Leather Life: Minnesota Leather Pride 2015

The front and back of the 2015 Minnesota Leather Pride dog tag. Photo by Andrew Bertke.

The front and back of the 2015 Minnesota Leather Pride dog tag. Photo by Andrew Bertke

And Why We Still Need Pride Celebrations

It’s Pride season again in the Twin Cities, for both the GLBT and leather/BDSM/fetish communities. A GLBT Pride celebration has been happening in the Twin Cities since 1972; Minnesota’s Leather Pride celebration began as a single-afternoon event in the early 1990s and expanded to a multi-week celebration in the late 1990s.

Every year I hear people voice opinions like these: “Enough already! Pride? I am so over it!” “It’s just become a big GLBT marketing event with overpriced concessions.” “It’s always the same thing. If there has to be a Pride parade, do we have to see those giant flags again? Why not have a float that’s different every year?”

My response: If you’re over Pride, that’s fine. Don’t show up. But don’t be surprised when other people show up for the parade, the festival in Loring Park, and all the other Twin Cities Pride and Minnesota Leather Pride events.

Pride keeps happening every year because it needs to keep happening. The community needs Pride to keep happening, as shown by the fact that the community continues to support Pride events by showing up.

Since Pride last year, both the GLBT and leather/BDSM/fetish communities have acquired untold numbers of new members. Some of these new members are young people who are new to one or both of these communities. Some are older people who may have wondered and questioned for years before finally deciding to declare themselves members of one or both of these communities. And then there are all the new community allies — families and friends of all these new members of the GLBT or leather/BDSM/fetish communities.

All these new members and allies of these communities deserve to have a Pride celebration that is just as inspiring and uplifting as the celebrations of years ago, the celebrations that were experienced by the now-jaded naysayers before they became jaded.

That’s why the Twin Cities Pride and Minnesota Leather Pride celebrations keep happening every year. And that’s why I never get tired of writing Pride columns.

For 2015, the board of Minnesota Leather Pride has made a few changes to their schedule of events. An effort has been made to hold Minnesota Leather Pride events throughout the year, rather than only in June coinciding with the Twin Cities Pride Festival. Some of Minnesota Leather Pride’s recent events have included Leather Families Feuding last November; the Mr/Miss Catastrophe Contest fundraiser in January; and the first annual Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend in April, which featured the inaugural contests for three leather titles: Minnesota Leather Sir, Minnesota Leatherboy, and Ms. Minnesota Leather Pride.

The theme of the 2015 Minnesota Leather Pride celebration, and the 2015 commemorative and collectible Minnesota Leather Pride dog tag, is “American Leather Story.” This theme was selected by community survey from four theme proposals.

This year’s Minnesota Leather Pride dog tag was designed by Andrew Bertke of Everett Allen Photography. The 2015 dog tag combines bright silver metal with cloisonné (enamel) coloring. The bold colors and near-jewelry quality of the dog tag make a clear statement of leather pride. Get your dog tag, while supplies last, at the Minnesota Leather Pride booth at the Twin Cities Pride Festival in Loring Park (Saturday and Sunday, June 27 and 28).

As part of this year’s theme, Minnesota Leather Pride invites you to share your American Leather Story. Maybe your story is about how you discovered your favorite kink. Maybe it’s about a great scene you were part of. Maybe it’s about your first piece of leather or gear, or your first toy.

The goal of the American Leather Story project is to collect stories, post some of them on the Minnesota Leather Pride website (www.mnleatherpride.org), and share them with the Leather Archives & Museum in Chicago. Check out the three stories that have already been posted, and then make plans to share your story by text, photos, audio, or video. For more information, contact Minnesota Leather Pride at [email protected].

This year’s remaining Minnesota Leather Pride events are as follows (see www.mnleatherpride.org for the most up-to-date event information):

Thursday, May 25: Atons Annual Leather Pride Smoker. EagleBolt Bar, 8–10 p.m.

Friday, May 26: Floggapalooza. See website listed above for location and time.

Saturday, May 27/Sunday, May 28: Stop by the Minnesota Leather Pride booth at the Twin Cities Pride Festival. This year’s special attraction is a display showing the history of Minnesota Leather Pride. Loring Park, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Sunday, May 28: March in the Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade and help carry Minnesota’s giant Leather Pride flag. Meet at the corner of 3rd St. S. and Hennepin Ave. by 10:40 a.m. for a group photo; parade begins at 11 a.m.

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