Though to the uninitiated, the leather and fetish scene might seem like a dark and intimidating environment, L.A. Leather Pride organizer Gus Norris wants you to know that nothing could be further from the truth.
“You go to a couple of these events, and you realize these are just really warm and wonderful people who like to have a lot of fun.”
Gabriel Green, a former Mr. L.A. Leather Bear and the president of L.A. Band of Brothers, agrees.
“I think what is beautiful about leather culture is that there’s something for everybody. There are different levels to kink, from mild to wild, and there’s no judgement about it. Someone might be into something that you’re not, but that’s okay. The point is to just be yourself, celebrate it, and don’t be afraid to explore – just do it safely, sanely, with consent and with respect. That’s the main message of Leather.”
It’s about more than just having a good time, though. Norris says, “I’ve seen the community actually save lives. They rally together to support someone who is feeling on edge, who might be thinking of hurting themselves – and also, just in the sense of camaraderie, the encouragement to explore and the acceptance that comes from that. It tells people they’re not alone in their feelings, that what they’re interested in is perfectly normal, that there’s a whole group around you that you can talk to, so you don’t have to feel different and apart – it’s all about telling people that they’re not alone.”
Green’s experience bears that out.
“When I first came to West Hollywood, I was excited because I was finally in ‘Gay Mecca,’ where I could get a boyfriend and hold hands in public and all that. And yes, it was a great introduction – but I found, unfortunately, there was also a lot of attitude. If you didn’t fit a certain mold – whether it be racially, or because of your build, or whatever, then you might not feel accepted. But when I entered the leather community, people were so warm and welcoming. They were willing to embrace me, to mentor me, and I gained what I really wanted – a big, loving, kinky leather family. I was introduced to a whole new world of experiences, and people, and love.”
Green says that being part of the leather community has helped him to learn not to judge himself, and to become a more sex-positive person. “Sometimes something looks scary, or intimidating, and you think ‘I can never do that.’ But sometimes the best things in life happen when you say, ‘why not?’ That’s what I learned from the leather community.”
If you feel like you could use a dose of that in your own life, the L.A. Leather Community wants you to know that you are welcome to join them for their annual festival. Reinforcing that message is the fact that the theme this year is diversity. You’ll also be supporting a good cause – the proceeds from Pride allow the Los Angeles Leather Coalition to make a substantial donation to Being Alive.
Unlike other Pride celebrations, this is not a self-contained festival taking place in a single location; rather, it’s a series of gatherings at different venues, spread out over a ten-day period as the leather community gathers together to crown a new Mr. L.A. Leather.
Below is the schedule of planned events. More details and ticket information can be found at www.losangelesleatherpride.com/
Sat MAR 10
SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE PRE-KICKOFF PARTY, Time TBA. Hosted by Sister Mariposa Patriota, a garden party at her home in Downey, followed by a bus tour/bar crawl to bar sponsors of Mr. L.A. Leather.
Fri MAR 16
HARDER Men’s Only Play Party by AVATAR, Sanctuary LAX, 9pm-2am. Avatar kicks off with HARDER, A Men-Only Play Party.
Sat MAR 17
FOX HOLE: FOREPLAY by Green Mirror, Bullet Bar, 9pm-2am. Celebrating the golden sex days and Los Angeles Leather Pride Week.
Sun MAR 18
LA Leather Pride 2018 Kick-off by Onyx, Eagle 562, 3pm-7pm. We Are ALL LA Leather – kick-off Los Angeles Leather Pride 2018!
Mon MAR 19
LA LA Leather Opus 2, by Bears LA, MCC in Valley, 7pm-10pm. Classic Meets Fetish tradition of Folsom Berlin in concert.
Tue MAR 20
D.I.V.E.R.City LA: Conversations on Identities and Community in Leather, Fiesta Hall, Plummer Park, West Hollywood, 6:30pm-9pm. An interactive discussion, to include exercises and breakout sessions.
Thu MAR 22
Mr. LA Leather Meet & Greet and Roast of Jeff Wilcox, Precinct, 7pm-11pm. Greet the meatiest contestants of Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2018.
Fri MAR 23
The Assembly, Rough Trade Gear, 7:30pm-10:30pm. The California B&B Corps, BLUF, and The Regiment of the Black and Tans present a sexy hot uniform dress code event!
DenLA Presents: LA Leather Pride, Official Dance & Play Party of LA Leather, Sanctuary LAX, 9pm-3am. The official play party of LALP 2018. An all the men you can eat buffet.
Stud Los Angeles, Faultline Bar, 9pm-2am. From 1974-1988 the Stud inhabited what is now the Faultline. It’s back!
Leather Dog Pound, Bullet Bar, 9pm-2am. Pups have their own place in LA Leather Weekend with Leather Dog Pound.
REFLEX After Hours, Los Globos Theatre, 2am-6:30am. AfterHours with Audio4play, Dj/Producer HECTOR FONSECA; Downstairs MAIN ROOM: FUNKtion ONE Sound.
Sat MAR 24
Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2018 Contest, Globe Theatre, 6pm-10pm. We are ALL LA Leather! Cheer on the LA Leather Titleholder Class of 2018 as they expose themselves.
LEGION Meets Megawoof: Official Mr. LA Leather Dance Party, Globe Theatre, 10pm-4am. Justin David spins the Official Saturday Night Dance.
Sun MAR 25
LABB Titleholder Victory Brunch, Farmboy Kitchen, 11am-1pm. Join the Los Angeles Band of Brothers (LABB) and celebrate the Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2018 winner and all the titleholders who competed in the Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2018 Contest!
Off Sunset Street Festival, Santa Monica Blvd from Hoover to Sunset, Noon-7pm. The Los Angeles Leather and Fetish Street fair closes out a week of events for Los Angeles Leather Pride! 21+ Only.