Ottawa
2 min

Whipping up new leather titles

Ottawa will host the inaugural National Leather Contest

WINDY CITY WINNER. Mr Leather Toronto Remi Collette takes first runner-up at IML. Credit: Capital Xtra files

Ottawa’s Pride festival will be host to the competition for three new national leather titles.



The inaugural National Leather Contest (NLC) will take place on Sat, Jul 10 with contestants from across the country competing for the titles of Canadian Leather Man, Canadian Leather Woman and Canadian Leather Boy. (The title of Leather Boy is open to both males and females.)



“The interesting thing about these titles is they are not going to be something that somebody else is going to dictate. Each titleholder will develop that themselves within certain guidelines,” says Andy Anderson, president of the newly formed Canadian Leather Alliance (CLA), which is organizing the event.



“They will travel across Canada and visit the various leather communities and assist the community. They will help the community to grow, by either being an MC, a judge of the contest or organizing fundraisers for the particular community,” says Anderson.



NLC weekend will feature an opening reception on Fri, Jul 9, followed by the Scotch & Cigar Boat Cruise (a co-venture organized by the Pride Committee). The contest will take place Sat, Jul 10 with a victory dinner to follow. The title winners will march in the parade on Sunday.



“It’s good for the community, it’s good for the city and it’s good for the leather community at large,” says Ottawa Knights President Jean-Francois Pinsonnault.



“We already are on the map for our own [Mr Leather Ottawa-Outaouais] event in November,” says Pinsonnault of the contest. “But because this precedes it, it is certainly an opportunity for us to show who we are and what we can do.”



He describes the national contest as a good idea that has been tossed around for the last 20 years.



“It has to be the right time and there has to be the population,” explains Pinsonnault. “You almost have to have solid well-established leather communities in all the Canadian regions in order to be able to support such a national event.”



Pride’s acting executive director Robin Duetta shares Pinsonnault’s enthusiasm.



“We’re honoured that they chose Ottawa as the location for the first competition,” says Duetta. “I think that it was done because of our reputation as a friendly city. We are unlike a lot of the larger cities in the country, particularly our community – it is very warm and inviting. Even the city itself is very open and our festival is demonstrative of that.”



The NLC is open to current or former leather titleholders from across Canada who identify as lesbian or gay, says Anderson.



“They should be a Canadian citizen,” he says, “and have one of at least three letters of requirement: one from the organization that they have a leather title for, an organization that they raised funds for or an organization that knew the good works that they did in the community.”



The CLA was created in 2003. Anderson spearheaded the initiative, gathering a board of directors who represent regions across Canada. The group’s primary objective is to organize this annual contest, held during the Canadian host city’s Pride Festival.



NATIONAL LEATHER CONTEST WEEKEND.

Fri, Jul 9 – Sun, Jul 11.

National Leather Contest: Noon. Sat, Jul 10.

Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, 150 Albert St.

Info: www.cla-acc.org.