My first "Leather Hall of Fame" Selection Committee meeting January 28 2023
I am honoured to have been invited and accepted the position to join the Leather of Hall Committee, to bring my International knowledge of history of Dominatrices and BDSM to the group. I am, I think, it's youngest member (at 43 years old), alongside Rostom Mesli.
On Monday just past, I had my first Zoom meeting for the Leather Hall of Fame Committee.
It was my 7 am in the Monday morning Australia time, Sunday afternoon in USA, and late evening in UK and Europe. So it's a miracle we managed to all mostly make it. (I was up early on coffee and freshly showered to try and be on form.)
Amongst the selection committee's present members are founder and leatherman community legend Robert (Bill) Miller, academic and author Gayle Rubin, author and educator Guy Baldwin, executive director of CARAS and academic Robert Bienvenu, educator & founder of SM Gays Derek Cohen, SM activist and latex clothing maker Nancy Irwin, speaker and author Viola Johnson, founder of FOLSOM Europe Daniel Rüster, and a list soon to be updated further. (See: https://leatherhalloffame.com/selection-committee.html)
PURPOSE & SCOPE
For those unfamiliar with the Leather Hall of Fame awards, it was established in 2009, to recognize the contributions of individuals, organizations and institutions who have contributed to the leather community and history of kinky subcultures.
In particular it focuses on the 20th Century period, and for example the end of WW2 / early 1950s and onwards. Nominees must have made contributions dating back at least 25 years ago.
There are many reasons people may view this as important; to shine a spotlight onto and recognize the important figures, organizations and institutions which contributed to community. To gather the historical background and biographies, and help preserve important information and artifacts into the archives.
For myself, it's also about what I refer to when I discuss it with my students as "Ava / Avus Spiritus" - which loosely translates as Spirit of the Ancestor(s), the inspiration, vision and acts of predecessors, who walked before us, which guide and inspire us.
Last year, the 3 Inductees into the Leather Hall of Fame for 2022 were the leather artist Rex, the GMSMA (Gay Male SM Activists), and the 15 Association.
And over the preceding years since 2009, the Leather Hall of Fame has faithfully been taking on the task of recognizing the important and influential figures and organizations.
Although a majority of the inductees are of course leathermen and organizations including in the gay SM scene, a number of women also feature on this list.
These include Pauline Réage the French author of the Story of O (real name Anne Cécile Desclos), Jeanne Barney who was the first editor of Drummer magazine, Cynthia Slater who was a leather pioneer and Dominatrix, and the famous Dutch Dominatrix Monique Von Cleef who worked in the USA, and won her appeal against the overreach of the police's search and seizure of her dungeon, and by then had moved to the Netherlands and set up her House of Pain near the Peace Palace in the Hague.
The Leather Hall of Fame Inductees can be found here: https://leatherhalloffame.com/index.php/inductees.html