Earlier this week, International Leather Sir/boy and International Community Bootblack made the decision that only gay, cisgender males could enter their contests, despite the fact that trans contestants have been allowed to compete since the contest moved to San Francisco a few years back.
After the leather community reacted by letting their views be known via email, social media and blogs, the board of ILSb/ICBB met to rethink the changes and, according to Leatherati, decided to reverse the decision to bar trans men from the competition.
We, as a Board, do not claim or pretend to know everything about our Transgendered community or the process to transition from female to male. In reality the only individuals that can truly know exactly what the experience is like belongs only to those that have made the transition. What we do know is that we genuinely confess our love, acceptance and respect for the transgender community just as any other individuals that come to our family.
We want to reiterate that never, never, never was our discussion and decision meant to be harmful, to purposely exclude in a manner of hate or to be perceived as an action of bigotry. We wholly stand firm in our resolve that our intent was not to cause or create division in our community. For anyone that perceived our decision in this manner, felt hurt or disenfranchised, we offer you our sincerest apology.
Our community has changed and so must we. Therefore, the Board of Directors has unanimously rescinded the portion of our contest requirements stating that contestants for the ILSb titles must be “bio-born males” (a.k.a. cis-gender.) As it has been stated in the contracts since 2007, contestants for the International LeatherSir and International Leatherboy titles “must identify as gay males and be of same-sex orientation”.
Wait wait wait . . . So an organization made an unpopular decision, and then the community responded by explaining their objections calmly and rationally, and then the organization actually listened to them and changed for the better? Why the hell isn’t everyone doing this? This works so much better!
In all seriousness, I’m happy that ILSb/ICBB took the time to listen to those in the community who disagreed with them and changed their opinion when new information dictated otherwise. As they said, the world is changing, and it’s not a sign of weakness to change with it if your better judgment tells you to.