. will still maintain the trademark of the ILSB and ICBB logos and will monitor to ensure proper usage and take action where necessary.

In closing, the start of our 35th year has us poised for a bright and exciting future! We look forward to your continued participation with the ILSb and ICBB family and just as exciting and important we look forward to welcoming new contests, countries and geographic areas into the family as well. The future of ILSb-ICBB is shining bright!

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact us directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.m.


Jeffrey Payne

Executive Producer/Treasurer



Randal Kinnear




David Roy




Wayne Davis




Adam Lynn