The Defenders Leather Levi Club is a group who value and wish to celebrate both their leather “lifestyle” and their Christian spirituality. Contrary to common belief, the two are not mutually exclusive. The Defenders believe that the leather experience can, when integrated and spiritually informed, actually produce a richer spirituality, and for the Church.
The club strives to provide a space that leathermen and leatherwomen will find welcoming and familiar, yet unique in its spiritual dimension.
The Defenders was established in 1981 in New York City as an affiliate of Dignity New York. By 1987, it had become a national organization. Today it is one of two leather clubs with a presence from coast to coast.
Although Defenders is a Catholic-based leather club, its members come from many different denominations and spiritual traditions. Men and women of all spiritual paths are welcome.
Club activities include charitable fund-raisers, spiritual and social programs.
Origin of our Colors
Michael Olivieri, founder of the Defenders LLC, described the patch and club logo in a letter to brother Defenders in Tampa Bay. The Defenders Club logo was designed by Ed Rodgers of New York City and was approved in January 1982. The Defenders logo consists of a Gold Cross imposed on a Red Eagle, centered on a Gold Bordered black Shield, with open-linked Chains under the Eagle, followed by the inscription, Defenders
The Defenders Colors represent a harmony between the spiritual and sexual aspects of one’s being, rather than a conflict. The cross is a symbol of the Christian Faith. The Eagle can have many meanings. It can be a symbol of Leather/Levi and a symbol of sexuality and spirituality. The open-linked chain represents the Leather/Levi community. The chain links are open-ended showing that each joins voluntarily in brotherhood
- To provide fellowship within the leather community that fosters an individual and collective integration of our spirituality and our sexuality.
- To encourage a constructive interaction and understanding between the leather community and the Christian community by example.
- To support the mission of Dignity.
The Defenders has been affiliated with DignityUSA from the beginning and maintains close ties to this very day. It is a bridge between the leather community and the Christian community.
Washington, DC (Founded 1992)
San Francisco (Founded 1994)
There have been chapters in several other cities: New York, Denver, Boston, Tampa and Philadelphia.