Interview with Andy Mangels

Andy Mangels, a longtime leather activist and gay activist, as well as science-fiction writer and producer, will be one of the featured guests at Gaylaxicon 2009, a GLBT science fiction convention, October 9-11 at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place.

You are a very busy, multitalented guy.

At the moment, I’m working on a book, two magazine articles, and I’ve been working as a bartender at the local leather bar. It’s a way to keep my mind fresh, and not get burnt out on any one thing.

Do you try to tie all your different projects together, or do you keep them separate?

There’s an incredible amount of crossover between the world of the fantastic—i.e., science fiction, fantasy, and horror—and the world of fetish. People in the fetish world use their imagination in a way that enhances their sex life and their social life, whereas people who are fans of science fiction, fantasy, or horror use their imagination to enhance their intellectual life. So, when you get somebody who crosses over from one area to the other, they tend to be very interesting people.

What’s the attraction of leather for you?

It’s often said that our largest sex organ is our brain. In the science fiction field, I’m exercising my brain all the time in a way that makes me enjoy people with fantastic names and interesting costumes, often who are battling each other, or have feuds, or are working for greater peace in the galaxy. There’s good and evil. There are all the same tropes that any kind of fiction, or even history, has. It’s just that they’re dressed up, and put into a more exciting realm, whether that realm is a superhero setting, or an outer space galaxy, or a world of fantasy…

…or a bunch of Tom of Finland guys.

Yeah. The leather realm is not far off from that. I can certainly say that in the leather community, there are lots of fantastic costumes, and sometimes people battling each other. There’s a lot of political activism, so there are people who fight for the greater good.

What will you be doing at Gaylaxicon?

I expect I will be doing some panel presentations, perhaps a reading, and autograph sessions. I’ll be available to meet and talk with people, and in the evenings, hopefully, I’ll get to go out and see some of the area’s nightlife, and leathermen and leatherwomen, and get to mix and mingle as much as I can.

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